Thursday, January 19, 2006

Et tu, Biatch

Fresh on the heels of my new trial law kick, I have begun to resign myself to the fact that I will never make any money. I went to law school expecting that I would have a numbered bank account someplace tropical with enough money that I could be reunited with my savings someday in that tropical place, and that together we could live in luxury for at least a year. Well, fat chance. Last time I checked, people who actually practice the law (instead of proofread or hit buttons to indicate whether the CEO's email about the awesome blowjob he got from his secretary is "responsive" or "non-responsive") make less than transit workers.

Okay. This is the way it is. It doesn't make sense, but I guess I can "rough it" while I'm young. My cats like Purina as much as Science Diet, and I realize I don't like Starbucks coffee that much anyway. But I do worry about things like paying my loans back. So I went to speak to some lady in the career services office about loan repayment plans. See, real law schools have this thing they do, where if you are working in a job in the "public interest," they will forgive some debt. I wanted to find out exactly how much debt forgiveness we're talking.

I have no use for the career office under normal circumstances, as I have already noted ad nauseum, but they had another piece of information I needed. I wanted to know how much a certain public agency that might be giving me a job pays. Their website is suspiciously silent on that issue. I anticipated the worst.

I spoke to a woman in the office who had good news and bad news for me. This is an improvement over the other times I have spoken to them, which is usually bad news and worse news. The good news is that they don't pay as little as I had expected. This is not to say that they will pay me enough to sustain even half the lifestyle I want, but at least the cats and I probably won't starve. The loan forgiveness, on the other hand, was so small, so pitiful, and so totally unhelpful that I can't believe they advertise this program's usefulness to students with a straight face. I will be paying my loans off until I am 120, but I guess that's one of the modern world's wonderful new realities.

One thing this sloppy, disorganized cow told me on the way out really rubbed me the wrong way though. I asked her if she had any other suggestions, maybe some that might pay a little more, and she looked at me like I had three heads. "If you have an offer," she sneered at me, "why would you ever think about turning it down?"

"Ah, well, never accept a first offer, ha ha," I replied, not sure if she was serious.

"Are you kidding me?" she asked.

"Uh, yeah. I just want to be sure it's the right job for me. I don't want to take it because it's the only thing I've got so far," I replied.

"I don't know why you would ever think about messing around with an offer." And with that, she turned her back on me and waddled back to her office.

Is this the way they are trained to speak to us? As though one offer from a place that pays less than menial labor is the only offer I'm ever going to get, and if I don't accept it I'm an idiot? Am I really that undesirable? Luckily, I have not yet reached the point where I'm going to take advice from someone who works in the Career Office. I guess it was the only job she could get.

Monday, January 16, 2006

It's a race!

So the past two weeks have been spent immersed in a trial advocacy class. It was the first and probably only crowning moment for me in law school. Sure, I've done well in a couple classes, made a couple professors think I'm smart, and worked hard in certain extracurricular activities. But nothing made me feel like I might actually be a good lawyer someday quite like this class. In fact, if I am a good lawyer someday, this is the only reason that my law school will be able to take credit for it. Otherwise, everything I may accomplish in the future will be in spite of my school, not because of it.

I was exhilirated, loved trial work, and almost even lost my customary bad attitude. My friends and family were utterly confused by my obvious happiness. I was exhausted, but I was thrilled. The program ended yesterday in a full jury trial, and I was happy with the result. After the trial, I took the most glorious nap ever and woke up still happy.

Then I checked my e-mail.

My school being what it is, they have to turn everything into a competition. This program was no different. They select for a mock trial team, based on the judges' evaluations of us and rankings. Of course there has to be a ranking; of course, 10% of us have to win and 90% have to lose. And, of course, I have to be in that 90%. It's just like first year again: you get your hopes up, think you are competing at a higher level, and then find out that you are where you'd least like to be: solidly on the curve.

I'm a third year now. I'm nearly out of here, for better or for worse. I should be immune and too mature to let this kind of shit bother me. But somehow I'm not. Just once, I want to win.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Oh what A beautiful morning, oh what A beautiful day

Further proving my point that nothing in law school makes sense, I got back two awesome non-B grades this week. I truly don't understand how I can get a B in a course where I know the professor personally, thought he liked me, and had a firm grasp of the subject matter, yet I can get an A in a class where I am completely out of my element. Corporate governance? I can't even tell you what that means. I know less about it than I did at the beginning of the course, because I am five months further removed from my actual Corporations class. And Professional Responsibility? I deserve a good grade in that class? I didn't crack the book, and someone stole my rule book two days before the exam. The irony of someone stealing an ethics book is not lost on me. But I guess they needed it more than I did.

Trust me, I'm not complaining about my unexpected good fortune. Just a little bit stumped. And somewhat resentful. Where were you first year, beautiful A's? That was when I really needed you. You and I, we coulda been so great together. We coulda dressed up nice and gone out on interviews. We coulda had expensive lunches and summer associate events at trendy hotels. We coulda been somebody. But better late than never, I guess.

And I'm sorry for the lapse in posting. I'm busy to the point of total lunacy, but at least I've lost like 3 pounds. Those of you who go to school with me will understand why, and I'll explain later for those of you who don't. Suffice it to say that when I finally made it to the nail salon today, after about two months of complete and total neglect, the manicurist glanced at my ragged, nibbled-up cuticles, smiled indulgently at me and intoned, "First time?"

Monday, January 02, 2006

Glass half full, for once

I got a rejection letter today! I don't know why this gives me so much pleasure, but I feel great about it. The letter said:

"Dear [me],

I write in response to your letter of December 23.

Our firm does not hire lawyers with less than three years' experience.

Thank you for your interest in the firm.

Yours truly,

[him]"

Wow! I giggled like a schoolgirl. That's the best news I've heard all year. Not only did someone actually receive my letter, but it really, truly wasn't personal. It's all on the upswing now!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

From Russia with love

To begin my analysis of my New Year's Eve, I'd like to start with a quote from none other than Forrest Gump. He's been coming up a lot in conversation lately, despite the fact that I haven't seen the movie in about ten years and have absolutely no plans to do so again. But in his pseudo-charmingly idiot-savant way, he said, "My mama always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Earlier this week, my boyfriend applied this saying to his job at a big firm, adding some fine print to the truism which states, "If you are a lawyer at a big firm, there is a 95% chance that any chocolate you happen to choose will taste like shit. Blackout dates apply to the remaining 5%." Last night, the Gumpism came up at the New Year's party I went to.

After last post, I emailed a good friend of mine from college who is always guaranteed to know about good parties. He gets out a hell of a lot more than I do, and is always gracious enough to invite me and my entourage to join. Last night was no exception: he told me about a party in a certain neighborhood in Brooklyn close enough for me to walk to, with a very reasonable entrance fee and an open bar. He stipulated that the people throwing the party were a bunch of classical musicians, so the dork quotient may be high, but that lately they've done a decent job overcoming that and getting a pretty good crowd. I was psyched, not only for myself (I'd rather spend the night with the US Marines than more law students at this point) but for my beautiful, dorky, classical musician sister. I had dinner with her the other night and told her about it, saying that it sounded right up her alley and she should join us.

"Is it thrown by the E brothers?" asked N, slowly turning red.

"Um, yes, I think it is, why?"

"I dated one of them literally last month and he never called me after the third date. But he did send me an email inviting me to the party, and I couldn't even believe the nerve."

"Oh," I replied, "come on, N! You should come. Don't let a little thing like the presence of an ex ruin your New Year's! Just show up, you'll look hot, he'll be sorry, and you'll have a great time."

"No fucking way," replied N. And she wouldn't budge.

So last night my boyfriend and I gussied ourselves up. I wore a standard going-out outfit, a ton of eye makeup, and blow-dried my hair, and overall was quite pleased with the result. M picked us up in a cab and we hightailed it off to the party, in a fairly awesome dance space in an interesting area. I was at the party for about three minutes when I noticed J, the younger brother of my ex-boyfriend D. I had not seen J in almost three years, but he still had that disaffected, unwashed, rich-kid bohemian thing going on (a Bobo, one might easily say).

I grabbed M and boyfriend. "Check it out, my ex-boyfriend's younger brother is here. What the fuck?"

"Hey, check it out," said my boyfriend. "I recognize that guy. Isn't that D?"

I turned around and promptly nearly fell on the floor. Yes, that was D, my ex who had, in theory if not in practice, moved to Russia. Our split two and a half years ago was, how to put it, totally acrimonious and he's been trying to contact me ever since for God knows what reason. I don't fuck around and in the interest of getting rid of him, had changed my cell phone number, IM name, email address, and borough (well, okay, that was incidental). I had done an absolutely outstanding job of avoiding him over the past few years, but there he was in the flesh. What the fuck was he doing here at MY New Year's party?

Sometimes, life is like a box of chocolates. You take one, thinking it'll taste just fine, and then your fucking ex-boyfriend shows up out of nowhere and you want to throw it right up onto his shoes.

I handled the situation as one might predict: I got totally and utterly shitfaced. Luckily, my boyfriend handled this situation with his customary grace under pressure and ended up semi-bonding with the ex. Things could've for sure been worse, especially since we looked hot and my boyfriend is very good at defusing these situations and calming me down. The sight of the two of them chatting outside my earshot was, to say the least, bone-chilling, but once the initial shock wore off, I did fine. Sometimes, it's important to be challenged to realize just how okay you are, and last night was no exception. We laughed the situation off and had a good time anyway, and an important lesson was learned: just because someone moves to Russia, don't count on them to not show up when you least expect it. You never know what you're gonna get.
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