Friday, August 16, 2013

Midterm na naman!

May isang dahilan kung bakit karamihan sa mga kakilala ko ang nkakalimot sa bday ko, yun ay dahil sa midterm! Sobrang busy ng lahat para makapag-review at wala ng ibang nasa isip nila kundi ang ipasa ang lahat ng exams -- aba! lalo naman sa Law School! kaya kung nakalimutan man ng mga kumpanyero ko sa PUP College of Law ang birthday ko, don't worry! naiintindihan ko kayo :)

Bsta isa lang ang gsto ko, sana maipasa nyo ang lahat ng exams nyo.
Yun lang masaya na ko ^^

Good luck sa lahat ng magsusunog ng kilay ! AJA !

(c) William Abarca

Thursday, August 8, 2013

10 Steps to Understanding the Law Student in Your Life

Law students are something of a different species. Though NYU Law students are a diverse bunch in many ways, there are traits and common understandings we come to share as we go through this journey together. As they say, above all, law school teaches students how to think like lawyers. It all develops very naturally, gradually, almost insidiously.

Then, the inevitable occurs: that moment when you realize that one of your loved ones on the outside just doesn’t get it.

You know the moment.

Maybe it was when your friend from college came into town for the weekend, clearly assuming you could go three days without doing a lick of work whatsoever.

Or when your significant other’s eyes glazed over when you discussed the fascinating world of the non-delegation doctrine.

Or when that family member *shudder* asked you for legal advice.

Recently, I wondered: if I could have given my loved ones a little pamphlet called “Knowing Your Law Student” before I began my 1L year, what would it have said?

The following aspires to be just such a primer, for anyone who has a law student in their life who they love enough to understand better. Students, feel free to send a link to this post to your loved ones (or print this page and mail it to those less tech-savvy loved ones).

1. Some things are going to be a lot different. You may not be able to watch “Law and Order” or “My Cousin Vinnie” again without your law student pointing out the inaccuracies, almost as a reflex. Legalese will find its way into your dinner conversations. You may gently mock your law student for this.

But if it's something this egregious, mock away.

2. Take an interest in your law student’s life. At some point, your law student will enthusiastically tell you about something interesting she’s learned. Do not panic – it’s okay if you don’t understand! Law school is remarkably good at putting a bubble around students that convinces them that everyone must understand what they’re talking about. If you aren’t clear on what she’s talking about, just ask – she won’t mind. If you really want to bone up on the subject, by all means – but it’s certainly not required.

There's no need to be the awkward penguin.

3. But don’t overdo talking shop. As much as they enjoy talking about all things legal, law students love talking about everything else, too. It reminds us that there’s still a whole other world outside law school, and that can be incredibly refreshing. Your law student has other law students to talk about that stuff with, anyway.

It's a whole new world out there.

4. When the law student in your life says she’s busy, over and over again…she probably is. Be understanding – law school is time-consuming. It’s just the nature of the beast. Voice your needs when appropriate – and, if possible, not during final exams time. Which leads us to…

5. During finals time, be understanding. There may be a drop in your law student’s ability to tend to the non-law school parts of his life. Be supportive. Should any conflict arise during this time, address it in a calm manner at an appropriate time. During final exams, your law student may feel he’s under a lot of pressure. Much more could be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Well...kind of like that, I guess.

6. During final exam season, you may want to find yourself a hobby. You may hear from your law student less around this time of year. It isn’t that she doesn’t miss you or wouldn’t love to hear from you – she’s just really busy and probably stressed out. If she doesn’t return your calls/IMs/texts/carrier pigeons, don’t panic. Let her connect with you on her own time. (And if you do actually pick up a hobby, introduce it to your law student when finals are over!)

"I don't think we should continue the hike - this could be a legally sufficient warning."

7. But do not forget about your law student! Any little gesture, like making him cookies, sending an uplifting email, or even just giving a big hug will absolutely make his day. Guaranteed. I mean, your law student will have been sitting in the library for hours on end among casebooks – it’s a sure thing.

We're talking this level of satisfaction.

8. When finals are over, they’re over. Not all law students love to post-mortem exams. Probing beyond “how did it go?” may not be a good idea. Quite likely, your law student wants to leave that experience behind – what’s done is done, and it’s time to celebrate (and/or sleep).

Approximately how your law student feels by the end of final exams.

9. Law school can be stressful – but you can help. It may not be The Paper Chase, but it’s not Sesame Street, either. Your law student may feel disillusioned about something that sounds trivial to you. You may feel helpless to comfort them – but actually, it’s quite the opposite. You have the power to ground your law student in reality, and remind them of the bigger picture.

10. Don’t ask your law student for legal advice. Please don’t do this. Your law student can face very serious, even career-threatening consequences for giving legal advice, and she knows it. She may really want to help you, but please don’t pressure her into making that kind of choice.

Having a law student in your life can be a challenging experience, but a rewarding one. Hopefully this little post will promote more of the latter. Special thanks to the many law students who provided me with their words of wisdom!

This post was originally posted last August 16, 2011 here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

People You Meet During Exams: The Freak Out

Originally posted last May 10, 2005 here.

One of the most entertaining exam creatures is the Freak Out. This is the person who wilts under the pressure of exams until they have a memorable and embarrassing public breakdown. The Freak Out is expected during the first semester of the first year. Nobody can really fault an emotionally frazzled student embarking on their first set of law school exams to lose it. Usually, this person will either adapt or drop out. But a small number of first semester Freak Outs continue to freak out each subsequent exam session. Their predictable histrionics garner little sympathy past the first semsester. Rather, they provide a much needed comic relief and confidence boost to their more emotionally stable classmates.

The typical freak out comes in two forms: The first is the Preemptive Freak Out. This occurs before they have even started studying. It most often happens between the last day of class an the first exam. This person realizes the amount of work that lies ahead and loses it. This type of freak out is unexpected, but not nearly as entertaining as the other type: The Slow Build. The Slow Build, as the name suggests, slowly wears down as exams wear on. The pressure mounts and they become more frazzled. A percieved poor performance on one exam will increase the pressure on them. So will the complete inability to understand an important concept from one of their classes. You can usually see the warning signs: Mood swings, irritability, unsafe caffine consumption. They will do something ridiculous like spend 40 straight hours at the library. Bags will form under their eyes. They will wear the same clothes for days at a time. Their behavior seems a bit off. Then, all of the sudden, when confiding in a friend, they snap: The tears flow, their voice echos through the library. During the first semester, people will fell sorry for her. After that, they will laugh at her.

Considering the pressure involved in law school exams, one would think that the freak out would be more frequent. The hidden freak-out are aplenty but they prefer to go by the identity: The Functioning Alcoholic.

People You Meet During Exams: Smugman

Originally posted last May 06, 2005 here.

It's no surprise that egos abound at law school. However, after a semester of one-upmanship and socratic questioning, every broad-shouldered, bright-eyed Biff Loman shrivels down to his disappointed, self-doubting father, Willy.

One law student, however, manages to "suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" with ease. That law student is Smugman (pronounced briskly as Smug-Mun.)

Smugman saunters through the halls with his chin up and his chest out, never obsessing about minute points of law or his standing amongst his peers. His self-confidence is a carnival mirror for further excaberating the anxiety of his peers.

While I cheer the fact that there is at least one emotionally well balanced person in law school, I can't help wonder if he was always this way.

Smugman at Age 2: Don't get too used to all that wiping, Mom. I plan on being consistent with the potty within a month.

Smugman at Age 6: Let's not waste your valuable time, Nurse Weathers. I can read the bottom line of this optometry test. K, 5, E, M, P.

Smugman at Age 13: Realistically, this Bar Mitzvah is just a formality. When I walked through the doors of this temple, I was already a man.

Smugman at Age 16: Parallel parking? Hell, I could even do it perpendicularly if it was allowed.

Smugman at Age 18: Be Gentle? Don't worry, my dear. After all, I didn't bring this "French Tickler" as a gag.

Monday, August 5, 2013

People You Meet During Exams: The Braggart

Originally posted last May 02, 2005 here.

The polar opposite of The Possum is The Braggart. Obviously, this is the person (usually a guy) who has the unyielding desire to inform everybody of his extensive exam preperations. The Braggart is painfully ignorant of any sort of efficiency theory, choosing to substitute quantity over quality when it comes to studying. Nothing vexes the Braggart more than those who choose to spend even one waking moment during exam time on anything other than studying. Unless, of course, they are bragging.

One of the most entertaining interactions you can witness is the meeting of two Braggarts on the way to the library restroom or in the computer lab. Similar to a meeting between two Bull Moose, they will figuratively butt heads in a struggle for bragging supremicy.

Braggart A: "I'm exhausted, I've been here for eight hours."

Braggart B: "Really? I've been here for ten and I'm just getting started."

Braggart A: "Well, I just finished my Tax outline. It's 60 pages long."

Braggart B: "60? Is that all? Mine is 75, and I finished a week ago. But I'm sure you'll still pass."

Braggart B has won. He is the new Alpha of the bragging nerds. Braggart A must retreat back to his cubicle to see if he can lengthen that tax outline at all.

The Braggart seethes when he finds out that someone is doing well in law school by merely using their notes and a commercial outline. "Judas," he mutters to himself as he pulls himself onto his cross of self sacrifice. Hey, Braggart, its a simple cost/benefit analysis (and don't forget who got the 30 pieces of silver at the end of the day).

People You Meet During Exams: The Possum

Originally posted last April 29, 2005 here.

Exam time brings out a whole new set of law school characters. They lie dormant all semester, until the stress of having their future ride on the results of a few tests brings these creatures out into the open. One such creature is The Possum. The Possum is the person, often a girl, who will jokingly talk about how badly they are going to fail. The Possum will compliment your knowledge of the material while deriding her own. One of the favorite jokes of The Possum is to say, "Sit next to me, so I can copy off you!"

For someone so sure that she is about to fail, she is in surprisingly good spirits, isn't she? Is she drugged? Did she have a self-actualization on the last day of class and realize that she isn't meant to be in law school, and is just finishing out the semester for good measure? Is she just happliy content with being below average? Of course not. As you can gather from the name, The Possum is just playing dead.

In reality, she is fully confident in her ability to succeed on her exams. Her "playing dumb" is just a smokescreen to hide the many hours she spends perfecting her outlines and memorizing the UCC. Of course, the following semester, when she learns that she got a 3.7, she acts genuinely surprised, as if it were some fluke.

At the end of the day, I like to have The Possum around. She is sort of like a stripper: She makes you feel better about yourself, even though you know she is lying.
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