It's a Celebration, Snitches

Today, after six years of hard work and dedication in the midst of struggle…Tex is OFFICIALLY a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the formidable, rigorous, illustrious, world-renowned Georgia Institute of Technology! *cue applause, strobe lights & confetti*

My man is finally free of his mistress (also known as homework, lab & senior design) and we are one step closer to our happy ending. Or beginning, more like. He is as yet unemployed, but he had some interviews over the past few weeks that went well and hiring cycles are slow, so I remain hopeful. Plus, he now has more time to dedicate to job hunting and engineering is an in-demand field and a growing industry, even in this economy. I’ve been steadily praying over it and I know God has something for him! Tex has worked really hard and he truly has a passion for computer engineering. This is what he’s wanted to do since he was a kid and I’m so excited to see him live out his dreams.

Of course that begs the question, what is my dream? To be happy, I suppose. Honestly, I’m one of those Renaissance folks who was born in the wrong era (or maybe just born too poor, lol). If I were a billionaire I’d spend my days mastering all kinds of different things. Musical instruments, jazz performance, gourmet cooking, writing, traveling, mentoring black youth, lobbying for various causes on Capitol Hill…but since I’m a regular person who has to work for a living, I have to settle on something. I find myself increasingly drawn to the idea of education and education reform. Up until I began studying law, school was my favorite thing in the world. I remember vehemently debating the merits (or lack thereof) of the No Child Left Behind Act when it was first passed–I had to have been in the 8th or 9th grade then, but it was big deal and I combed the newspapers after my parents were through for news of it. I was in the Talented and Gifted program from the fourth grade on, which provided some of my most memorable educational experiences to date. Still, it was an imperfect solution to the limitations of public school. I’d love to teach at a charter or private school (like the Paideia School in Atlanta).

I’ve made up my mind to apply to Teach For America and see where that goes. I also might go ahead and take the GACE anyway and see if I can get hired through the alternative teacher certification process. In most states, if you have a degree in a subject area and had a decent GPA, you can teach without an education degree. My sister teaches music, and I think she has some study materials leftover from when she had to take the test. I’m eligible to get certified for history and political science, and I love those subjects anyway so I know passing the test wouldn’t be a problem. Incidentally, both of those are WAY cheaper than the bar exam. Popular opinion is split on whether people who don’t want to practice should take the bar anyway–some say it’s not worth it, others say it’s an indication of your ability to finish what you started. Aside from the fact that including prep classes, that’s a $4500 investment in something I’ve pretty much established I don’t want to do, it’s a beast of an exam. It’s been such a struggle getting through law school, that I don’t know if I can muster up the motivation a mere week after graduating to 12 hour days of intensive study for eight whole weeks. In law school, at least you have time to do other things you love. In order to pass the bar, you must make it your life. Eat with, sleep with, heck, marry your study materials or else you will be doing it all over again in six months!

My dad offered to front me half the cost. As of today, he’s only given me $150 which I can easily give back–it’s been sitting in my savings account for going on three months now as I’ve been stalling on whether or not to make my official deposit with Kaplan for the prep class. And the clock keeps on ticking…

…but that’s a question I’ll deal with tomorrow. Today, I will bask in the joy of the moment, try not to look stupid in front of my future in-laws & their extended family, and make sure Tex knows I’m incredibly proud of him.

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A welcome respite

Three finals, a feverish paper writing session and one long semester later, I am done with 2L fall and officially halfway through law school! HALLELUJAH THANK YA JESUS!

I had a week in between finals, so last weekend I went to the City to see the Wale concert with Jaleesa. And rapidly came to the conclusion that I am too old (mentally) to be going to rap concerts. I hate to be one of those catty girls but some of the outfits I saw were just plain inappropriate and reeked of desperation to boot. It’s high time we started back promoting the aesthetic appeals of proper foundation garments (read: slips, girdles, and well fitting bras)!

While I was there, I had lunch with my neo. She crossed right before I had finals in the spring and she went home to California for the summer; I just never managed to hook up with her before then. But she’s mad cool (although I don’t expect anything less from a Glamorous Gamma Rho chapter ace!). It was a good time. I’m attending a grad chapter meeting in Orangeville after spring semester starts, and I’m thinking about joining. Tex has senior design, so I won’t be making as many trips to see him because he’ll be swamped in work. I love my law school besties, but I need people to hang with who don’t know anything about res judicata!

I got home today and it’s nice to finally be able to breathe. I’ve already started touching base with Maya, Sunny and Porsche, I have plans to go see Sherlock Holmes with Sissy and it looks like I’m going to have a lot of fun this break despite my upcoming oral surgery (two of my wisdom teeth are getting removed, ugh). I also plan to take some time for spiritual reflection by going to church. Usually listening to gospel music is church enough for me, but sometimes I miss singing the old hymns and reciting the apostles’ creed. [Favorite line: “from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.” It’s so theatrical!]

I’m just glad to have nothing but fun, optional things on my plate for a bit. I did do the anal law student thing and obsessively rechecked the schedule (I need my all my spring electives to be relatively easy B’s). Turns out I will be dropping First Amendment Law–it’s too intense to be taking with four other classes, especially when one of them is Evidence! I’m going to sign up for Gender and the Law instead.

Anyway. Enough school talk, these next few weeks are going to be nothing but fun, food and holiday spirit!

 

 

Death to Socrates

Or at least the Socratic method. It’s week 5 of the semester and I’m hitting that same point I hit last semester where I just stop caring. Excellence in law school seems to demand an unwavering perfection, an obsessive attention to detail, and a commitment to conformity. Color me jaded.

The truth is, the study of law itself is not inherently boring. But it is taught in a way that discourages creativity and engagement. The Socratic method was, I’m sure, intended to be a tool in which students learned by thinking critically about their studies with guidance from their professor. In practice, it falls far short. We come in 1L year scared to death, knowing nothing, and then we find out we have to stand in front of the entire class and get grilled on a case. You don’t know where or when your name is coming up, but it’s coming. The dread looms over you and finally, when you get called on, you freeze.

At this point, whether you read the case immaterial because sheer nerves have you come off like a bumbling idiot (in your own eyes at least) either way. Your already fragile ego takes a blow that it doesn’t recover from until next semester, at which point you have realized that class performance is pointless because your entire grade is based on the final. By your second year, you have realized that with adequate notetaking and the help of a good outline (commercial or borrowed from an upperclassmen), you can pass all your classes by doing little more than showing up. This is certainly no standard to live up to, but when the classroom routine is “speak when spoken to” and you often don’t know how to word your confusion about the material into a coherent question, it’s reality.

One thing I miss about my undergrad days studying history is that professors only cold called on students as a last resort. Generally, my peers were enthusiastic about speaking. I have never been the class chatterbox–I learn by observation, so I prefer to mull over my own thoughts while considering new perspectives from others. Still, knowing that I was free to speak, or not speak, as I chose made me far more willing to do the reading and I participated a fair amount as well. Moreover, I never came to class feeling ashamed or worried about my ignorance of a particular facet of the material.The problem is, although class participation counts very little, if at all, toward your final grade, it is the only impression of you as an individual that your professors have. Many of the jobs and almost all of the scholarships you apply for require at least one professor as a reference, and of course you want to ask a professor who has a good impression of you!

Added on to that is the fact that I am not in the law school with the goal of becoming a traditional practicing lawyer and some days it’s just hard to shake off the apathy. Law school is just so far divorced from the reality of what lawyers do, and have the potential do. THAT reality is what really excites me and keeps me on this difficult path, because while a Master’s in Public Policy would have been easier and more fun, it would not have prepared me as well for the chameleon career I have ahead of me. And so, I keep on chugging…