Friday, August 20, 2010

that recap i mentioned

So, as I was saying before I got all side-tracked, Wednesday and Thursday of this week were pretty good.

I had my first official class on Thursday: my small section Civ Pro met. It's so great when you can walk into a class knowing you know the material and when you raise your hand, something intelligent comes out. I had a great experience and we have a terrific prof. I heard some people in a small section Torts class had a brutal experience with their prof. Yikes. I am kinda expecting that with my K prof, so I am doing my best to be super-duper prepared for his classes. Plus, it helps that I love reading the K cases and doing the work. Ask me again at the end of next week if I still feel the same way.

After Civ Pro, we had the convocation ceremony in the auditorium. Basically, it's a ceremony that officially welcomes you to law school and no one actually tells you that you can't ask for your tuition back after that! I guess I'd keep that a secret as well.

I was exhausted during that thing and struggled not just to stay awake, but not fall asleep. That I found more brutal than my Civ Pro class. There were short speeches by the Dean and the head of the Student Bar Association. However, the next speaker went on and on about why we came to law school and NYLS in particular. Um... I know why I came. I certainly know why I picked the school. Was that the best you could have done with your time? It wasn't unhelpful. by any means, it just seemed out of place for a convocation ceremony.

The President of the Board of Trustees was a NYLS alum and been in the biz for 51 years. They should have let him speak earlier, because he I wanted to hear. Honestly, I cannot remember much about his speech right now, but I tried to pay attention because, hey, 51 years as a lawyer is some serious staying power.

Then I stood in a rather chaotic line (I use the word loosely) for tiny cupcakes and fruit, and only because I was starving. I figured I would grab a bite to sustain me and then head home. I was so tired I could hardly stand.

I had almost reached the top step, when I think I might have dozed off. Seriously. I closed my eyes and they jerked open when my slipper hit the edge of the step and I went crashing down. I heard someone ask if I was all right and I think I said yes but looked up for the help. Not a body moved. I was stunned. If I saw someone fall, I'd at least stand up and make sure they were moving on their own steam and not just immediately go back to my chatting because she mumbled something. I was even more stunned because I actually needed the help. I hit my knee pretty damn hard on the step and I had to drop everything in order to hold on to the rail to stand up.

I began to make my way to locker sub-zero when I felt some breeze around my left knee. I looked down and saw a tear in my nice new black skinny jeans! Grrr. I rounded the corner by the student organization offices' when both the pain hit and the realization there was something wet running down my shin.

I walked into the Stonewall office and Rachel, who amazingly went to nursing school, managed to stop the bleeding and dress the cut without making the tear in my pants any bigger. It was truly a feat. I heard someone ask how do people in other law schools make out because Rachel goes to NYLS. I heartily concur.

The adrenaline from the whole experience managed to get me to the curb of 185 Broadway and into a cab. And that's when I realized exactly how sleepy I really was. I made it home in mostly one piece, redressed my knee and went to sleep. When I woke up, my leg from the knee down was in agony. Today is a bit better, but I decided to stay off of it for a while.

Derek has not had an easy time with Mummy doing this law school business, as I've been home late every night, only able to put him to bed. I'm so tired when I get in, that he reads me a story from his Iron Man book. I can't be picky. Tomorrow, we take him to Victoria Gardens, and if I don't go he will disown me and buy a new Mummy at the Mummy Store. Plus, I want to get to the library on Sunday for a few hours to go over my K and Civ Pro notes for Monday's class. Despite the trials (no pun intended!), I am liking my new life.

bringing my perspective to law school

It's been a pretty memorable week, to say the least.

Wednesday was much better than Tuesday, depression-wise. I met up with some FB friends and I think I spent most of that day just laughing. So not a whole lot of studying! There was a Legal Process class, a library tour and an Alumni event, all of which was surprising fun.

After LP, the 2 profs stuck around to chat with some students. I stayed in my seat to see if my neighbor could get into the portal or use my access to get her info. Another FB friend came up and introduced himself and we just stayed there, chatting. The profs thought we might have been waiting to speak to them, so they came over to ask. We wound up talking about the amendment to the 14th Amendment re children of illegal immigrants born in the US no longer automatically being citizens.

I told them that, as an immigrant, I carry around a great deal of guilt that I don't throw my lot in with immigrant issues across the board because I did things the right way. I married for love and my husband adopted my biological child out of love. We had a lawyer, filled out the right forms, produced what we needed to produce and survived the hearings and interviews and the CIS bureaucracy.

But, in spite of that, I feel the same way any person who comes to live in the States, especially NY, feels: lost and alone. I flailed along for years trying to figure this place out, learn trains and buses, walking on a different side of the street, etc. And that's just logistics. Trinidad is a very different place, with a very different atmosphere. I felt like I was learning a new language.

Aside: this is one reason I feel so ready for law school. I'm not sure I conquered NY, but in the almost-five years I've been here, I've come a long way. Law school IS a whole new language and set of experiences, but they very much parallel my way since I moved here and I don't feel like I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not as unprepared as I could have been, hence, I feel more confident in my approach to everything. Plus, being older has its perks.

However, because I did everything the right way and I didn't come to the US looking for a "better life" (although, God knows, I have one) and never had any desire to come here, I don't feel as strongly about the rights of illegal immigrants as the illegals do. I'm not sure I feel, as a group, they automatically deserve the rights of naturalized citizens or permanent residents: the people who did it the right way;, who waited years for their paperwork to drip its way down the channels like molasses on a hot day; who paid the ridiculous sums of money at each stage of filing; who sweated out interviews with the CIS.

I am not thrilled at the move to amend the 14th Amendment either, especially if the thinking behind it is to control the influx of illegals: your kids born here are as illegal as you are, so don't born them here. I do realize my perspective on this is not the same as I am here legally, from the minute I stepped off the plane. I am also going to seek citizenship next year, with help from my immigration lawyer. How can I identify with people who left their homelands to look for a better life for their children? I'm not sure I can.

I didn't get into all this because I have an interest in immigration law. Constitutional Law, yes, but after going through the immigration stuff, I had no desire to get any further into it. But one of the professors suggested I talk to another professor who is big in the immigration law dance, and I think I will. It definitely couldn't hurt keep my options open, even if it's just to offer advice to friends down the road.

I intended this post to be about Wednesday and Thursday of this week, but it took on a life of it's own. I'll post about the rest of orientation week later.