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,


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