Jim's Ramblings

Random happenings from my mostly boring daily life!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Big Bad Test is Dead

School continues to wind down.  Yesterday I had what was in all probability the most difficult to study for final I've had in all my school days - Virginia Civil Procedure.  Immediately after the exhileration of being done with my last class, I had to begin studying.  I studied some each of the 4 days leading up to the final, and had to pull a near all nighter on Monday night to get through the last bits of material.  And that was the problem - SO much material, and a closed book test.

In an average law school class, I have 40-50 pages of notes (hand written, front and back counting as 1 page).  Further, a lot of it is intense detail, so the notes "compress" well when I sit down to outline.  Here, I had 90-100 pages of notes and very little of it compressed.  By the time I was done outlining, I had 47 typed pages, and I even skipped a section because the prof had handed out an outline of sorts for it!

So then came the test.  Designed to be doable in 3 hours, but he gave us 6 for good measure.  I got it home, and finished it in about 1hr 45mins!  I took a brief nap, got up, looked at it again, and spent another 30-45 min on it polishing it up and adding some stuff to my answers.  It wasn't bad at all - but I think its because I put the time in studying.  Its the sort of material that is not difficult - there are no real "tricky issues" or anythin else - its very straightforward.  There's just a TON of it.  So you either know it or you don't.. and for the most part, I knew it.  I'm pretty sure I got an A or B on it, and I'm certain I passed it.  So I am *very* pleased.  Now all thats left is about 2-4 hours of edits on my paper, and two more MUCH EASIER TO STUDY FOR finals.  Then I'm outta here, and off to the city by the bay :).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Last law school class.. DONE

That's right folks, I just finished my last law school class... EVER. Most likely my last truly academic class EVER. Oh, sure, there will be Continuing Legal Education classes to take and that sort of thing, but those are professional classes, not academic ones. And they are one day seminar type things. So yeah, my academic career is quickly coming to an end. I really don't think it’s sunk in yet. Unlike many in law school, I've been in school my whole life. I didn't take time off between college and law school to work. The longest I've ever held a full time job of any kind my entire life is about 2.5 months. Put another way, I'm 25 years old and I'm facing the prospects of the "real world" for the first time.

And I say.. bring it on. I'm honestly looking forward to it. This is a LONG time to be in school with no break. Especially when you consider that, unlike PhD programs where most of what you do is more work than school (ie, lab work, not classes), law school is *all* classes. And I'm sure there will come a time when I will look fondly back on my law school days and think how much better school is than work - but that time isn't now. Right now, I'm just glad to get out of here and do some of the things that have been on hold the past 3 years. Like getting enough sleep... like lifting regularly.. like dating.. like having money. There are certainly things I'll miss about school - the intellectual conversations in class, the collegial environment, and the casual comfortable clothes! But all in all.. I'm ready for a change in my life. I'm ready to move forward.

Of course, I may have spoken too soon when I said last class EVER. After all, I may one day return to the hallowed halls of academia - an advanced law degree? Some classes for fun in my old age? Who knows - I do know that we never stop learning, and as time presses on, it can be a good thing to return to that formal education we all must one day leave, as I am about to do.

So, what's left you ask? Final exams - I've got three. The worst is Tuesday. The other two are 9 days later. Oh, and the final draft of my paper. I don't have to do too much, just some minor changes. Then graduation is May 14. After that, I'll have my J.D. I'll be a "Juris Doctor." I'll be able to truthfully put "James H. Hutchinson, Esquire" in my email signature. Pretty crazy! Then all there is is the "simple" matter of the bar exam. Once I pass that and get my results in October, I'll have the keys to the court system.. I'll be able to file suits in Virginia and the Federal courts, go before judges, defend people's lives and property. When you think about it, its a pretty awesome responsibility.

Ah well, that's for another post. In the future, perhaps i'll pontificate on my overall law school experience. Until then, I'm just glad I don't have any 8:30am classes for a while.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Lifting Blog

Hey all,

I already linked most of you this, but for those I didn't I've decided to go ahead and put up a lifting blog. On it I'll basically detail my workouts, how I'm progressing, as well as go ahead and post logs of my workouts and such. It is linked here, and you can also find a link over in the links section of this page. If you are into lifting, or just interested in my progress, check it out! I'd appreciate any comments/support people are willing to give.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The end is near

That's right folks, the end is near. No, not the end of the world... the end of law school! I can hardly wait. As some of you know I have been slaving the past few weeks on a very long paper on police excessive force - 25 pages to be precise. This past Friday (April 7, coincidentally, my birthday), I spent from about 4pm to 10pm in the library working on the paper, and managed to finish it up. Not the way you hope to spend your bday, but regardless, this is a huge relief - that paper was probably the biggest thing I had to do for the semester. It is of course just a first draft, which the professor will comment on - the final draft is due May 1 - but I expect any necessary changes to be fairly minimal and quick. The hard part was getting the main stuff down on paper. So with that thing out of the way, I've got a week and a half of class left (next week is the last week of classes), then finals. I'll officially be done with law school on May 4. This brings me to summer plans :D.

May 6 - 12, my mom and I will be in San Francisco - sort of a "hey you're done!" trip. I'll be back in Williamsburg May 13-15 for graduation festivities on May 14. Then I'll probably be up in NOVA for about a week or so, before I return to Williamsburg to begin my bar exam prep course on May 24. That will go through mid-July. In late July, I'll head to Roanoke to take the bar exam. I'll proceed to move my junk to a storage unit in Blacksburg, and then have all of August to myself up in NOVA (maybe a road trip is in order?). Looks like I'll probably move in to my apt over labor day weekend. Then of course Sept 9 is Kim's wedding. We may go to Hatteras for two weeks immediately following that (and Ryan will hopefully be able to join us!). After that, its back to Blacksburg to settle in and start work on October 2. So, yeah, definitely have a busy few months ahead of me, but I'm really looking forward to it. I'm also planning to spend a LOT of time in the gym once I'm done with finals - between classes and this paper, I've been out of the gym for a long time, so I need to get back on track. I'd like to be lifting 4 days a week anyway, so I figure summer's a good time to start. During the bar prep, I honestly think most of my time during the week will be spent studying, lifting, and sleeping - but overall I'm looking forward to it - its at least a change of pace from school. And I love pumping iron anyway, so its all good! :). I was thinking of maybe finding time for a little summer fling, but I think I'll keep dating on hold till I'm done with the bar. Between studying and the gym, I just don't see how I'll have time, much as I might like to jump the gun. :-P

So, there it is - the next 6 months of my life are pretty well planned out. All I care about now though, is getting the heck out of law school... that's gotta be one of the best feelings, well, ever.

PS: If you are interested in coming to my graduation, it is on Sunday May 14. Its roughly the same format as Tech's - a university wide ceremony at 12 where the degree is conferred, followed by a law school only ceremony at 3:30 where I get my diploma. We don't have extra tickets for the university wide ceremony, but the law school one is open to all (and its the more important one anyway). Ex-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will be the speaker at the law school ceremony. So yeah, if you want to come, let me know and I'll get you the details (DO NOT feel obligated though, I'm not expecting anyone other than family, so this is purely an if you want to thing). As for places to stay, depending on how many (if any =P) want to come, the guys at least can probably crash at my place.

That's it for now.. I'm out!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I'm still alive!

I haven't posted in a long while, partially because nothing much has been going on. Basically there are only 3 real things in my life at the moment - getting ready for my move/new job in October, getting ready for graduation, and finishing up this semester.

On the job front, I went to Blacksburg last weekend and got everything ironed out. I'm really looking forward to being done with school, moving, and getting started. I think it will be a very good situation overall. On the roommate front, I was hoping I might end up living with Ray, but that unfortunately fell through, at least for this year. So, I'm probably going to bite the bullet and get my own place. It'll likely be a 2br, 1.5ba in one of the nicer areas of Foxridge. This will be my first time living alone for any length of time, so it should be interesting. There are advantages of course, especially in the privacy/women department =). That said, I know it can get awful quiet. I'm hoping I'll be busy enough and have enough friends around the area that I won't really notice. Of course, this also means I'll have a guest room.. so you people better come down and visit me!

On the school front, we are sort of on the "back edge" of the storm. Things are picking up for a final push before they slow down in preparation for finals. The main thing I've got going is a 25 page paper. The good news is I'm done with my research and outline, and I'm 10 pages in. The bad news is there are 15 left. I'll probably work on it some this week and finish it up this coming weekend.

Only other real news is I'm gonna be 25 (that's right, the quarter century mark!) on April 7. My mom may come down, assuming I can get enough time away from the paper to celebrate