Sunday, January 12, 2014

Final Semester

Well, life is officially back to normal, which actually feels really good. While I love the whole stretch of time between Thanksgiving and going back to school/ work after the new year, it feels great to just get back into my normal routine after the annual month and a half long break from that routine due to exams and the holidays. And I might be in the minority on this, but I LOVE January. Sure it's cold, but it's brimming with new possibilities and is goal-setting heaven for a Type A person like me.

So, here's what's going on with me now and in the next couple of months:

1) Yes, this is indeed my last semester. I graduate in May, and even though I know this term will end up being just as busy as any other, at least at the outset it's academically the lightest semester I've had in longer than I can even remember. I'm taking advanced litigation drafting, divorce mediation, trial practice, torts II, and a family law seminar, and I will only have one real exam and one paper, so that's good. Most of the classes are skills courses that will involve things like putting on an entire trial and writing court documents, rather than the normal law school class that involves learning tons of case law and legal theory. So it will still be a challenge, but a different kind of challenge, and all of those classes are incredibly relevant to my future career. I've also had exposure to most of the subject matter at some point already, so this semester is mostly about nailing down the advanced skills. For example, I already know how to write almost all the types of documents on the syllabus for litigation drafting because there's not much I didn't write last summer at work, but I know I still need to get a lot more comfortable with quickly pulling together things like pretrial orders and ante-litem notices. I'm also hoping to audit one of the bar prep courses (I can't actually take it for credit because I can't take any more credits than I'm already taking.)

2) I'm doing Moot Court this semester and am really excited about it! We have the best people on our team and I'm already good friends with all of them, so I'm excited to work with each of them. Our competition problem is about the legality under the Fair Labor Standards Act of unpaid internships--incredibly relevant, timely, and also something that matters personally to most 20-somethings who have taken on at least one, if not many, unpaid internships. And best of all, we get to go all the way to Seattle to argue our case at regionals! If I literally had gotten to pick any city in the U.S. for our regionals to be held at, I would have picked Seattle.

3) As of today, I'm jumping back into eating healthy and exercising. I'm not going to be obsessive about it or go paleo or anything like that, but I just want to be conscientious about trying to eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. Today, for example, I made salmon with honey and cracked black pepper and glazed carrots. I am planning to have smoothies for breakfast almost every morning and I am stocked up on Greek yogurt, juice, and frozen fruit to make that happen. And Catherine and I have started training again because we are doing a race soon! It is a 5K that raises money for an organization that fights homelessness, and it's in just two weeks. This was something I signed up for in my "I need to do something that matters with my life" moment about a week and a half ago. I made some other exciting plans then too, such as what I want to do to celebrate my 25th birthday, but more about that later. I'm determined to get outside my own little bubble this semester and volunteer more and do more for others. There's a whole big world of needy people out there, and I can't continue to stay comfortable in my own little corner of it.

4) In addition to the whole running thing, I really want to do a lot more strength training this year. There are few health benefits I can even think of that can't be acquired by regular visits to the weight room, even though I know a lot of women who are scared to try it for fear of "bulking up." (But ladies, that's not even a possibility because we don't produce enough testosterone. Just putting that to rest.) But the best thing about strength training is that it makes you burn more calories at rest--like, while you're sitting on your couch watching The Bachelor--than you would if you weren't doing it. What's not to like?

5) Catherine and I are also going to Jacksonville in a few weeks to compete in a client counseling competition! The topic is First Amendment law, and I know we need to prepare for it, BUT it's hard not to look at the trip as a beach vacation on the law school's dime. But we need to try to do a decent job at the actual competition, of course, and then there will be beach time.

6) Possible trips to Chicago, Albany (GA), and the beach are also in the works over the next few months. LOTS of traveling about to happen.

7) I want to read 50 books (or more) this year. I just read The Rainmaker by John Grisham, and it was excellent. Now I'm working on his book The Street Lawyer, and also Ben Mezrich's book Bringing Down the House.

8) I'm going to at least test out becoming a morning person this month/ year. I'd like to try at least three weeks straight of getting up no later than about 6am and immediately diving into early morning productivity. If I'm not into it after that, I'll just go back to being a night owl and sleeping in a little later, but I've heard so many people rave about the early-morning thing that I have to try it.

9) Anna and I talked about this while she was here--we want to celebrate our daily lives more. Not just the big things or the big accomplishments, but the little things too. I'm calling this my "celebrate because it's Tuesday" philosophy. Every day deserves to be appreciated, not just, for example, weekends or vacation days. So we're going to try to stop and smell the roses more/ watch more sunrises/ light more candles/ wear the pretty jewelry and use the pretty dishes just because.

Thanks for reading!

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