Sassy Answers to Future Questions

When you’re a kid the question of what you want to be when you grow up is fun and relatively simple for most of us. Generally you answer with a big grin and some far fetched idea. For me it was an actress – until I was 13 and then I was going to be a lawyer.

But it feels like the older you get, the more frustrating that question gets, the more pressure there seems to be to have a legitimate and thoughtful answer.

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There were times during my undergraduate degree when I waffled on the whole law school idea – though I always came back to it in the end – and times where even if I really wanted law school I just was not convinced I had a chance at being smart enough to get in. And it was around this time that the questions started cropping up again. “So, what do you want to do next?” “What are you going to do with that [a double major in political science and religious studies]?”

And I, like most of my classmates, both hated and dreaded that question in equal measure. Because the truth of the matter was that we weren’t 100% sure what was coming next, and even if we were sure what we wanted to come next that did not mean we would get it. And so my answers, as they tend to do when I’m feeling pressured, got sassy. “Oh, I’m going to solve the problems in the Middle East” I would say, or, “I’m going to save the world. Obviously.”

The same thing has happened now that I’m in law school. Except now the question isn’t asking what I’m going to do with my degree, but what kind of law I want to practice. And my answer isn’t as sassy (yet), but currently it’s something along the lines of “I’m not sure, but based on my classes for next year – the kind that won’t make any money”.

And yes, this is a long winded way of saying what my classes are for next year. So, here they are:

Fall Semester

  1. Family Law
  2. Mental Health Law
  3. Business Associations
  4. Clinical Litigation Practice (which is basically my working in the legal aid clinic)

Winter Semester

  1. Civil Procedure
  2. Administrative Law
  3. Immigration and Refugee Law
  4. Feminist Legal Studies Workshop
  5. Clinical Litigation Practice

So yeah, I wasn’t exactly kidding when I said the kinds of law that aren’t the big money makers, but I’m so excited and really there is more to life than money.

  • Kali
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I Capture the Castle

Castle

Well, okay, I’m not actually capturing anything, but it seemed like a fun title to reveal my summer plans. Which, again, sadly do not involve any capturing, but does involve a castle!

As you may or may not know if you’ve been following this blog, I attend Queen’s University (the Canadian one). One of the really neat things about Queen’s is the fact that it owns a castle in England. Because why not, right?

Queen’s Law offers two summer programs at the castle – International Business Law and Public International Law. I had been hemming and hawing on this one for awhile. But Kali (I imagine you saying) – it’s a castle! In England! You’ll basically be Harry Potter! While these are all very legitimate arguments, the issue was the price tag attached. But, I was talking to one of my 2L friends yesterday and she pointed out that A: I would be taking classes I wanted to take anyway, B: it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and C: I don’t have any other summer plans.

So, I filled out a bursary application form and handed in my program application this afternoon. It’s all but official, for part of this summer I’m going to be living in a castle in England. 100 points to Slytherin for taking advantage of a first rate opportunity!

And for those who are wondering – I applied for Public International Law. I’m not super interested in business law (which is unfortunate since that’s where all the money is) and I figured taking business law courses in the condensed and intensive format the castle program requires would probably not be the brightest of ideas.

It may not actually be Hogwarts, but it’s probably the closest I’ll ever get.

  • Kali

Power Poses

I’ve been negligent I suppose and I apologize. Second term has been a whirlwind of classes, reading, and the beginnings of our exposure to oral advocacy.

Oral advocacy is not a thing I’m good at. I get super nervous speaking in front of people. Sure, I’m better than I used to be (thank Model UN!), but I definitely still get very nervous. I’ve heard on multiple occasions people say that this seems surprising because apparently I don’t seem that way when I’m speaking normally.

Partially I suspect this is because I don’t feel like I need to impress my friends when we’re just talking normally. Sure, once upon a time I felt more of a need to impress my friends and that’s not to say I don’t care what my friends think of me – because I definitely do – but it’s still less pressure than speaking in front of my professors or even, one day, in court.

So far we’ve had two main oral advocacy exercises – one in Criminal law and a moot (basically a practice court situation, but only the part where you make your argument, not the bit with witnesses and stuff) in my Introduction to Legal Skills (ILS) class.

The Criminal law one was definitely more nerve wracking – that was partially because of the professor being more intimidating and partially because of the subject matter. My criminal law professor is one of the biggest names in Canadian criminal law – he literally wrote the textbook – and the case we were arguing was one about consent in sexual situations. If I never hear my professor say the phrase ‘kinky sex’ ever again it will still be too soon.

The subject matter for my ILS moot was drier – contractual interpretation of an indemnity clause – which was something more comfortable to talk about even if a tad boring. But, honestly, what I think really made the difference was two main things – my comfort with my professor and the fact that myself and my partner did some power poses beforehand.

Power poses are basically just things like putting your hands on your hips (Superwoman pose) or doing the Nixon ‘peace sign hands in the air’ thing, etc. It sounds dumb and honestly I felt a little silly at first, but it does loosen you up and calm you down. Or, at least, it did for me. There’s even a TED Talk about it so that must mean it works!

See!

  • Kali

Exams!? Already!?

“You paid the big bucks to be judgmental.”

This was the advice my criminal law professor gave to us the other day. He was trying to make the point that we need to commit ourselves to our answers in the exam setting (and the point was well made), but it makes me laugh anyway.

In my best judgment I’ve got to say that it seems crazy that exam season is already upon us. And I know a lot of people in my year feel the same – we feel like it’s much too soon for us to already be a semester into law school. That feeling of ‘wow, I’m actually in law school’ has mostly faded, but it still pops up from time to time.

I feel like I’m on top of things though. It’s a weird feeling somewhere between stress and zen that I’ve never really had before. It’s possibly because of the curve – that knowledge that it’s really incredibly hard to fail law school, but also very difficult to do very well.

In addition, NaNoWriMo went well. I hit my 50K and actually finished the last book in a trilogy I started years ago. In fact, there seemed to be less NaNo stress this time. Part of that was probably because I was writing familiar characters and a familiar world, and part of it probably came from the fact that I was able to get ahead in my word count because the first week of NaNo coincided with reading break, but a lot of it also came from the fact that I did not have any papers to write so there was no moment of panic in Week 3 when I realized I had 3 weeks to write 4 papers.

All in all things seem to be going smoothly. Even though I still get the odd shock that I’m actually in law school I mostly just feel like I belong.

  • Kali

The End of Orientation

Wow, it has been a busy time since I last posted here. Classes started on Tuesday and they’re mostly going great. However, that’s not what this post is about. This is the second half of orientation which had its final event last night.

Hooray for anonymity!

Hooray for anonymity!

We went bowling and I actually did pretty well. Or, well, perhaps well might be a bit of an overstatement. But I wasn’t completely awful. I won both games (but I was only playing against one other person). I even managed to get a strike. Unfortunately it was not under my name because I was taking someone else turn while he was away. But still. I’m pretty proud of it.

Go Avengers!

Go Avengers!

The next day was games day. Honestly, not really my thing, but it was actually pretty fun. The games in question were Gladiator (as pictured above), chicken legs (where everyone gets in a circle and throws balls between the legs of others until one person is left standing and your legs have to stay straight the entire time), an inflatable obstacle course, ultimate frisbee, and flip cup (with water). I actually found I had an innate talent at flip cup. Too bad it’s a drinking game and I don’t drink. 😛

"Too Hot! Hot Damn!"

“Uptown Funk you up!’

On Thursday there was karaoke at a pub called Tir Nan Og. Upper years were also invited to this one. I mostly just watched, but I did get up and sing when my whole team went up. They told me we were singing Shania Twain’s “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” and then I got up there and was informed they had changed the song to “Baby Got Back”. I can’t say I really knew that words, but lets be honest – no one really cares. Especially since so many people were drunk.

Classy Gala Spread

Classy Gala Spread

And the final event was a ‘gala’. I’m not exactly sure why they called it a gala, but they did. So we all dressed up – gals in dresses, guys in suits. After that we headed to our first Queen’s Law ‘Smoker’. A Smoker – from what I can tell – is just a bunch of law students gathering at a bar that smells vaguely of smoked meat. Apparently later in the year they are themed and often act as fundraisers for clubs. In my opinion – I came, I saw, and now I can say that I’ve been to a Smoker. I feel no need to go back (shocker, right?).

There have been a few other activities strewn about that I haven’t mentioned – there was a pub night for the mature students, a games night, etc. but I’ve mentioned most of the big stuff. Now that orientation is over it’s really time to get down to work. I’m still pretty excited.

  • Kali
Queen's Law - Class of 2018!

Queen’s Law – Class of 2018!

A Clear 180

Well here’s a spot I never thought I would be sitting in. The last time I wrote here I was feeling sad and pessimistic about my chances of getting into law school which had been my dream since I was 13. Well, 8 classes, 2 LSAT writes, and one convocation ceremony later and I actually have a difficult decision to make.

I’ve received admission to two of my top choices for law school starting in September. Western and Queen’s. I’ve already paid a deposit to Western as I’ve only recently received admission to Queen’s. It’s a difficult decision, but one that I’m thankful to have.

I don’t have long to reach a decision, but I’m excited that a new chapter of my life is beginning. And it includes LAW SCHOOL!

Decisions, decisions.

– Kali

Bittersweet

I know I haven’t blogged in forever, but I needed to write out my thoughts and I suppose that was the intent of this blog in the first place. Today is my class registration day. My last one ever. There are a few reasons I’m just not as excited this year – partially it’s the fact that though I’m excited for some of the classes I’m planning, I’m kind of disappointed with this years offerings as a whole, but more importantly it’s the fact that this is the last time I’m guaranteed to be doing this. 

Like most people my age I’ve spent the majority of my life in school – 17 out of 23 years. I took one year off between high school and university and even though I was unhappy at the time, some good things have happened because of it (I went to Wrockstock, I started doing NaNo, and it meant I met the friends I have now). Even during that year though I knew I had school to look forward too. I am fortunate that I live in a country where if you want to go to university you’re going to get to go. Sure, you might have debt (I do), but it’s not insurmountable and a university education is basically guaranteed if you want it. However, I’m now at the point where there are no guarantees that I will get to continue my education even though the idea of not being in school is absolutely terrifying.

I make average grades (a B+/A- average) and I’m not that great at logic games. These two things combined make it unlikely I’ll get into law school. I’m certainly still going to try – I’m planning to take the LSAT in October – but realistically I don’t know what I’m going to do. There’s no way I’m getting into grad school as I’m not in honors in either of my faculties (not smart enough in poli sci and it’s not even offered for religious studies) and you need honors to get into grad school most places. 

I guess I’m just in a kind of melancholy mood thinking about all this stuff. I even found myself going through my old high school yearbooks this morning. I don’t wish I was back in high school (then I’d still have to take math – yuck!), but I do miss the certainty of knowing what came next. And looking back at my yearbooks and seeing all the things people wrote made me think of how hopeless I am at staying in touch with people. I had a group of really close friends in high school and we referred to ourselves as G-STRMNICK for all of our names. I was never all that close with everyone, but I was really close with the S, the T, the R, and to a lesser extent the I. The S and the R both went to school in Calgary, but the T and the I are still here in the city. I even still see the I sometimes as we’re both at UVic. However, I’m not really in touch with any of them anymore. And it makes me worry that in 4/5 years I won’t be in touch with my current close friends either – Rachel, Aaron, Kylie, Ashley, Emma, Steph… among others. 

I don’t like uncertainty. I never have. And even though people (and by people I mostly mean my mom) call me a drama queen, I think my worries are pretty standard. I’m trying to keep upbeat about all of this, but it’s kind of depressing to think that this is the last year. I joke that I’m going to be a mess this year, but it’s not really a joke. The thought of what I’m going to do next is paralyzing. I’m not prepared for the real world, but I know I’m not smart enough to do more school. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to get into more school because I am, but I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself when I don’t get in.