Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The One Where I Feel Sorry For Myself (and belatedly tell you that I just did a podcast)

I know I bitch about law school quite a bit, believe me, it's been pointed out. However, I would like to make it clear that, in general, I don't *hate* law school, or law students...I hate that I don't get much of an opportunity to know my fellow students on an individual level, which is, I believe, the only way to really have any chance of liking them since that's the only time I get a sense of their human-ness and the cool and interesting things they've done BESIDES come to law school and be a legal rockstar. I also hate that I picked a school that isn't at all right for me as an individual, but I'm stuck with it because I absolutely wasn't going to move last summer and try to transfer...I've moved over 20 times in my life, and I just wanted to stay put for once. I thought I would make friends and put down some roots here and that that in turn would help me smooth over the fact that I'm not entirely happy with the choice I MADE in law schools. However, see the point before this one for why my grand plan of winning friends and influencing people has not worked out as planned.

All that being said, here are some things I thought about today (or that happened to day) regarding this school that really irritated me.

I am looking for housing in D.C. for the summer. As I've mentioned before, last summer I lived in a law school dorm, which was OK because I left my job early and so was able to leave before the end of summer "we'll kick your ass out on the street" date. It was not OK in that I had a roommate who was a complete and utter psycho. This summer, in anticipation and with the great hope that I will like my job and want to stay "all summer", I am kind of f*cked. This is due to the fact that I don't actually start work until mid to late June (thanks again Quarter system), and everything I've looked at so far would have me needing to be out by the first week of August, when I will still have a month left of work. I know that I've bitched about this before, but I just find it so excruciating that my school not only does NOTHING to help us locate housing or any other resources if we're working out of state, including hooking us up with alumni we could talk to in our "new" city, but they also seem to think the answer to this question, when asked, is "Just live in a law student/university dorm for the summer!" Well, YOU KNOW, that would be effing wonderful if I could stay there longer than 6 weeks after I get to the city, but thanks to not being done with exams until halfway through June, that's just not why can't the Career Services Office come up with some alternatives to help the MANY people in this situation? Because they don't care, that's why.

The only other solution always seems to be "Look at Craigslist." Another wonderful idea that I would certainly consider if I wasn't about 8 million miles away from D.C. and so totally unable to see what I would be getting. The only thing worse than having inconvenient housing or having to get out early, would be arriving there with suitcases in hand to find out I had sublet an apartment in a condemned building in the ghetto or something. There are obviously solutions to this, friends out there and here are asking people they know if they want a basement/spare room renter for the summer...and if worse comes to worse, I'll sublet or do the dorm thing again, and then stay with LQ and her family in the weeks at the end...I only say "worse comes to worse" because I'm sure she and her family can think of many things they would rather have than a 30 year-old student houseguest for a few weeks. So, I'm not saying the problem is insurmountable, I'm just saying that right now it's a pain in my ass. /venting about housing.

Speaking of Career Services, we got an almost all new staff this year after a pretty well publicized major f-up by the old staff that caused our school to temporarily (for one year) drop about 20 places in the USN&WR ranking thing. And, I will admit, the new people are better...but there is still a major disconnect between what's going on in there and what I *think* most students want and need.

For instance, we got an email today telling us they were trying to increase our networking opportunities. How? By putting a clipboard in the Career Services Office where we, the students, will come and write down networking opportunities so they can presumably send out notices over email. OK, that's a start, sort of...but in my mind, still not good enough.

This school bills itself as almost totally public interest oriented, and yet, when I met with my assigned Career Services counselor, the only people she had in any of the states I am interested in working in that I could talk to were in big firms, and she even admitted to me that if I didn't want to work in a big firm there just weren't many alumni connections I could make. WHAT? How can that be right when I *know* that a HUGE majority of people at this school go into government and other public interest jobs. The general consensus in the office seems to be that IF you want to work anywhere outside of the TVPNM then they can maybe hook you up with one alumni, who no one knows anything about, who works in BIGLAW. If you want to stay here in the city your chances are better, but what I think of as "flexibility" and "adaptability" in terms of being willing and able to move for the right job, are apparently actually qualities that are not only discouraged but will also not be encouraged in any positive or proactive way.

Non-legal alternatives. This is an area I am very interested in, how to use my law degree to do something besides traditional law jobs. Imagine my surprise when the Career Services Office started publicizing a "Non-Legal Job Alternatives" day-long seminar to be held at another law school (private one) here in town. Imagine my REAL surprise when I took a look at the agenda and noticed the many non-law job alternatives listed there: Employment Law, Agency Law, Indian Law, and Health Law...just to name a few. The only thing that could actually even remotely qualify as a true "alternative" to a legal career was a presentation on education and teaching...I am giving them the benefit of the doubt that they didn't mean "being a law professor."

I wish that when I was choosing a school I had thought about things like "How good is Career Services?" and "How will the quarter system affect my life?" Instead I was thinking "What schools are near Air Force bases so my husband can come with me" which ultimately turned out to be a moot point since after I accepted here, and deferred a year due to military stuff, he pretty much walked out on me and left me holding the bag. I could have probably changed my decision or reapplied, but at that point I had been through the entire application process once already, been accepted at all eight schools I applied to, and chosen one...I thought it would all be OK. And mostly it is, I just didn't think about the "culture" of the school...something I really regret not because I'm miserable here, but because there is some potential there that instead of merely "tolerating" or "getting through" this experience I could be enjoying it somewhat. Oh well, at least I have a spinning bike. And nice white teeth. And totally effing awesome glasses (which I'll be posting a pic of later hopefully).

UPDATE: I just recorded my first ever podcast with AmbImb and that will hopefully be up soon...I get to listen to it first and then he's going to post it, so I'll let you know.
This blog is sponsored by The Reeves Law Group at 515 South Flower Street, 36th Floor. Los Angeles CA 90071. (213) 271-9318