Sunday, October 31, 2010

Accidents, Politics, and Multi-Headed Monsters

There is much to say.

1. The car accident: Last week I climbed into my vehicle with 30% of everything I own (a normal day for me--I always find some reason to pack enough stuff to sustain me on a 6 month backpacking trip every morning when I go to school--this particular morning I had with me: a suit, a gym bag, a change of clothes, my school bag, a sleek extra bag to go with the suit, 3 pairs of shoes, an extra jacket, and my lunch). After pulling out of my neighborhood and preparing to turn onto the main road I take to get to school in the mornings, I was hit from behind. My initial reaction probably should have been a mix between startlement and gratitude (startled because a couple thousand pounds of vehicle just slammed into me and thus grateful that I was still alive) but instead I was annoyed and inconvenienced (mostly because I was already late for a class AND because all of my stuff had fallen all over the car). I climbed out and realized that the crash was much worse than I thought (the back of my vehicle looked like a recent participant in a monster truck show). I suddenly thought through everything Bob and Cathie have ever told me about what to do in case of an accident and then I followed each step as though I was reading a script. A very strange couple of guys sat in their vehicle behind us while we waited for the police to arrive, trying to convince me that they believed the other driver did not hit me intentionally. I'm not sure what of my demeanor made them think I needed to be convinced but in any event, their extreme interest was a little unnerving. Eventually I started piling all of my things onto the sidewalk, sure that my vehicle was not going to be going to school with me that day. As the mound of necessaries grew, odd looks were exchanged by nosey passer-bys. Once the police had arrived and after I had called Bob and Cathie to confirm all of my actions, Corey showed up to take me to school as my car was towed away, pieces of it dramatically falling off and onto the road. The cops gave the other driver three citations, which I thought was a little much (and really awkward for me since I was standing there with them while the cop scolded him for driving negligently). Since the accident I have had a rental car and have tried not to let myself falsely think that I'm on vacation (because it sort of feels that way when you have a rental car).

2. The competition: 2 hours after the car accident, I competed in the final round of the Linda Anderson Trial Advocacy Competition at BYU. Jeff was my partner for the third year in a row and for the third year in a row we made it into finals which was extremely exciting. We competed against 2 of our very good friends and we came out victorious. And I didn't even tell them that I was almost mangled in a horrible accident mere moments before in an attempt to garner judge sympathy. Not a bad day. All except for the accident I guess.

3. The vote: I'm on the board for moot court at the law school and this week we voted on a very divided and sensitive issue. There was lots and lots of campaigning, politicking, and email sending with attachments, some of which I now refer to as "epistles breathing hellfire and damnation upon us all if we didn't vote a certain way." The vote took place on Thursday and my side lost by one vote. It was very disappointing but a good learning experience for us anyway.

4. Law school Halloween: The party takes place every year. And every year it's weird. As part of the party, we have a law school parade where children and adults walk across the stage in costume. This year I hand made a two-headed monster costume which was a huge hit, and an eight-headed monster costume which ended up being a big ol' mess, but very funny for those of us who were part of it. Inside the 8 headed monster costume you could find: a mime, someone with roller-skates, high heels, a devil outfit, green face paint leftover from the 2 headed monster, and lots and lots of screaming (mostly due to suffocation).

5. Halloween 5k: Annette, Elsa, and I ran it yesterday morning. We were dressed up in horrific '80s clothes (I was mostly nude for the whole morning--I just wore what they gave me, and they didn't give me much). I took 3rd overall which was pretty surprising and exciting, although I probably can't brag too much because I was racing against people who were dressed up as cows, clowns, and all the characters from whatever movie is supposed to be popular this year.

3L has been good to me so far.

Climbing into the 8 headed monster costume

8 headed monster getting ready to go on stage

8 headed monster from behind--note Elsa's devil horns

8 headed monster FAILING to look menacing as I directed

More 8 headed monster

Trying to figure out the 2 headed monster costume

Joe and I looking menacing as a 2 headed monster

Micalyne and Emrie came for the trick-or-treating at the carrels (I wonder how much of that candy her 7 month old baby ate . . .)

Annette and I at our carrels on Halloween day. This was far and away the cleanest our carrel area was all day.

~It Just Gets Stranger

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Class Dynamics

3L began several weeks ago. It's interesting for me to watch the three classes of law students fit into their perennial roles more and more as the days go on. It's generally the same thing every year; the classes are full of students who make up a group that supports generally the same mentality year after year, adjusting to fit the traditional norm that accompanies their class number. Having now been a member of each of the classes and having seen 3 classes mold into each of the "L's", I have summarized below exactly what takes place with every new academic year:

1L: A large group of students frantically run around the law school like deer in the headlights, stressed to the point of losing all ability to appreciate humor. The true mystery in retrospect is why on earth they are so stressed anyway as 1L law students, in comparison to the remainder of the student body, don't really do anything. Sure they read (but so do people in retirement. Also my 7-year-old niece reads and almost never finds herself on the verge of an aneurysm). Sure they attend a few classes (absolutely convinced that all the students in the class will remember every word they ever say and will eternally ridicule them in their minds if ever so much as a stutter escapes their lips). But other than that, 1Ls don't do anything. But year after year they take the prize for being the most distressed, traumatized, and down-right abused-looking class in any law school. I was no exception to this as a 1L. Also, 1L's generally fall into one of two categories: inappropriately deferential to the point of sickening suck-upism to any 2L, 3L or professor, or tragically annoying assumption that they've got it all figured out to the point of complete disrespect to anyone who actually knows more than them and is in a place where they might be able to help out. Unfortunately some of those in the second category will end up with decent grades and so will never learn their lesson (and as a result will never actually be liked by anyone, whether they know it or not).

2L: True idealism takes form as this recently stressed out 1L class adopts a plethora of responsibilities in various school clubs, community groups, and with slave-driving professors, totally convinced that they will save the world, starting with the International-Law Student Association (or any club of their choice). Having experienced 1L in addition to being in a group which is truly the most opinionated conglomeration of individuals on the planet (law students), 2Ls know EVERYTHING and are not afraid to make sure every 1L knows it on a daily basis. Cue frequent unsolicited advice. Perhaps this occurs because 2Ls are so relieved that they are no longer the bottom of the bottom of the bottom (the three tiers being: young associate, law student, 1L). Or maybe they came to law school for this very purpose. In any event, it is difficult to spend more than 10 minutes with any 2L without reconsidering your entire career path.

3L: At one point someone decided that "3L" should equate with total apathy. The few of us that didn't get the memo (and never fully fulfilled our arrogant and naive 2L idealism) simply took on more than we could handle in a vain attempt to keep the 2L class from fully controlling everything in the law school. Add to that the crushing reality of a nearing end (and for those of us who are about to be regurgitated into the 2011 dwindling and unforgiving legal market, it truly does look like an "end"). The result for all of us, whether we've chosen the apathy or the insanity route: loads of orneriness and I'vehadit-itis (a disease most people don't get until they are in their 70's and they're sick of the neighborhood kids walking across their green lawns). And if you are so lucky to be a single 3L at BYU, comments from all the grown-ups in your life that have suddenly been upgraded to full-throttle at the prospect of a quickly approaching graduation indicate with some intensity that panic and desperation should most definitely be added to range of fear and stress based emotions that already consume your life.

No wonder I feel like I'm 47.

~It Just Gets Stranger