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The beginning of the end of the beginning :)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 30, 2009 in The 1L Life

You don’t have to look very far in the blawgosphere to know it’s final exam time. My first foray into the last exams of my first semester at the N.C. Central School of Law starts in just under 36 hours with Property I.

I’ll try to keep posting regularly throughout finals, but the classmates are studying hard to master the material and I need to do the same so I don’t end up too far down the curve.

To all the fellow 1Ls across the country: remember what things were like during orientation and all the stuff we didn’t know? Now imagine what it’ll be like 2.5 years from now when we’re studying for the bar exam :beatup:

Good luck to all of you! :D

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TDot’s Tips #1: Exercise!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 29, 2009 in TDot's Tips

For those of you who are new readers to law:/dev/null (welcome!! :) ), the “TDot’s Tips” category is basically where I compile snippets of unwarranted and minimally useful advice from my life in case you’re a pre-L looking for suggestions on making it through law school or a #L wondering what works for other #Ls. Your mileage may vary, there are no express or implied warranties as to the effectiveness of the tips herein, caveat emptor, etc etc etc ;)

The draft of this particular post was actually written awhile ago, in anticipation of a day when I’d have nothing to post. Turns out life had other plans — I’m now crutch-stricken courtesy of a “suspected stress fracture to the left tibia.” I’ve been doing physical training to get in shape for the USMC (hoping to go to Officer Candidates School this coming June) and apparently have been running a little too far, a little too hard, a little too soon :beatup:

The upside? It provides an excellent segue into the topic of this entry :D

Studying the law is a tedious process. Mind-numbingly boring in fact. You’re basically growing your mind in two ways at once. First of course you’re learning the law itself… and the requisite exceptions… and the requisite exceptions to those exceptions. Then you’re also learning to be overly-analytical and “think like a lawyer” so you can successfully rob your life of anything even vaguely resembling spontaneity or simplicity as you invariably dicker over terms and conditions.

Even if both of those come naturally or you enjoy them, you’ll still be undergoing an evolutionary process only slightly more exciting than watching your hard drive defragment itself :beatup:

That’s the main reason why exercising in law school is so important. Even if you’re not the exercising type — I had been to the gym a grand total of maybe twice in my last 2-3 years of undergrad — just getting out of the house and going for a walk around the neighborhood will clear and refresh your mind.

Building up to more aggressive activities like running or playing basketball will also help you stay fit and be more energetic during the day. That’s a particular benefit if you’re not a morning type and spend your first class or two of the day in a haze (trust me).

And keeping your body accustomed to physical activity helps ensure you don’t end up breaking something doing too much too soon ;)

So as you’re studying for the LSAT or final exams or anything else coming up at this time of year, make sure to take at least an hour a day to do something non-school-related. You’ll be glad you did :)

Have a great night folks! :D

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Past TDot’s Tips:

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Apologies to Mariel

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 28, 2009 in The 1L Life

In the Friday Drive-by a couple weeks ago I came across Mariel’s post on her occasional law school-related nightmares. Having never had anything of the sort myself, I’ll confess I was amused.

Until now…

Not sure if it’s the L&O:SVU reruns or me learning to be a drug dealer or reading about sketchy people + gunshots at other blogs.

Whatever the origins, I mentally found myself inadvertently involved in a botched drug deal where 3 classmates had been shot by a 4th, yet *I* somehow ended up with the cocaine for the deal in one pocket and the $500 cash to pay for it in the other (even though I was just trying to go to the law library to study for finals).

I woke up amid trying to (i) figure out how to turn everything over to the police without implicating myself, (ii) avoid getting sued by the dealer for conversion of the cocaine, and (iii) determine if the cash was lost, mislaid or abandoned to see if I could keep it :beatup:

Needless to say, it was an experience I prefer not to repeat.

So to Mariel, I just wanted to formally apologize for being amused at the torment you endured at the hands of your law school nightmares. Apparently they’re more common than I realized :crack:

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Friday Drive-by #10

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 27, 2009 in Friday Drive-by

Between the Thanksgiving holiday and final exam prep, I was a little worried there wouldn’t be much to peruse this week. I was wrong :D

  • In law school you have to love the little things. Like blogging :) (Fresh Thought Soup)
  • Maybe it’s just my naïveté, but I always figured it was too @#$%ing cold for this sort of thing to happen in Minnesota (No. 634)
  • To the pre-Ls: you too will find yourself employing this game plan on finals (Write and Wrong)
  • Always protect your BlackBerry (quasi-blaWg)
  • idwsj on why there’s -0- point in trying to go through law school alone (i don’t wear skinny jeans)
  • Sounds like I’ll have some fun stuff to look forward to next year (Reasonably Prudent Law Student)
  • This is why I sit in the back on the perimeter (Law Ingenue)
  • Here’s a Black Friday deal you won’t want to miss… :beatup: ((In)Sanity Soufflé)
  • Speaking of Black Friday, more than a few classmates did this today… at a different type of ABC Store (Courtoons)

I’m off to engage in some thoroughly unproductive gambling at our bi-weekly poker nights. Have a great post-Thanksgiving weekend folks! :D

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Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 26, 2009 in Randomness

Second only to Independence Day, I have to confess Thanksgiving is my other favorite holiday of the year :D

It’s not about the food (though that’s definitely a perk for someone on the “impoverished law student” diet). Thanksgiving is a useful holiday for benchmarking how much things have changed over the years and reminds me how truly fortunate I’ve been.

Today I enjoyed a delicious meal with a half-dozen or so classmates who stayed in town to study for finals, prepping for the end of my first semester in professional school.

1 year ago I was in Virginia Beach visiting my grandparents, still a semester away from finishing my undergraduate degree, but enjoying the insane schedule that came with being a first-term President of the UNC Association of Student Governments and a second-term Student Senate President at N.C. State — highlighted by the Raleigh-to-Elizabeth City-to-Virginia Beach-to-Greenville-to-Raleigh itinerary for the break :)

Myself and QuietStorm back in 2004

Myself and QuietStorm back in 2004

5 years ago I had an equally insane schedule but it wasn’t quite as fun. I was a college dropout working 2 jobs, enjoying a small-but-delicious Thanksgiving meal at the country club apartment I shared with QuietStorm, thankful for having a full-time job after the 2004 election season ended but also relishing the day off before I headed back on Friday to work overtime on some pleadings. It was at that point I decided BigLaw was probably not my cup of tea :beatup:

And 10 years ago I didn’t have much of a Thanksgiving meal at all, with QuietStorm and I sharing some EasyMac and leftover Pokey Stix from Gumby’s while we surreptitiously stayed in my dorm room (despite the residence halls being closed) because I didn’t have the money to travel and she took pity on me wanting to make sure I enjoyed my Thanksgiving (it worked :heart: ).

Some people ask why my ego is so outrageously oversized.  In all candidness I’ve even wondered myself every now and then (ok really just once). Yet when I go back through the old photos and old emails from holidays past, when I reflect on going from a high school scholar to a college dropout, from being homeless to living in a ridiculously swank apartment, from having to work 2 jobs just to make ends meet to studying law full-time while being a student advocate on the side — it’s hard to be humble.

But it’s harder not to be humbled.

For all the experiences, I owe most of it to circumstances and people beyond my control. So with Thanksgiving 2009 winding to a close, here’s a brief (non-exhaustive) list of some of the things I’m thankful for this year:

Can you guess which one is the college degree? :)

Can you guess which one is the college degree?

  • My degree — After I dropped out back in 2000, I thought I’d never graduate from college. By the time I made it to my senior year in Computer Science, I really thought I’d never graduate from college :beatup: But for whatever reason my teachers took pity on me, and the Bachelors of Science degree they gave me this past June is proudly framed and hanging on my wall.
  • The NCCU School of Law — Out of my 3 options for law school, NCCU was really the only one I could afford. It turned out to be an excellent fit, plus I met some pretty awesome people in the process :D
  • Madame Prosecutor — Speaking of those classmates, no one has challenged me quite like this lady. She drives me absolutely bonkers at times but I’ve got no doubt my grades and overall 1L experience have been better because of her.
  • My SG colleagues — This is such a diverse group of people I can’t really single anyone out, but working with these folks has been the highlight of my life for the past 4 years. I appreciate and respect all of you, and look forward to the great things you’ll be doing in the years ahead!
  • Q.T. — One of those aforementioned colleagues, she’s not only helped me get things done in UNCASG but has been a great friend as well. She even helped me study for the CivPro midterm :)
  • 雅雅 — Dealing with me on a daily basis is bad enough in a normal year; it’s even worse when I’m active in 2 separate Student Government groups, interning downtown at the N.C. General Assembly, and trying to graduate in Computer Science. 雅雅 supported me the whole time even when more rational people would have bailed, and some of the best times in my life have been spent with her :)
  • Nan and Pops — I love my family, but my grandparents deserve more recognition than I could ever give them here. They helped raise me, helped me get back on my feet as a dropout, helped me stay in school when I made it back, the list goes on. When I was at N.C. State the 2nd time through I was terrified one of them would pass away before I got my degree, and more so than anyone else on this earth they’re responsible for me graduating and making it to law school.
  • God — I’m not a particularly religious guy, and I’m generally averse to publicly displaying my faith (not sure why, I’ve just been that way my whole life). Even so, I’ve had so many great experiences and been surrounded by so many amazing people that I can’t ascribe it to mere coincidence. I just hope I can live my life in a way that reflects my appreciation for all the blessings I’ve been given.

I’ll end the list there, since this entry is already pretty long ;)

I hope all of you had an amazing Thanksgiving with friends and loved ones! And remember: it gets even better from here :D

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From O to A for life…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 25, 2009 in The 1L Life

Skipping the usual blog entry today folks. I’m currently studying Property with Madame Prosecutor in preparation for final exams that start… wait for it… next Wednesday :eek:

We’ve been going over defeasible estates to the point that my eyes are bleeding.

(ok not really, but I can imagine bleeding eyes feel roughly the same :P )

Have a great day folks! And I’ll hopefully stop slacking on the entries once I’m more comfortable with finals :)

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Tweet-sized Tuesdays #13

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 24, 2009 in Tweet-sized Tuesdays

LRA == done. That is all.

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D

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“Just because everyone else is doing it…”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 23, 2009 in The 1L Life

Peer pressure was never really a problem for me growing up. I think. If it was, I’ve successfully repressed the bad memories ;)

From left: me, the SBP of UNCSA, the SBVP of ECSU, and the SBP of UNCW

From left: me, the SBVP of ECSU, the SBP of UNCSA, and the SBP of UNCW

But now that I’m older, mentioning the word “competition” coupled with a friend’s name is like waving a bloody slab of meat in shark-infested water.

Case in point: deciding to compete with some of my UNCASG folks in a rock wall climbing competition before Saturday’s football game, even though I’d never climbed a rock wall in my life (I came in 4th of 4 :( ).

Law school is no different.

Madame Prosecutor and I are already teaming up for the American Bar Association‘s Client Counseling Competition even though it’s entirely dominated by 2Ls and 3Ls. Then earlier today I got an email announcing that it’s the last day to sign up for a 1L oral argument competition sponsored by Kilpatrick Stockton… and nearly half of my section is already signed up.

So naturally I did the same :beatup:

It looks like it’s part of a larger mock trial competition and the 1Ls are only doing the opening statements, so the volume of work is far less than having to do actual research on securities fraud (my prep topic for the CCC). I’m just wondering if this competitive zeal is going to continue into my legal career, or if I’ll end up getting burned out from it… :)

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Panic time…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 22, 2009 in The 1L Life

The meeting this weekend went superlatively well. Superlatively. All 17 of our 17 institutions were represented. We set a new all-time 38-year record for attendance, beating the previous all-time record… we just finished setting in February. All the legislation that was introduced was adopted unanimously. The committees had a ton of good discussion on important projects we’re taking up over the next couple months. The list goes on.

Even the football game went well, since no matter which side won it would be a team from the UNC system ;)

So I got back to Durham earlier tonight, finished unpacking, looked at the calendar… and now I’m feeling slight pangs of anxiety over the fact exams are coming up next week.

Yes, next week. We’ve got class this Monday and Tuesday, a break for Thanksgiving, and then exam season starts promptly the following Wednesday with Property.  And then CivPro a couple days after that. Then Contracts a couple days after that. Then Torts a couple days after that.

Now I’m not the panicky type. At all. In fact a non-trivial number of my achievements in life have roots in the fact I tend to be patient and act deliberately in high-stress situations.

BUT HOLY @#$% THERE’S A LOT OF MATERIAL TO REMEMBER! :beatup:

None of these classes are particularly hard taken individually, one concept at a time. But pulling together multi-page outlines with multiple rules, corresponding exceptions, and exceptions to the exceptions… even my otherwise-iron will is getting a little shaky.

The upside is that at this point next month I’ll have my feet kicked up in the recliner doing absolutely nothing :)  Here’s hoping I make it…

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“Tendencies”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 21, 2009 in Student Government

Whenever there’s a UNCASG meeting, the wholesale creation of various inside jokes (some funny, others not-so-much) inevitably follows.  ASG may be the best student advocacy groups in the state. It may get a lot of tangible business done that benefits the students of the University. But it also epitomizes the “Play Hard” component of the saying “Work Hard, Play Hard” — and those antics provide a ready supply of material.

Calling “tendencies” seems like it’ll become one of the new ones from this weekend.  It started last night when some of us noticed one of our more-coquettish officers flirting with a few delegates, and a comment was made about her “ho-like tendencies” (said with tongue firmly planted in cheek, as she’s probably the most innocent of my executive team — myself included :angel: ).

The reference would have died as quickly as it was uttered… but for the indignation of the lass in question when she overheard it. So now whenever she does anything that could conceivably be construed as flirting, someone blurts out “tendencies” and a round of laughs ensue.

And after the ASU-WCU football game earlier today, it may get expanded to other uses as well.

UNCASG folks at the ASU-WCU football game in Boone

UNCASG folks at the ASU-WCU football game in Boone

Following an ASU touchdown, their school mascot fires a rifle over the crowd. Shortly into the first quarter they scored, the rifle goes off… and Q.T. + half of our folks duck. Not flinch, not scrunch down a little bit, but completely hit the deck to avoid gunfire. And where were those folks from? Winston-Salem. Durham. Baltimore. Miami. Etc.

Maybe I didn’t react because I saw it coming, but I laughed :beatup: It’s one of those experiences that I can’t adequately capture in words for the blog, but thought I’d share just the same.

Off to the usual post-meeting celebrating :)  Have a great night folks!

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