LAAllen

A Parliament of OWLs (Older Wiser Learners): Resilience and stress

Hello again, dear reader.  Can we chat?  I think it is time to discuss stress in the law school.  No, I know, stress is all anybody around here is talking about, but I don’t really approve of the hyper caffeinated, gaunt, I’m-so-miserable behavior.  I think the memes are cute, but seriously?  It’s time to pull up your big girl pants (and big boy pants) and stop the drama.  Let’s get a little perspective. School exams are, by an order of magnitude, less stressful than your life will be when you are a lawyer. According to a study published in the…

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LAAllen

A Parliament of OWLs (Older Wiser Learners): How about those Cubs? An election season strategy.

One more week. I pretend that in a week, the election will be finished, and we can come together as a country to re-establish some basic expectations of civility in political discourse.  Let me cling to this naïve notion though, okay? In moving from New England to Virginia, I have learned a thing or two about different sides of a political divide.  Some of what I learned has been a surprise; some bits I already knew, but feel compelled to share in this fecal storm we call modern democracy.  The first thing I learned is that both sides of a…

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LAAllen

A Parliament of OWLs (Older Wiser Learners): The Two-Way Gift of Mentoring

Everybody agrees mentoring is an essential ingredient of success for a new lawyer or for a law student.  Our law school does an excellent job of convincing students of the importance of finding a mentor, and of providing opportunities to connect with practitioners in the legal field who might be a good fit.  The Women’s Law Association sets up mentors for 1L women who want one, we have “lawyer speed dating” night, where alumni have 20 minute meet-and-greet sessions with students. We have a range of opportunities to meet lawyers and judges from a plethora of fields.  We are awash in…

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LAAllen

A Parliament of OWLs (Older Wiser Learners): Don’t make me stop this car!

“Don’t make me stop this car!” What did my mom actually mean with this threat?  Well, let me clear it up for any of you who have never been on the receiving end of it.  She meant that if we didn’t knock off whatever shenanigans were going on in the back seat, she was going to stop the car and intervene.  (Yes, I said shenanigans.  I’m old.  Get off my lawn!)  Mom wasn’t actually abusive, but somehow did a pretty convincing job of threatening it.  Driving the car kept her busy, and stopping it meant she would have her hands…

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LAAllen

A Parliament of OWLs (Older Wiser Learners): How I spent my summer vacation

July following the first year of law school is supposed to be spent in some sort of job or internship, gaining insight into the processes and practices of a student’s future career.  Classmates are checking in on Facebook with selfies taken in courtrooms and corporate team-building activities.  They are immersed in the culture of law, changing how they learn and what they learn, but their experience has a seamless quality.  This summer is part of their law school experience. Once again, I am in a different place than my classmates.  In June, my husband and I went home for a…

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LAAllen

A Parliament of OWLs (Older Wiser Learners): Lessons from my contractors

The first tile installer: “Uh, yeah, hi, this is Dave. We have an appointment for tomorrow, but I have to go out of town for the weekend and need to reschedule. How does a week from Thursday look?” The first cleaner: “Sorry I didn’t get back to you. I lost my phone for like, three days.” The second cleaner: “I’m so sorry I didn’t get there Tuesday. I had a migraine. How is next Wednesday for you?” The first lawn mower: “Looks like, uuuhhhh, two hundred a week to mow the whole place?” (That’s your guess standing in the driveway…

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LAAllen

A Parliament of OWLs (Older Wiser Learners): Prom Season?

May is the run-up to prom season back at the high school where I taught.  Despite being miles away from it, I am again attuned to the drama it brought to the lives of many students.  I have been caught up in a bit of drama myself this year, as the first signs of spring mean job-hunting is in full swing at the law school.  Being an O.W.L. may be giving me a slightly more mature attitude about finding a job than a sixteen-year old has about her prom date, but it isn’t easy! I actually laughed when I learned…

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LAAllen

A Parliament of OWLs (Older Wiser Learners): Suddenly Seymour?

During first semester final exams, I had Nessun Dorma sung by Pavarotti running endlessly through my head.  The epic grandeur of Puccini’s lyrics, repeating “no one’s sleeping,” that deep sonorous repeat of the title line resonated to my stomach.  I was in a monumental mood. For years to come, I will associate this music with that time of my life.  It made me feel that I was engaged in something serious and important and dramatic. This semester, things feel a little different.  I swear, I am not capable of selecting the earworm that follows me at any particular time.  It…

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LAAllen

Parliament of OWLs (Older Wiser Learners): Can we talk about something else for a change?

“At every stage of life, you should be a rookie at something.”  This is a quote from a story on National Public Radio, and it made me laugh.   (This is a link to that story, which I highly recommend.) Mostly, I am laughing a lot these days.  Being a law student is usually a lot of fun.  It is certainly not what I would have been doing had I stayed in my comfort zone.  To summarize the research, my ability to learn new skills – my fluid intelligence - has declined slightly as I have aged, while my crystalized intelligence…

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LAAllen

A Parliament of OWLs (Older Wiser Learners): the Paper Monster

I did not grow up in a family of lawyers.  Aside from a couple of little league coaches and scout dads, I did not know any lawyers before this year.  My husband and I once spent an hour with a nice older gentleman in his mahogany-appointed office, and returned a few weeks later to sign our wills.  That was my only previous experience in a law office. In a law school, it seems as though everybody and his cousin has a JD.  Some of the offices they occupy look much like the one where I signed my will.  Not all…

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