I survived the first day of law school!
I survived! Yeah! Only a little over a thousand more days to go!
Actually, it wasn’t as bad as the rumors made it seem. I’m sure they are taking it easy on us, but most people seemed to be following the discussion and contributing. More importantly: I followed the discussion, contributed, and felt like I learned something (e.g. the difference between expectancy damages and restitution damages). No one was embarrassed in front of the class. No one left the room crying. Not even as tough as Legally Blonde; but, maybe that’s because I’m smarter than Elle Woods.
In our first official class, people’s personalities became evident very quickly. Some students ran for the seats at the front of the room. Some of us (yes, includes me), sat towards the back. Some of us took notes on paper. Some used their computers and spent more time on Gmail than taking notes. On Wednesday, we’ll do a seating chart, so where we are sitting is where we will be for the rest of the semester. Finding a good neighbor is a lot of pressure.
We also had Legal Rhetoric last night. The professor is an adjunct professor, and seems like he’ll be pretty good. He seems nice, has years of experience in legal writing and doesn’t seem too be overly strict. The problem with that class is the fact that we have assignments due almost every week. And the grading is tough. If they find four proofreading errors, they stop grading and return the assignment via email. You have 24 hours to correct and resubmit and it’s a 15% grade deduction automatically. That’s even for “drafts.”
I got home about 10:15 last night and didn’t feel like doing any reading, so I need to read 30 pages or so tonight in order to not be falling behind already. That’s going to be the challenge.
Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts. Katie has an appointment with a new vet at 10:30 this morning. And thanks to Michael for the vet recommendation.
We’ve had two days of orientation activities so far. The first day was a basic introduction from the Dean and some faculty, followed by a part-time student reception. I’ve met several of my classmates so far, and even remember some of their names when I’ve run into them, again. Last night’s orientation activity was an introduction to the Legal Rhetoric program, including introductions to the writing we’ll be doing this semester as well as the research. Washington College of Law is known for turning out graduates with very strong research and writing skills.
We’ve heard Legal Rhetoric is going to be tough, and based on the syllabus, they were right. In addition to readings for class each week, there are frequent writing assignments, which look like they’re going to take a significant amount of time. Since my class is Monday night, that means the writing assignments have to be done by the weekend. Then there are additional sessions thrown in to teach us how to do citations (using the infamous Blue Book) and how to do legal research. I try to make myself feel better by trying to convince myself that this course will help me at work, when we need to do legal research and will improve the persuasiveness of my writing.
Tonight is the Dean’s BBQ, and tomorrow, we have a “practice lecture” which includes pre-class readings. Guess I know what I’ll be doing tonight.
I haven’t started reading. I should have. I have 25 pages for Contracts, about 50 for Legal Rhetoric, and six cases or so for Torts (I haven’t looked how many pages that is, yet.) due for Monday and Tuesday. And then more due for Wednesday and Thursday. I’ve been putting off the reading because once I get started, I’m in, and there’s no turning back. Before I get started, I’m trying to get everything else in order, because I think it’s all going to get pushed to the side and I will be completely preoccupied by work and school. So far, I’ve:
- Paid bills
- Gone to Costco and stocked up on everything I can.
- Cleaned and tried to organize/de-clutter the kitchen, dining room and living room.
- Almost figured out where the university pool is, and printed the recreational swim schedule.
- Cleaned my big coffee pot
- Created my LexisNexis and Westlaw accounts
I took the mornings off work this coming week, so I can get used to reading and preparing for school. I was going to take the entire week off, but then realized that I’d start the 2nd week of classes while having to catch up from a week and a half out of the office. (I also took last three days off this week, which is why I’m blogging on a Friday morning.)
Off to do some more errands and then lunch.
Not much happening here, but figured I better post something.
This week was busy at work, but felt productive. My boss and my only staff member are out this coming week, so a lot of the time was spent figuring out what I need to cover next week. Hopefully this coming week won’t be too crazy.
I took Friday afternoon off to go to the zoo. One of the other First Years (1L’s) suggested a trip to the zoo to meet each other. About ten people showed up. I was the only one from the part-time program. (I guess the rest were working.) It was quite the variety of students, from different backgrounds and locations, but everyone seems friendly. Most of them moved to DC within the last week, so they’ve been busy unpacking, figuring out the Metro and bus system and learning their way around. I’m glad that I don’t have to deal with any of that on top of starting school.
They still haven’t released our schedule for Legal Rhetoric, so I still don’t know what night I’m going to have class until 10 pm. I’m not sure why I’m so desperate to know, other than to start to prepare myself mentally. I hope it’s not Monday. That would be a long start to the week. But, maybe it’d be good to get it over with. They also haven’t released our bills, yet. Not as worried about that!
I have a date this afternoon. First date. From OkCupid. He seems nice. We’ll see how that goes. Have another first date next weekend. Tonight, going out to Remingtons with a few friends. Tomorrow’s a fairly quiet day. Need to clean out the refrigerator and try to organize a few things that are stacked up in the dining room.
Have a good weekend
Going Back to Clinic
About a year after I moved to DC, I started having a regular clinic, again. (It took them that long to process my credentialing paperwork.) So, since late 2007 or early 2008, I’ve been going to the VA hospital most Friday mornings to see patients. Overall, I’ve enjoyed it. Most of the patients have been nice, and I know I’ve helped a few of them. Some of the patients have been a bit more challenging. And they’re the ones that come in more frequently. The staff have always been great. Without them, it wouldn’t have been possible to do clinic one half-day per week and maintain my other jobs.
But, as I thought about going back to school, I was worried that it was just one more responsibility I’d have to juggle. It’s not like my regular job reduced my workload by 10% since I was out of the office 10% of the time. And with classes 4 nights a week, I can’t afford to work late, so need to keep my schedule as close to 40 hours a week as possible.
I also started studying for my Internal Medicine board recertification exam. Every ten years, we have to take this exam, along with several online self-education modules. As I was studying for the test (which I did pass, btw), I realized that I had forgotten a lot of medicine that I used to know. When you don’t do rheumatology or cancer care, it’s hard to keep up with the new tests and treatments.
Both of those factors helped me decide that it was time to give up clinic.
About 3 months ago, I told the clinic staff, who were all saddened to see me leave. And we started telling patients. Several of them didn’t seem to care. They were just stoic that this is what happens in the clinic. Staff come and go. Residents rotate out every three years. Most of the patients said they were very sad that I was leaving. One patient asked me to come back just every three months so that I could still be their doctor for their regular appointment.
This past Friday was my last day in clinic. It was bittersweet. I’m excited to be taking one more step towards simplifying my life as school’s about to start. But, I will miss the staff, and most of the patients. It’s also a little sad because I’m not sure I’m a “real” doctor, anymore. I even gave my stethoscope away to one of the staff.
They had a going-away party and breakfast for me before clinic started. It was supposed to be a surprise, but it ended up getting included in some general clinic announcements I was cc’d on. There was lots of tasty food in the conference room.
They even got me gifts. I got a beautiful red leather toiletry bag, which means I can use my old one for the gym instead of going to buy a new one for the gym. (One item checked off my To Do list.) I also got a card with lots of nice comments, a box of chocolates, a plaque thanking me for my service, and a box of Pop-tarts (my secret indulgence).
Before the gifts, the clinic director made a brief speech, which was very kind. She talked about how they often assigned me patients that were having conflicts with their other doctor because they knew I could handle them in a kind way. It reminded me that so much of medicine isn’t about the science of medicine. It’s the ability to listen — to connect — with a patient. I will miss that.
I will probably be back in clinic next week. First off, there’s a fair chance I’ll forget I don’t have clinic. I’ll just wake up like any Friday and drive there. Even if I remember, I probably need to go in and do some paperwork. Friday morning, I realized that I hadn’t told anyone in administration that I was leaving. I stopped by Friday after my clinic was done. (None of my patients showed up!) The guy who handles that paperwork was on vacation. It’s my own fault. About 3 months ago, when I made the decision, I realized I needed to tell them, but figured I’d wait and do it about 4 weeks before I was done. Then, I forgot.
I worked with some really great people there and I will them all much more than I miss the patients. I will also miss a few of the patients.
But, I guess I can always go back to clinic. I am Board Certified until 2021, now.