So You Want to Be a Lawyer

It’s been four years since my dude decided he was going to pursue a law career. He made the decision for several reasons but mostly, he’s got the knack for it. His brain is just wired for all that analytical lawyerly thinking.

I have always thought he would make a terrific attorney and like any good woman who believes in her man, I stood right by him, clasped his hand, and said, “I’m with you all the way.”

I was all,

swanson

Because we were in our late twenties when we embarked on this journey together and neither of us are trust fund babies, we knew it would mean a lot of hard work and sacrifice for a number of years.  But we believed the end would justify the means.

So, if you too, also, as well are thinking of going back to get a juris doctorate, get used to this phrase for the next few years of your life:

budget

Let’s start at the very beginning. You have to study for the LSATs, the exam that determines where you can go to school, which is actually kind of a Big Deal. Law schools come in “tiers” and whether your school is in a top tier will likely decide what kind of law career you have (ambulance chaser vs. corporate litigator vs. unemployed altogether).

The LSATs are comprised of bizarre types of questions, including “logic.” Kevin played lots of logic games over the summer of 2009. He read me a few sample test questions, and let’s just say…

muppet

It’s definitely a good thing it wasn’t me who was going to try my hand at law school.

After a summer of studying full-time for the LSATs (and there is a TON of pressure to try to reach that brass ring score of 170 and above), the exam happens. The first hurdle is over!

snoopy

After an agonizing wait, you get your LSAT score, which will elicit the below response, whether you’re relieved or upset at the score:

cry

Once you’ve digested your score, which will determine where you can actually try to get into school, come the law school applications.

bgc

Keep in mind, we’re only at the precursor to actually attending law school. All of this costs a lot of time and money, so prepare to batten down the hatches. It’s a longass ride.

After you’ve applied for your schools, most students join the online forums to banter and agonize over when they’re going to find out whether they’ve gotten in. There is a lot of comparison and speculation going on, especially those who brag about their super high LSAT score, or, they got a lower score, like a 160, and think they’re going to Northwestern.

really

At long last, applications are being reviewed, and acceptances start happening. Because Kevin applied at the height of the recession, when everyone else was running away to school to wait it out, the competition was so intense, that he even got waitlisted at a school that any other year he would have sailed right in. It was like,

tim

If you’re an above average potential law student, however, chances are you’ll get accepted to one of your top choices of schools, and life suddenly starts looking up.

cher

If you go to a good law school, you’ll be moving. Although moving is definitely its own level of hell, it’s worth it when you feel happy about all the potential your future holds. Still…

ugh

Fast forward to 1L year. You find out that there are actually reading assignments due before the first day of class on any given semester.

Hate

Additionally, the first semester of law school weeds out anyone who doesn’t have it in them to really make it.

The competition is even greater now, because you’re up against all the smartest kids in class from all around the country, concentrated into one class of two hundred something people. You don’t go anywhere without a lot of books and your laptop. And I mean, you don’t go anywhere without your laptop.

laptop

After you make it through your first semester, here comes your first set of finals! Here’s where you eat, sleep, and breathe at the law library for about two weeks straight, after you’ve already spent six weeks on “outlines” with your study group. Your entire grade is based on one final exam. You don’t get brownie points for homework. At some point, someone will turn to you and say,

mess

And social activities?

ru

After you’ve had an unpaid internship for your 1L summer, we get to the 2L school year, where you find out that law firms recruit for summer associates in OCTOBER.

bang

My guy took some other people’s advice and crammed his 2L year full with more required classes and other such important things like Moot Court and an externship. And don’t forget the illustrious Law Review! There is an insane desire to stand out as the creme de la creme but it’s hard when everyone is super smart. Each weekend, I would watch him toddle off to the law library. Meanwhile, I acted very needy as I was feeling ignored.

cling

If you’re fortunate to snag a paying job for the 2L summer, you get a small taste of what it’s like to work in a law firm and even earn some lawyer money.

Nene

I remember that feeling of having the option to spend money a little frivolously.

spray

When the money goes away after a paying summer job, it is a sad time. You have to go back to doing things like selling plasma to make ends meet.

broke

By the time 3L year rolls around, you’re a “senior.” It’s old hat. Your approach to your finals may look something like this:

finals

At long last, you make it to graduation. It’s here! You’re a a proud graduate of law school!

I'm

But now it’s time to get down to srs bsns because the biggest hurdle is yet to come–that of studying for your state Bar exam. (Don’t forget about moving and/or finding money to sustain you for the Summer of Studying Hell, because if you thought taking the Bar might be economical, you would be way way wrong.)

You might have one to two weeks to move and relax between graduating and beginning your bar review of choice.

burnt

As you begin your Bar study, you’ll come to find that it doesn’t get any easier from the outset up until the actual exam. (Click here for a classic NSFW blog post regarding how it messes with your mind.)

Reading

Your friends and family (particularly your roommates or your significant other) may find you testy when you’re interrupted whilst taking a timed test…

what

…warranting this kind of reaction:

wiig

When you’re not studying, you can only think about two other things:

sundays

By the time you get to the last weekend before the actual exam, you’re feeling like this:

weep

You can’t imagine life after the Bar, even if you do have a job offer already. All you can think about are the words on your giant box of index cards, trying to put certain laws and lessons into mnemonic devices and acronyms that make sense only in a special kind of hell.

At long last, you make it to the testing center (with its absurdly strict rules that makes the TSA look friendly and relaxed). You endure each drudging day of the exam. (Some Bar exams are three days, which makes even me want to cry for those poor bastards.)

You may emerge feeling something like this:
eyes

When you’re done with the Bar, even if your future is tenuous and you’re unsure what the result is going to be, you can’t help but feel:

brit

I guess what I’m saying is really think about it before you put yourself through four years of unequaled stress, endurance tests, competitions with your fellow man, scavenger hunts for money (read: student loans!), and an unparalleled background check (“character and fitness test”). That’s all BEFORE you job hunt in a recovering economy that is seeing law firms, big and small, tighten their belts and hire fewer and fewer graduating law students.

Make sure you really want it, kids.

Special thanks to http://realitytvgifs.tumblr.com and http://whatshouldwecallme.tumblr.com for their amazing GIF contributions!

Tidal Wave of Silence

It happened.

It really…finally…happened.

Last weekend, Mr. and Mrs. S., of My Neighbors from Hell, officially moved out.

Gone. Poof. Moving truck came and went. And they haven’t spent a single night at the apartment since. Maintenance has been in to paint already, which can only mean they’re really, truly, utterly gone.

The blissful silence that has enveloped us from next door (in addition to the intoxicating absence of any third-hand cigarette (or otherwise kind of) smoke) has been a crushing tidal wave of relief.

The chains have come off. The doors to Shawshank have opened to reveal too bright light.

We bask in the glorious freedom!

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Handel’s Messiah. Not just for Christmas!

Arachnophobia or just being a girl?

I don’t know about you guys but I love to self-diagnose via the Internet.

WebMD anyone?

If something goes wrong, whether it’s mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, or whether I simply need to know when Johnny Depp’s birthday is, the trusty World Wide Web is there at my service.

After today’s incident with the Spider From Hell, I am on the edge of declaring myself as an arachnophobe.

Hear me out.

Here I was, minding my own business at my desk at work, tra la la, and suddenly from behind my desk against the wall crawls a huge brown spider. This thing had a long body and creepy legs and caused me to choke at first sight. I really started to panic because I didn’t know if I could kill it with a paper towel because it was so big. (Because squishing them gives me the heebie jeebies.)

It crawled up towards the ceiling but then it started rappelling down on its silky strand things. I really started freaking out that it was going to decide to jump either on me or onto my desk, also known as the Forbidden Land, as far as it was concerned.

Practically putting a fist into my mouth to keep from screaming, I went down the hall and I asked a male coworker (who is very busy) if he could help me with a girl problem I was having. I said, “Are you afraid to kill a really big spider?”

Mercifully, he was so nice about it and happily obliged me. He came around the corner and said, “Whoa, that is a big one.” So I’m not being irrational. It was huge. It didn’t belong in an office, hovering over me and watching me with all of its eyes. And legs. And possible fangs.

In trying to smash it with my recycling bin, Big Scary Spider decided to do the equivalent of what would be committing suicide for us humans and simply let go of the wall and dropped back behind my desk. My coworker even went so far as to look for it with a flashlight but it had disappeared.

So far, it hasn’t reared its ugly head again.

Yet.

My weapons are Kleenex and a can of electronic duster spray. I know that from the movie Arachnophobia, they used fans to get the spiders to move where they wanted to, so my thought is, if it decides to pull a Terminator and comes back, I’ll be ready. I also don’t think I could keep myself from screaming for a second time should it rear its ugly head.

After I calmed down and I checked behind and under my desk no less than thirty times to make sure it wasn’t there, I decided to Google “common spiders Illinois.”

Big mistake. Big. Huge! (Sorry, channeling a little Pretty Woman there.)

I can’t even LOOK at the enlarged photos of spiders while trying to read about them. I start to shudder and get goosebumps. And, I forgot to mention this, but if I think about the spider long enough (especially if I were trying to eat), I could easily make myself throw up.

Then I decided to look up arachnophobia and while I’m not having a panic attack, I am still looking for it as I write this.

So what do you think? Am I just overreacting and being a total girl about this? Or do I qualify for my Arachnophobe Card? 

Daniel Stern's reaction is what I would do.

Notice anything different about me?

No, I didn’t get a haircut.

No, I haven’t lost weight.

…………..

Yes, it’s the new theme! Ta-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

I really like it, like a lot a lot. Others who shall not be named aren’t as keen to it but that’s because some people don’t like change and aren’t female so pink and green aren’t exactly his thing. Okay, we all knew it was Kevin.

I decided to just go for it since changing my theme has been eating at me for quite some time, and then I spent a few hours tweaking this thing like crazy. I’m still waiting for the guy who developed it to tell me what to do about the header but it’ll do for now.

Isn’t she pretty? If I were wearing say, a new dress, I’d be twirling around while I preen.

There are a few options I haven’t exercised yet but overall, the theme is exactly what I wanted. It’s got a few extra bells and whistles and a lot more widget area, so I could spread things out without feeling quite so cramped. The footer looks way better and I think navigation will be infinitely easier, too.

New items are an Archives page in the main menu and social media buttons to the right. And let’s not forget about the font. I’m no longer publishing in the Georgia font. Thanks be to God, I have moved on and can have a nice, easier-to-read font on my blog!

Pretty spiffy, right?

I lurve it.

And for anyone who has questions about upgrading to a Premium Theme on WordPress, they do give you the option of getting a refund if you’re displeased with the theme overall. While I don’t think I’ll be asking for one, it’s nice to have that peace of mind.

Hooray!

Edit: I updated the iPad feature included with this theme, so that for those of you who are lucky ducks and have one, you’ll see a specific launch image when you add Zoe Says to your home screen and open the site from there. (I’d be pretty honored if one of you out there actually added me to an iPad home screen.)

Magical sleep powers

Does this happen to anyone else? I won’t be able to solve a problem or find the answer to something, I’ll go to sleep and bam – I’ll have a dream about it or wake up with the knowing answer.

This happened to me just recently over a weekend when I had to go in to the office to do some work. I was reconciling a credit card statement and didn’t have a receipt for one of the transactions. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what on earth it was and why I hadn’t saved the receipt or note of it along with everything else. I ravaged my emails and nary a note was to be found regarding this one receipt. My shoulders hunched in failure and I was dreading having to tell someone that I couldn’t explain the charge (though it seemed familiar and was bugging the hell out of me).

I finished up my work and went home, trying not to think about it. That night, I dreamt about the situation and the answer came to me while I slept: the same person to whom I owed an explanation about the charge had told me verbally a few weeks before that she was putting something on the card and there was no receipt for it. The reason I didn’t remember was because I had never done it in the first place! The relief that flooded through me was immense.

And then I was like, what the hell, brain, how come you couldn’t have figured that out twelve hours ago?

I find the power of the subconscious incredible. When it’s completely relaxed without the stressors of daily life, it becomes my own personal superhero.

I can’t tell you how often this happens to me, though. It could be that I misplace something valuable, that I’m anxiously waiting for something to happen (like a check clearing), and then for whatever reason, I will dream how I want it to get resolved and usually it comes to fruition. Am I psychic? I’m not a god and I didn’t even need twelve years of Catholic school to know that. (Please tell me a few of you get that reference.)

I will say that I only use my powers for good and that for whatever reason that this does happen to me, I like it a lot. It’s not as cool as an invisibility cape, but it’ll do.

Lastly, for your entertainment, I am linking to a particular scene in one of my all-time favorite films. Because you can never have enough Groundhog Day. Amen.

The Netflix “Crisis”

Until I saw this video from Funny or Die this morning, I hadn’t really put into perspective just how tragic people find the recent Netflix price hike to be, nor how shallow it is in comparison to actual problems. And it’s not like I haven’t been dealing with my own share of issues. The Netflix price increase was, for me at least, kind of the icing on the cake to what I have dubbed the “Summer Blues.”

In any case, to paraphrase, the video makes a great point about an issue that is affecting millions of white people across America, deadpanned by the great Jason Alexander.

What’s interesting, however, is that my boyfriend and I have discussed this issue at length, with the most recent stint occurring last night before dinner; in this way, we definitely lived up to the stereotype that it’s all “anybody” can talk about – for days at a time. I sat at my computer, reading Netflix’s Facebook Page Wall (that’s a mouthful) and combing through the thousands of messages people have been leaving for them, while Kevin looked through various news articles on his laptop. We sat there comparing notes and tsking and figuratively shaking our fists in the air at this nonsense.

The bottom line is, people are outraged that Netflix is jacking up the price by 60% without discussing it with their millions of loyal customers first. I’m a little torn because I can see both the company’s perspective and the one of being the huffy consumer. (Aside: one woman wrote a scathing comment on the Netflix FB Page and several people proceeded to jump on her, making her out to be a screeching, mindless woman who had no right to be upset. It was pretty brutal.) Quite frankly, I just don’t want to have to choose between the discs or streaming. I want to have both! But I am unwilling to pay $15.99 a month for the privilege. It used to be that that price would get you three movies at a time, something which I never had the luxury of affording. I’m a one-at-a-time gal.

I do think it would have been nice to have some kind of survey or something sent out, or even a price hike in the range of say, $3.00, to continue enjoying new movies on DVD and streaming older (sometimes crappy) movies and lots of television shows. We don’t stream on more than one device at a time but many have left since Netflix has begun enforcing its streaming policy. Apparently Netflix only wants to allow you to stream on the same basis of how many discs you take out at a time, which really negates “Unlimited” streaming but also, what happens when you go to the all streaming plan?

I was thinking about how electronic subscriptions differ from say, magazine subscriptions. Netflix caught on to the fact that people were sharing their log-on information with family/friends and so to keep people from “stealing,” they are cracking down on multiple device streaming. Granted, I don’t own or run a billion dollar company, but if I have a subscription to Vogue and I give all my copies to a friend to read when I’m done, how is this different? Is that person “stealing,” too? Is this really a problem for Netflix when they have ousted a lot of its competition (namely, physical DVD rental places) and they are highly profitable?

The only other troublesome thing is that I think many people would have stayed on if Netflix had newer releases available to stream, at least, instead of the B movies of yesteryear. Granted, I have loved catching up on some older television shows, but when I want to watch something new that came out that I was unable to see in the movie theater, I believe I should be able to do that if I am paying a monthly subscription fee.

RedBox has gone through the roof with new customers. Blockbuster immediately set up a plan to soothe the wounded from Netflix. They offer hard disc rentals, streaming, games, and even Blu-Ray discs at no extra charge and are offering a 30-day free trial to the scorned. Check out all the details here. I don’t want to like Blockbuster. They used to charge $4.99 to rent a DVD for two nights. I can’t even say how much money my parents and myself spent in the 90s and early 2000s renting movies and games from them. Netflix was the solution! But this latest blow does give me cause to reconsider my options. While I believe I will probably try out the streaming-only plan come September, I can’t guarantee I won’t jump ship.

It’s hard not to think that Netflix only cares about the bottom dollar and now that they have eleven years in to this business, no longer care about Joe American Movie Watcher.

I’m on the fence. What will you do?

The obligatory courtesy smile

Humans are such funny creatures. We have all these social niceties and some of the “rules” in place are rather odd.

Something I wish didn’t need to exist is that weird smile – sometimes an accompanying nod – that you give to people (namely, acquaintances or office mates) where you flatten your lips and smile tightly as you pass each other by. It looks like this:

Thanks to Kevin for his gracious demonstration.

Humorous to look at it, especially out of context, but also awkward and kind of annoying. It’s like the only way you can acknowledge someone’s presence and also let that person know, “I don’t want to stop and chat so I’ll make this weird face.” It doesn’t matter how well you know someone, if you are passing by that person and you don’t want or have time to talk, you will make one of these grimaces. I suppose it’s better than in olden times when ladies and gents would bow, curtsy or tip hats to each other, no matter the time, no matter how hurried they were. Kind of quaint, if you think about it.

Some anti-socials are really adept at avoiding eye contact and stampeding right by you, social niceties and familiarity be damned. I have worked with several of these types and it’s always kind of fun to take the initiative to chirp out, “Good morning!” or some other common greeting, forcing that person to either be a dick and not reply, or gruffly respond. It’s the little things. I feel like if I have to participate in this ritual, everyone else should, too.

There really isn’t much more to this fluff piece than that. Just an observation, something I thought I could share with you fine readers. If you can think of other social rituals we participate in, by all means, please share! Enjoy your day/evening – hopefully socially awkward free.

Literally, the most misused word

Literally, the most misused word – The Boston Globe.

I literally want to hug this author for writing this piece.

This.

This.

This.