The Finals Countdown

This is the time of the year when it seems natural to ask myself what I was thinking.  It takes forever to articulate an answer to each practice question.  And I see a million contingencies, and then suddenly I see none at all.  I seriously need a break from electronics and sort of wish I were taking my exams by hand.

But I don’t really wonder what I was thinking.  This was more or less exactly what I was thinking. And remembering that is helpful.

keeping things civil

So much of being a 1L is left to chance: whom you’ll meet, who your professors will be, which classes you’ll have in what order, which class will be your small section.  Yet each of these makes a tremendous impact on future prospects. This semester, all of my doctrinal courses deal with civil law: Torts, Contracts, and Civil Procedure. (Like every other 1L on this continent, I’m also taking Legal Research and Writing. That’s year-long here.)  I’m a self-professed could-fall-in-love-with-anyplace type of student, but this particular combination of courses really does seem to work especially well for me. (She said, having nothing to compare it to.) The vocabulary and subject matter is similar, and there are important and illuminating dovetails and foils along the way. But back to the part about chance:
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Week the Third

I have no fingernails. Most of the time, I’m confused. I don’t even want to think about how much money I’ve already spent on Diet Coke. I’m losing weight even though I spend most of my time sitting. I wake up and immediately want a nap. And I’ve never been happier.

Shaken and Stirred

On Monday, I was struck by the news that Jack Layton – leader of the New Democratic Party, recently elevated to Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition – had died. The next day, an earthquake hit DC – a poor echo of the violence with which the news of Jack’s passing had shaken me.

In March 2003, the Debates Committee planned a formal debate on the possible invasion of Iraq. We invited the brand new leader of the NDP to address the question of whether the Canadian left should support an American foray into that region. Forty-six hours before the debate, the Bush administration set a timeline. The invasion was set to begin just as our little discussion would break up.

I remember that Jack Layton kept his commitment to us, and defended Canada’s decision to stay out of Iraq, even as he had to rush away afterward to speak to the press. And I remember standing in the Bickersteth Room after the debate, a glass of port in my hand, when someone came in to tell us that bombs had started falling in Iraq.

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”
~ Jack’s final letter to Canadians

Staying out of Iraq was a controversial and critical decision for Canada. And Jack took the time to defend it to a hundred university students on the very night that it took effect. It was that sort of engagement with Canadians and commitment to the issues that made Jack succeed as a leader. And as Canada began to take Jack seriously, I began to take myself so. I began to reject caricatures of my ideals – ones that painted me as naive or out of touch. And I also began to realize that there was simply too much work to be done for me to waste time being jaded and afraid.

On Saturday, as we awaited a hurricane, I watched Canada celebrate a man who had devoted his life to service. I watched Canada thank him for his earnest lectures and passionate rallying cries in the name of equality and justice and integrity. And my cheeks were flooded with tears.

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
~Arundhati Roy

Landing

I left a soggy Toronto yesterday afternoon and arrived in a very humid Washington, DC! One cab ride and four bags later, I was in my new home at Georgetown Law.

First, a confirmation: Yes, everyone here feels very young to me. But, unsurprisingly, many of them are also interesting people who came here for reasons similar to my own. I’m going to try my very best not to think about age quite so much, and instead to focus on what matters here. Which is LSAT score.

Though I’m far from settled in, my bedroom in the residence is beginning to feel like home: family photos, gifts from friends, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, my Jeopardy! calendar, and Curious George all make this feel like my very own space. But it has a long way to go.

To that end, today will be all about trying to find my footing here in DC. My room-mate and I are planning to stock up on household supplies (oh, and food!) later this morning, and I’m really hoping to start getting a feel for the neighbourhood. If I can get all my ducks in a row, I’d also like to hit the gym later today. The sooner I get into a routine, the better!

My stomach adds: the sooner I eat something that wasn’t given to me in the residence welcome package, the better! There are lots of little treats in there, but nothing resembling food, per se. Time to go hunting!