Balancing Acts

A working single mom attending law school

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Posts Tagged ‘law school books’

1L Books, Prep, Life

Posted by newlawmom on July 29, 2008

A day late and a dollar short? No. A week late and a few hundred dollars over budget. I now have every book but one. I have taken some time to look through them and it is not what I expected. There is much more explanation than I anticipated, the reading looks easier than I expected, and the books are all bigger than I thought. There is no way it is possible to carry all these books at once and I now see why people discuss rolling bags. I’m still avoiding the rolling bag, anticipating that I will not need to carry all these books on the same day. Plus I have a locker.

Based on a brief overview of the texts, I anticipate that Torts and Criminal Law will be my favorite reading. Legal Skills citations etc. look like things that will come fairly easily to me. There is a lot of discussion about capital letters and italics and order of materials. If it is remotely related to grammar, it should be no problem. In a way, I am disappointed. I had built up these texts in mind. They were full from cover to cover with cases and it was up to me, the law student, to analyze, interpret, and determine exactly what the significance of these cases were and how they combined to explain the law and how it works. Instead, there is a lot of explanation both preceeding and following cases. Or so it seems based on my brief overview. In addition, the table of contents all seem to be pretty well organized by subject material. I will be completing my initial assignments over the next week or so. It should prove interesting. There is no doubt in my mind that I am going to be consumed full time and a half by the work load that law school involves. But whether it is as difficult as people like to believe remains to be seen. I suspect time management is the bigger issue.  So…how am I doing on that front?

I had a busy day, beginning at 7 and ending at 9PM. It is now 10 and after this post, I will go to bed. Well, ok. Not exactly. But I am trying to go to bed earlier. 14 hours of pure work, including driving to the law school to get most of my books, cleaning my house, packing, moving several boxes to my new house, unpacking and putting those belongings away in their new locations, taking care of my children, and working for a few hours this evening. It occurs to be that meals are going to require significant amounts of planning, as I am going to be short on both money and time. My solution for today was eating out, and that could get expensive pretty fast. Not to mention unhealthy.

Well, it is time to call it a day. I have a full list of things to do tomorrow, all involving my move. If I have time I will do some law reading tomorrow night. Thanks for reading. I hope you have a lovely day.


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Three weeks to go

Posted by newlawmom on July 24, 2008

Law school orientation is three weeks away and for the most part I’m feeling good about it. I with the finacial aid check could be used to pay for my books, but it is not to be.  I need to buy the books tomorrow. I’ve had it on my to-do list all week and on my ??? list for two weeks before that. Avoiding is not helping me here. The price is making me ill. The books aren’t going to get any cheaper. Do you know how many clothes I could buy my boys with $800 plus? Or how many weeks worth of groceries? Or gallons of gas?  Considering law school costs over $30000 per year and I am attending on scholarship my whining might seem out of place. But I am a budget-minded person and these books seem extreme. I’ll stop complaining now.

I’m not a big fan of television, but I do have a few things I watch. Right now I’m watching Nanny 911. This and Supernanny both make my list of favorites. It is always good to have perspective. Yes, it is true, my biological children are angelic and I am one of the best parents around. Supernanny would never need to visit me. But…there have been two episodes of these shows that have shown mentally ill children, and I was upset that the nanny did not have the sense to refer the family for professional help. There is a very big difference between children who need discipline and children who need mental and emotional help. Providing that help early in life could prevent many problems later. On the other hand, too many parents are willing to medicate their children for assorted problems usually identified as hyperactivity. It is a shame to see healthy children medicated unnecessarily. The issue is so complicated. Which is why….it is nice to just watch Nanny 911 and not think too much.

I didn’t get too much done today. It was a workday (evening) for me. I did some laundry, cleaned my house, and spent some time with my children. I am preparing for a family reunion on Saturday and did some shopping for that. I managed to get up early and will go to bed early tonight. Tomorrow I will need to get more done and then I plan on taking the weekend off. I hope all my readers have a lovely day.

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Law school prep

Posted by newlawmom on July 22, 2008

Today was crazy. And for the first time, I have found something law-school related that actually scares me. That scary thing would be the LEEWS audio set. I picked it up for $80 used. It comes in a lovely case with six two-sided cassettes, a book, and several loose sheets of paper. On top is a little green bookmark telling me what to do before, during, and after LEEWS. This is the Legal Essay Exam Writing System created by Wentworth Miller. I wasn’t going to go to the training, or even buy the materials. But the temptation was overwhelming. So….I admit it. I am scared. I have no idea how I am going to fit this into my very full schedule. Weekdays from 8-4 will be no problem. But evenings and weekends need to be well managed, and I will find it difficult. I don’t know when I am going to find the time to play these tapes, at a time when I am awake and able to concentrate, uninterrupted. It just doesn’t seem likely to happen in the middle of summer vacation for the three children. That doesn’t include the fairly lengthy reading assignments that are due on the first day of class. For today, I will avoid the idea by purposefully not putting it on my to-do list. When my list becomes longer than I can manage, I get anxious and accomplish less. When I make next weeks list, perhaps I will put it on there.

Money is tight. I spent a fair amount of time shopping online for my books. I need to make some firm decisions soon. I really need to either have the books or have them ordered and paid for by the end of the week. And I will. But it didn’t happen today. The price turned me off. I did get my physical taken care of, and it came in at just over $150. Not bad. I need to go back in two days to get my TB test read. Itsn’t it amazing that we can lock up one person with TB against their will because they are a risk to society? Risk comes in many forms. I would suggest that parents who abuse and neglect their children and then give birth to four or five more should be stopped just as fast as one TB patient who might infect a few others. An interesting concept. The father of my adopted son had nineteen children. Every single one of them was in the care of the state. The boys mother was sixteen and he was her third baby. Should they be allowed to continue? If they had TB instead of unwanted babies, they would be stopped to protect the innocent.

Well, on to bigger and better things. Tonight I will be planning the rest of my week and reading Later in Life Lawyers. I plan on going to bed by ten and being out of bed by 8AM. 7 came too early for me today. I need to adjust more slowly.

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Law School Countdown

Posted by newlawmom on July 20, 2008

Well, vacation is over. I feel refreshed and ready to get busy. I spent today preparing my new living space. I have doubled up my living arrangements through the 15th of August, giving myself plenty of time to get settled in. Moving right before law school is a pain, but the new arrangements will be much better for me as I will need someone at home to get my kids on and off the bus. Living with my man-friend seems to make that happen. There is something about being 38 and having a boyfriend that sounds immature. Neither can I honestly call him my fiancee. So man-friend it will be. I am remodeling the basement in his house to give my boys some space to call their own. They will “live” upstairs, but a rec room will be good for everyone’s peace of mind. So…on to law school.

This week I will be getting my physical on Tuesday and getting my books. I have decided against buying the “recommended” books and will buy only the required casebooks. From there, I will look over the different options for hornbooks – Emanuel’s, etc. I have decided to buy all of my casebooks new but will probably get the hornbooks used. I am putting my laptop into the shop for a checkup and it also needs a new electric cord. I am undecided regarding using the software that will allow me to type exams. For classes I will be sticking to notebooks and pens. I think I will be too distracted by the laptop. Still, it will be with me everyday for study purposes. Regarding the backpack, I will not be buying a rolling bag. I think they are tacky and not likely to earn me many friends. But I am considering having my casebooks rebound into smaller versions. I will make my final decision on that when I have all the books in my possession.

Preparing for 1L is not really all that complicated. I have read a few law related books, but mostly I have attempted to enjoy my summer. I don’t feel the anxiety kicking in just yet. I’m sure it will hit me, but I’m actually feeling pretty confident about the whole thing.  I will make a point to drive to and from school at my regular commuting times within the next two weeks. I think this is the only “big” thing I have left to do. So…enjoy the day. Thanks for reading.

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Pre-vacation panic

Posted by newlawmom on July 10, 2008

Well, not panic, but time has gotten away from me. Today I ran around like an idiot and am just stopping now. Taking three children to the beach for a week involves a lot of work.  Most of the packing is done. Tomorrow is grocery shopping, taking the dog to the vet for a kennel cough vaccine, and getting over to my mother’s place. Caring for aging parents and one aging man who is not my parent would make for an interesting blog someday. Many people are dealing with that. While I am on vacation, my sister will manage that situation, and my mother will check on my house for me. So all is not lost. I am committed to taking a full week vacation from Saturday to Saturday. I will be leaving my computer behind because it interferes with my ability to totally relax and forget about real life. And I confess, it has a tendency of interfering with the time I spend with my children. I will not be using my laptop to take notes during law school because it will interfere with my ability to concentrate there. I am an unashamed addict.

On the law school front, I received my bill today. The credit balance is lovely. On the other hand, I also received my daughter’s bill for college today. That balance will eat up my credit balance in no time. I worry that my daughter does not appreciate the significant cost involved in her education. While she is a hard worker, she is also a spender. She will need to be poorer as a college student than she has ever been in her life, because I am not going to be able to support her beyond my contribution to her costs. If I send her an extra $50 a month, she’ll be lucky. I hope she is able to manage.

I’m considering the benefits of re-binding my case books for law school. I am not a rolling backpack kind of girl. Nor am I prepared to lug unnecessary weight on what will amount to a long walk from my car to the law school. I will look into this more and post when I find a solution. Of course first I would need to buy the casebooks and other required materials. I have not done that and it doesn’t look likely for tomorrow. But it might not matter because I have decided to avoid used texts, at least for this first semester. I think the highlighting of others would bother me.  So there is no rush. But who knows. Maybe tomorrow I will operate on high speed and accomplish miracles. Doubtful, but possible.

When I get back from vacation, I will have significant amounts of preparation to do. I love having this blog and I will consider ways of using it that will be useful and inspiring to others. Daily posting in the midst of 1L is probably not realistic. And I don’t want it to become an online version of my personal journal. I already have one of those. But I do think having a blog is good, and I will find a way to keep it up. Emotionally, thoughts of law school consume me. I am completing my necessary tasks, taking care of my children, going to work, etc. But my heart and mind are gone.  All I want to do is find my way to satisfaction. Law school and the ability to involve myself in intellectual matters are the ticket to happiness for me.

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Necessary Preparations

Posted by newlawmom on July 7, 2008

Sunday evening is a busy time for me. I plan my week with an overall list of tasks for the week combined with the daily schedule of work, appointments, etc. This week I need to do many things to prepare for my 1L year. I will be getting my physical scheduled and praying I am not to late to get in before 8/12.  If I am too late, I will need to go to the local clinic which will mean running around for my decades old immunization records and waiting up to several hours to be seen. So…crossing fingers. This is where procrastination costs me. Also on the list of things to do: arranging for my final transcript to be sent to the law school and contacting financial aid at the law school to inquire about the living expense portion of my expenses. I am taking subsidized loans for that and I have yet to receive a master loan agreement.  I will also be contacting the school bookstore to check book prices. I have already checked amazon and Barrister books, so it is more for comparison than anything else. I would like to have the books ordered and paid for before Friday, but that might be a stretch. It goes on the ??? list, which often accumulates for several weeks before I actually get to it.

Outside of law school related things, I have the college freshman to consider. She has a physical scheduled for tomorrow at 8:30.  The two boys have theirs scheduled for Tuesday at the same time. I have one cocker spaniel who needs a new home and tomorrow I need to contact some people who have expressed an interest in her. I am leaving for vacation Saturday morning and tomorrow is the day I need to make packing lists. I also need to get to the Social Security office to request a letter on behalf of a client. That could take some time. The work schedule this week is Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. This is where I enjoy being self employed with a high level of flexibility. Otherwise my life would be unmanageable. Darling daughter, however, is less flexible. She is working tomorrow, two jobs. One from 10-6 and one from 9-1AM. So I will be on my own with the boys for the bulk of the day. We will be cleaning house and picking up the yard, attempting to fill the garbage can before Thursday as we prepare to move on 8/1.

The entire list looks unmanageable on paper but I always feel a great sense of accomplishment as I get things crossed off. And the list does help me manage my time. I get twice as much done with it as I would without it, and I am hoping to use the same strategy during my 1L year. So…at 10:30 PM, I am off to bed, ready to start a busy week of work.  There is no time for asking philosophical questions right now.

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