Sunday, May 22, 2011

Redefining Myself For A Summer

Last summer, after completing my first year of law school, several of my classmates were taking the summer off.  Not me!  I signed up for two classes, dropped one after coming to terms with the fact I did not want to be at school four days a week for my entire summer, and was the diligent student ever so slowly chipping away at my goal.  I remember thinking, "I can't take an entire summer off... my brain will stop functioning. I will forget how to read like a law student. I will lose my ability to make an outline.  I will get out of practice."  I just couldn't IMAGINE not going to school last summer.

So imagine my surprise when, as summer enrollment began this year, the absolute last thing I wanted to do was take a summer class. I think some of my classmates, those closest to me, thought I would cave and sign up for a least one.  There was a moment where I looked at a class and thought "maybe."  But at the end of the day, I stuck to my resolution of "re-booting" my law school life and taking a summer off.  I will have to take classes next summer and the following summer I will be studying for the bar.  My rationale was that I had successfully finished two years of law school, so it was time to reboot, refresh, relax, and then dive back in for 2 more years.

Now the question is - what the heck do I do with this new found freedom?  First of all, let me clarify - I am not just sitting at home all summer.  I still go to work everyday and work between 40-45 hours a week - unfortunately taking a "summer break" there is not an option. But still, what do I do in the evenings when I don't have to go to class?  What do I do on the weekends when I don't have to hop out of bed and start reading or studying or working on an outline right away?

I have always been an avid reader, and truth be told, I always sneak in at least one "book for pleasure" during my law school semester.  Granted, it takes me all of three or four months to actually read it, but I get through it.  So naturally, I will be reading a lot more.  I have recharged the battery in my Kindle and have started carrying it around - a very light replacement for the heavy law school backpack.  I already flew through the ending of a book I had started during the semester and then completed another one.  It's only been a week.  And actually, I think I was a little slow on that last one.

Organizer that I am, I actually wrote a "to do list" of things I want to accomplish this summer.  Everything from "read books" to "play sand volleyball" to "plan a vacation" is on the list.  And lots of other things in between.  I wrote the list as I was studying for finals - a way to motivate myself to keep pushing through those last couple of weeks.  So, here it is - summer break - and I actually dreamed about school last night.  I dreamed it was my fall semester already and I was hopping from class to class to try and find a seat.  I had anxiety over the one day class I am taking next fall - because I am not looking forward to leaving the comfort zone of my fellow night class folks.  Just a silly little dream that WOULD NOT END.  When I woke up, I was exhausted.  And I thought, "really Jennifer?  Really?"  I am only a week into my summer break and already I am thinking about school.  I see the posts on Facebook about my classmates who are getting ready for summer classes, reading, starting  their pre-outlines, buying books, etc.  Suddenly I feel so disconnected.  Like I have suddenly cut out a part of my life.  It's a strange feeling.

I know that I will return in the fall and all my friends will be there and classes will be the same and I will be tired again and my back will hurt from the heavy backpack and my diet will turn to crap again and I will be complaining about professors and I will be arguing the ridiculous court opinions from our case books and I will be scoping out the best hornbook to study for the finals, and I will get frustrated at my study partner's ability to reiterate verbatim everything the professor has said and I will laugh at the oddities that appear in the classroom and... and... and... and everything will be right in the world again.

Until then - cheers to a summer of fun!  No matter whether you are a taking classes or not, working or not, or even if you are not part of my law school community and you are wondering what the hell that last paragraph was about - enjoy it.  Take time to enjoy it.

Until next time,


Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Very Incredible Droid

Some people reward themselves with clothes, vacations, massages… I rewarded myself for successfully finishing my Spring semester of school with the purchase of the new Droid Incredible. As I walked into Best Buy the day after my last final my heart soared to find out that there was exactly ONE Incredible in stock there. As I made the leap and not only ended my 10 year relationship with Sprint, but embarrassingly put my beat up pink Palm Centro on the counter, I saw the look of pity in the eyes of the Best Buy guy. I moved from clunky pink Palm to sleek black Incredible. And yes… I love it!

I had the toss up between iPhone and Droid and at the end of the day my reason for Droid was 3-fold. 1.) I have not heard great things about AT&T. From cell service, to prices, to customer service. 2.) When asked to compare the benefits of iPhone vs. Droid… the iPhone people always said “iPhone!” with a zealous excitement but nothing else. As if I was supposed to get it because it had an “apple” on the back of it and that would inherently make me cool. Whereas Droid people listed reasons, from operating systems, to app availability, to multi-tasking and more. The people who use software and data in a similar fashion as I do all recommended the Droid. 3.) I just hate being like everyone else. Now I realize that eventually we are all going to have either an iPhone or a Droid, but something about going out to a bar and seeing 98% of the people pulling out an iPhone just turns my stomach. So, I like that Droid is giving the iPhone a run for their money. I like that people are realizing the benefits of the Droid and realizing that there is something else out there.

Now, I realize that by posting this, I am going to get some iPhone junkies defending their position till the death and if I am lucky I can get some Droid v. iPhone Debate happening… but nonetheless… I love my Droid!!

Why? Let’s see… I don’t ever start my laptop unless I am doing school work. I read the news, shop, look for movies, manage my social networking, upload photos to Picasa, email, take photos (8 megapixel photos), GPS navigate myself wherever I need to go, store my grocery store discount cards (lighter key ring!), listen to online music, and so much more. Oh… and play mindless games… my favorite… SKETCH! It’s like Pictionary with people from all over. You draw, you guess, you get points… basically… you pass time. I can even read books on it… but not much (I still love the Kindle, folks).

So, it’s sleek, it’s cool, it’s functional, it’s fast, yes folks… it’s INCREDIBLE!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Power of One

As we go through our lives, I think sometimes we don't realize exactly how much power we each have in this world.  At some point we have all been at the point where we ask "why".  Why does this have to happen to me?  Why do I have to experience this?  There is a point where we feel like the world is so much bigger than us and that we have no control over what is happening to us.  But what happens when you stop for a moment and realize the power you actually DO have?

In my professional life, I have the power to affect lives in all sorts of ways.  Last month I promoted someone to their first ever supervisory position.  I have affected her life, because now she is really starting her "career".  This is the first step.  I remember my first management position and how much I learned from it.  I look back now and how much I have grown since that first position and I know that I have affected this person's life greatly (and she is doing fantastic, by the way!).  Last month, I hired two new employees.  One of them had been looking for work for nearly six months since being laid off at her last job.  When I called to offer her the position, she almost cried on the phone she was so excited.  I affected her life by bringing her hope... and she is doing fantastic, by the way!  Next week, I am going to have to let someone go.  It is not going to be easy, we are eliminating a position, and I am going to offer another position, but I feel fairly certain that the cut in pay is not going to be something that works, and so I am going to affect yet another life (and unfortunately not in such a good way).  And I am just one person.

Last month, I donated money for Haiti relief.  It wasn't a lot, but it was something, and I know that it is going to make a difference in someone's life.  Last month, millions of people donated to the Haiti relief effort, all in their own small way... and as a collective whole, we have made a difference in someone's life.  And we are just one community. 

I have a friend who is currently going through the process of adopting not one, but most like two, children.  Children who are in our foster system and so desperately need a home.  And those people are going to affect the lives of so many with their decision.  From the children they adopt, to the people in the community who are inspired by their giving nature, to their children's future children.  And they are just one family.

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, the day of love, I want you to ask yourself, what have you done, as ONE PERSON, to affect someone else recently.  Do you realize the power you possess within your self to affect others?  If so, how are you using it?  Use your time on this earth to make a difference, to affect the lives of others, to affect your own life.  It is, after all, your life to live.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How to ensure law school doesn't suck the creative writing out of you...

I just realized that I started and quite quickly abandoned this blog, with my last post being last February.  That is pretty sad.  Now, I have done some other writing but this blog in particular was started to help me keep my "creative" side going.  A place where I could just write for fun, with no rhyme or reason.  I have had a few people in the legal field tell me that their law career, law school especially, managed to suck their ability to do creative writing (short stories, poetry, etc) right out of them.  I am trying to not let that happen to me.  So I am going to set myself a reminder today on my calendar that I will post at least one "creative" blog per month on here.  Somewhere to just stretch my thinking a little and maybe create some interesting banter.  Now, I will not promise that the posts will not be law school or legal field related, after all that is my world right now, but I will promise that they will be entertaining, unstructured, and have just the right amount of "Jen" thrown in.  

That's it for now... but another post before January is over!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sitting in the Coffee Shop

It's Friday night and I have gone to the local coffee shop because I needed internet access and a place for some coffee. There is live music here on the weekends so it is a great place to have a good coffee, sit on a comfy couch and hear some good tunes. Which was exactly what I had been doing until the 20 year old college couple came in and sat on the couch that is next to me. When they first came in they were all cuddly and kissy which is fine. Everyone deserves a little cuddly time. But then the band took a break and their conversation quickly drifted over to me. And it is so... childish... and the boy is obviously trying really hard to impress the girl because he is giggling at everything she says even though it is clear to everyone around us that it is not funny. I have not even moved my eyes in their direction to really see who they are or what they look like. That part is not really that important. What is important is that I was enjoying the music, and so were they... until the break. And now they are just talking away and giggling. Even though the music has started back. They are discussing what they are going to do for her 21st birthday. She wants to go to the casino and he is educating her on the odds of winning at the casino. And she thinks that is cute too I guess... because even that conversation makes her giggle. Then he giggles. And the giggling ensues... And I am out of coffee...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why a bed in your living room is cool...

So, since I am preparing to move next weekend, I have done some creative furniture shifting in my apartment. Basically, I disassembled my bed and I put all the boxes that I packed into my bedroom and took my mattress and box spring and placed them on the floor in my living room. So what this gives you is basically the ability to walk right in my front door and collapse onto the bed. So here are the reasons I think this is the coolest thing ever:

  • Instant relaxation as soon as you get home.
  • It's like having a sleepover or a camp out every night.
  • Everything you need (aka Refrigerator) is just a few steps away
  • Less vacuuming to do since the bed covers the entire living room floor
  • I am much more motivated to crawl into bed with a book instead of go out and eat/drink too much
  • It is entertaining to see the look on people's faces when you open your front door and a bed is right there.
The only catch... most of those things listed above are also negatives... and when I say negative, I mean that they totally promote laziness. :) But hey... it's only for another week so I am living it up while I can!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Concerned Parent Gets Kicked in the A**

That's right. It's Saturday morning and I am once more fired up by some random news article I stumbled across. Check out this story about a 14 year old boy who was charged with nine counts including statutory rape and indecent assault and battery of a child under the age of 14. Now those of you who know me well, you know that I am a huge advocate for sexual assault laws, sex offender regulation and much more. And I know that our law allows for little "gray" in some areas so that it can protect us from legal professionals. But sometimes, you just have to say, "COME ON - GET REAL".

Now, let me first say that I in no way condone the thought of my (or any) 14 year-old son having sex with anyone regardless of their age. And if the day comes where I find out my son has decided to make that decision at such a young age I am pretty sure my head will spin off my shoulders and I may need to have someone restrain me so that I don't beat him senseless. BUT, do I feel that he should be charged and marked forever as a sex offender because not only he, but the girl he liked, were both dumb enough to think they were ready to make such a monumental decision? NO!

Initially, when I started reading the article, I found the opening premise to be very valid. When I worked in law enforcement, one of my roles was to oversee the sex offender registration for the city where I worked. We didn't have a lot of offenders in that city, but even those we did have were a wide variety. From the teenage boy whose girlfriend happened to be just one year younger than the law thought "okay" so when her parents filed charges he was quickly found guilty, to the just plain creepy guy who performed lude sexual acts on kids 15 years younger than him. For the latter, I say lock them up, throw away the key and let them suffer the same pain they caused others. But the former... that is where we need the gray. So when I saw this article asking why the girls were not charged as well, it did give me pause. I mean, why were they not? They were all underage and they all made the same decisions. Why is only the boy made to be punished? Is the law actually saying that because he was 14 and the girls were 12 that he should be THAT much older and wiser than them?? I mean, obviously the court has not spent much time with a 14 year old boy before.

But hold on - I am not at the height of my pissdom (yeah, that's right... I said "pissdom") yet. I kept reading the article because I love being fired up in the morning. And there, in the last paragraph of the article is where you learn how it all started. The boy's father, being a good attentive father, read the son's sexually explicit text message from (or to) one of the girls. He was obviously upset and concerned about this behavior on the part of both children. So he called the mother of the girl to talk to her about it. The mother, she calls the police and files charges!! Even the girl is quoted as saying the acts were all consensual! So there, Dad... that's what you get for paying attention to your son and trying to open the lines of communication between you and the parents of your child's friends. Someone slap this woman.

Now, because I like to imagine the best in individuals, I would like to imagine that this woman, somewhere down the road realized she had overeacted by involving the police. Of course, by that time the law had control of it and she couldn't really go back. But maybe she at least realized it. What I am saying is this... as a parent, if you are put in this situation, LISTEN to your children. If you know your children, you will know if they are lying, you will know if they are saying it was consensual out of fear of retalliation or if they really felt it was. No child at the age of 12 can truly "consent" - I know that. But I also know that today, sex is cool. Kids are talking about sex, dressing sexy, taking sexy pictures, and some of them are actually having sex. You have got to get in there and intervene. Distract them. Hell, keep them so busy they don't have time to have sex. I don't know what the perfect answer is, all I know is that ruining a child's life by having him labeled as a sex offender for the rest of his life is not teaching him anything. Make him babysit everyday after school and all weekend to show him what it is like to be a parent at 14. That will teach him something.