“Law school is no joke.” That’s what a friend of mine said when we last talked about my study program. He wasn’t lying. He’s a professional athlete, a downhill skier. He inspired me to think of note-taking like one of his epic runs to the finish line on a Super-G (super giant slalom) course – a combination of precision, technical expertise, and speed.
I have wanted to say Happy New Year for a few weeks now but felt I really had to work this out first. Sooooo, I’m sitting here in post-fact America trying to decide what courses to select for the new term. There are a lot of excellent options to choose from. This required a good think. I came close to pushing the registration button a few times then paused to consider how my choice will help me interpret and contribute to the world around me. For me, those opportunities are the point of education generally and of post-graduate legal education particularly. I’m going to invest a lot of time in this as a student and as a professional. It’s important to get it right.
Attending law school has been in the back of my mind for quite some time. Now that I am a law student, every time I sit down to study I tend to react like someone opening a surprise gift from a loved one. It is a wonderful feeling. It helps me keep track of my goals and how I want to use this education. One of my chief goals is learning to think like a lawyer.
I work in nonprofit management with an international NGO. It’s a good match for me. After years of trying I caught on that I really don’t have a corporate soul, so to speak. But I do have a somewhat corporate way of thinking, meaning I like a methodical way of approaching issues and having a plan. It helps to approach things like a lawyer, to apply this particular structure to my critical thinking process.
Let’s really explore distance learning this week. To my surprise, this is a topic I find myself discussing quite a bit. Every day I find myself in conversations like: “What is distance learning really like? How do we implement it? What kind of results can we expect to see? What kind of measurements are best applied to our particular distance learning program?” I talk about it at work, in social settings, during board meetings and in job interviews. Keep in mind that I do not work in education at all, not even remotely. (No pun intended) Distance Learning is now that important.
Next week I will tell you about how moving and starting a new job drove me to distraction. This week I would like to say a word about how studying law has already helped me quite a bit in personal and professional projects. One reason this course appealed to me is its application to my work managing nonprofit organizations. It helps me to be better informed and be a better advocate. It does that in a few ways from subject knowledge to critical thinking and reasoning skills. That is really wonderful. It is the reason I chose this course. But there is something even better and more satisfying that I didn’t expect. Legal studies made me take notice of a few things in my vocation moonlighting as a novelist.
We are sliding into autumn and registering for another year of study. I am also in week two of a new position and we are moving to a new home. It has been a wonderfully interesting year as being a first year post graduate law student is bound to be. The professional and personal pandemonium certainly added a bit of zest to the excitement of legal studies. The process of shifting house and starting a new position at the same time is a bit hair-raising so you can appreciate why I decided to wait on exams. As the Hermione Granger of law school – the one who looks forward to taking exams – I had to overcome my disappointment at missing them.
One thing true about independent study that is also true for many goals is the natural inclination to ask ourselves if we can really do something. To set a goal, we have to evaluate our ability, our motivation, and our attitude. For me, one important thing about studying in the University of London International Programmes is how responsibility for outcomes is my own. I guess that can be true of other study models, but for me it is magnified in this one. It is one reason why I enjoy the program so much.
Anytime you come home from a holiday and have to immediately use the words plumber and electrician you might feel like closing the door and heading straight back to your summer idyll. Long story, but it comes down to having no light in my office and no functioning sink in the kitchen. I knew when we returned that things were going to get a bit hectic but did not expect the need to wedge home repairs in to my schedule.
My professional office is based at home, thankfully. It gives me a great deal more flexibility that would be difficult to do without, even if I have no lighting and only limited espresso at the moment. And I did a lot of reading and studying along with my ordinary work while enjoying a change of scene. Still, the phrase Exam Registration Will Open On August 25… is right up there with requiring a plumber and an electrician upon opening the door after a few weeks away. That sinking feeling in the stomach is exactly the same. Repairs are underway as I debate the merits of registering for exams in October or waiting until May to sit my first paper.
Cape Cod is such a lovely place. It has been some time since we visited the area and I forgot how beautiful the seashore is here. Several years ago I lived in northern New England and once again, I forgot how much we enjoyed it. I could very easily live here some day. But, on this trip it feels wonderful to visit our old, favorite places and connect with friends. It is also quite nice to pack a picnic basket, pitch an umbrella on the sand, and enjoy a good beach read while sunning myself lobster red. What does all this have to do with studying Postgraduate Laws? Let me share…
I am sleep deprived and loving it, thanks to work, study and enjoying a wonderful Southwestern Pennsylvania summer. It is a bit of a hectic time right now. My professional projects are more demanding than usual, I am interviewing for a new position, and of course summer brings so many fun things to enjoy with friends and family. But I like structure, so I try to make sure that each day is organized to help me reach my goals in every area that is important to me: exercise and being out-of-doors, studying and my professional goals, along with family time, all need to be built into the day.