5

Some quick words of wisdom

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 30, 2010 in Randomness

Get your wisdom teeth taken out while you’re young, folks.

A random point, I concede. And yes I’ve officially degenerated into one of those politico-types who talks about frivolous @#$% like good oral hygiene when I could be talking about taxes or education or world peace1 :beatup:

But after a morning trip to the dentist and a half-dozen x-rays — apparently they’re digital now? — I was told I need to have my wisdom teeth removed, because now at 29 years old they’ve finally hit the point where they’re starting to screw up my other teeth.

I’ve got two problems with this:

  1. Law school means limited gainful employment, making this one of the most cash-poor periods of my life; and,
  2. I’m studying for my Torts final exam tomorrow, which includes analyzing wonderful hypos like Patient Smith going to Dr. Oral Surgeon to get his wisdom teeth taken out, getting put to sleep by Dr. Anesthetist… and then never waking up.2)

Needless to say when it comes to TDot’s Great List of Things To Do While In Law School™, wisdom teeth removal doesn’t rank terribly high. Or rank at all actually.

That’s it for tonight since I’ve gotta get back to studying. Not gonna count this entry as a bona fide TDot’s Tips, but take it from me folks — get rid of those wisdom teeth early! :P

Have a great night everybody :D

  1. How eminently appropriate is this emoticon when it comes to a post on dental health? :beatup: []
  2. Pop quiz: who can you sue, and for what? ; []

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4

T[K]O’d…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 29, 2010 in The 1L Life

Ugh.

Sound familiar? It should :beatup:

I mentioned yesterday that the final exam for Contracts II was this morning at 9:00am. After studying extensively, feeling fairly comfortable with the material, I turned to the first page of the exam this morning…

…and was promptly stumped :(

@#$%

It took me just over an hour to work my way through 30 multiple choice questions, most of which were decided by me narrowing down to what seemed like two equally-plausible answers and just randomly guessing between them.

@#$%^&@ #$!#

I then spent the second hour trying to put together something competent on the essay, my response for which (I learned after consulting Madame Prosecutor post-exam) likely left out several chunks of analysis.

@#$%^&@ #$!# $%^#$% &**!@ #$#% :mad:

There’s at least a chance that the curve will lift me up to passing.  But after my barely-passing performance last semester, followed by my equally barely-passing performance on this semester’s midterms, this makes #3. It certainly looks like an unpleasant trendline…

But the past is in the past, and I’ve got roughly -0- ability to change it now. So I’m taking the night off, then back on the studying grind with Torts tomorrow in preparation for Saturday’s exam. I’ll keep y’all posted on how it goes :)

Good luck to everyone still going through exams!  And have a great night everybody! :D

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2

DTH Editorial Board explains anti-ASG bias

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 28, 2010 in Student Government

Good evening folks! :)

I’m still feeling a bit under the weather, so rather than get a fresh entry y’all are instead getting a copy/paste of a SG-related note I published on Facebook earlier today.

If you’re on Facebook, feel free to check out the original entry here. You should be able to access it even if we’re not Facebook friends… and if in the process you want to friend me, you’re more than welcome to do so ;)

The note appears below in its entirety:

[Note: by default I’m tagging all of my ASG Vice Presidents, committee chairmen and senior leadership, the NCSU SBOs, and a few extra people on the side. If you don’t want to be tagged in future editions of T Greg’s Tomes, just shoot me a Facebook message :) -TGD]

====================
Past Editions of T Greg’s Tomes:

====================

T Greg’s Tomes: DTH Edit Board explains anti-ASG bias, endorses SBP candidate 10 months early

The UNCCH Daily Tar Heel’s Editorial Board has penned ever-more-delusional attacks on the UNC Association of Student Governments this past academic year, for reasons unknown to me. At first I thought it was because I was willing to regularly call out their incompetence (see Exhibit A and Exhibit B and Exhibit C and Exhibit D and Exhibit E and Exhibit F).

But now that my term as President is over, in their second-to-last paper of the semester, they finally explain: they’re upset over their relative lack of influence compared to UNCASG. So after delivering the electoral Kiss of Death for the last 2 years in a row, the DTH is endorsing an SBP candidate 10 months early in an effort to get back into the influence game.

You can read the editorial here.

As a quick prefatory note, it’s common knowledge among nearly everyone in or around the Graham Student Union at UNC Chapel Hill that Rick Ingram is running for Student Body President in February 2011 and Deanna Santoro is managing his campaign. It’s a point so frequently mentioned in conversation after conversation that someone like me — who’s not even a UNCCH student — has known about it for months now.

Their respective political aspirations are why they “leaked” to the Daily Tar Heel that there were alleged issues regarding Dakota Williams’s eligibility for Senior Vice President, when they (mistakenly) thought Williams was ineligible. It’s also why they encouraged the paper to conduct an exposé on my love life when they (mistakenly) thought it would be detrimental to one of Mr. Ingram’s potential opponents.

The fact they’ve been feeding stories to the paper is evident even in this most recent opinion piece. The DTH column claims, for example, that “[o]nly Ingram and Deanna Santoro… voted for the amendment.”

Yet the vote on the amendment, like votes on most amendments in most assemblies, was done by voice vote. In other words, there’s no record of who verbally said “aye” and who said “nay”. This wasn’t a roll call vote, where someone’s name would be tied with their opinion explicitly. This wasn’t even a standing counted vote, where those in the room could at least see who stood and who didn’t.

How then can UNCCH’s purported “newspaper of record” so definitively declare who voted for the amendment? Because they were fed the information by people with an agenda to push, and the DTH ate it up like a buffet.

That agenda was evident in an email Mr. Ingram sent me back on March 4th, where he outlined his plan to try and cut officer stipends and put the money into Campus Innovation Grants to “get some really good press” (you can read his email here). I told him in response that I disagreed with his plan for various reasons, but that he’d have the opportunity to raise his concerns in March when the budget came up for its initial vote. (You can read my response here).

So when the budget came up last month, after it was extensively and thoroughly debated by the Council of Student Body Presidents (see the DTH news coverage), did Mr. Ingram offer his amendment? No. Did he even say anything in debate? No.

In fact, unlike the DTH Editorial Board’s nonexistent “evidence” that Mr. Ingram and Miss Santoro were the only two people to support his shameless political stunt this past weekend, there actually is roll call evidence of Mr. Ingram’s position on the stipends… supporting them.

See the FB36 roll call vote here.

That kind of spineless, vacillating, Kerry-esque “I actually did vote for the $3,000 before I voted against it” style of “leadership” is the exact opposite of what UNC students need in a Student Body President. It’s even more disappointing that two political aspirants would go out of their way to elicit negative media coverage of a group they belong to just to promote their own political careers.

But I guess that’s what separates student politicians from student leaders.

The bigger issue is how totally divorced from reality the Daily Tar Heel’s Editorial Board has become over the past year.

The Editorial Board’s piece begins, for example, with the farcical assertion that “[t]he Association of Student Governments has yet again failed to demonstrate that it is dedicated to reform that would produce tangible benefits for students.” The Board has apparently missed the reforms that have already taken place — ASG’s reorganization, accountability measures, the transparent budget, among others — along with the “tangible benefits” that have come with it, including among others the $50+ per student in reduced tuition/fee rates compared to their $1 investment as a result of UNCASG’s work on the state budget, a near-complete revamp of the student health insurance program beginning this Fall, and the creation of the very Campus Innovation Grant program this same DTH editorial lauds.

A cursory review of the adjournment resolutions from the past 2 years (see last year’s resolution and this year’s resolution) shows a fairly extensive list of what’s been achieved with the “vision of reform” that my running mates and I brought to UNCASG when we took office.

But you don’t even have to look at the Association’s documents to know what it has achieved — you can just stick to reading the Daily Tar Heel’s own news coverage. The Editorial Board’s laughably ridiculous Tuesday editorial was bookended by a Friday news piece highlighting the record participation during my tenure, while a news piece on Wednesday noted the aggressive student lobbying of the General Assembly to repeal its 8% student tax.

So if the state’s key decisionmakers in higher education (the Board of Governors and the General Assembly) know UNCASG has completely turned around, other Student Governments in the University system know UNCASG has completely turned around, and the Daily Tar Heel’s own news staff know UNCASG has completely turned around, how on Earth could the Editorial Board be so willfully clueless?

The answer is: they’re not. They just have an agenda to promote, factual accuracy be damned.

Here’s hoping their choice to discard journalistic integrity in the name of attaining some level of influence on the UNCCH campus doesn’t prove to be a pyrrhic bargain.

[Edit @ 04/29/10 12:35am: I spoke with Miss Santoro at length by phone following publication of this note. While I told her I would not edit any of the original note contents, I did agree to put this disclaimer at the bottom. She assured me during our phone call that she was not involved in any way with Mr. Ingram’s SBP campaign, and also assured me that she had no personal involvement feeding information to the DTH. I have no reason to doubt her credibility and I take her at her word. -TGD]

Contracts exam in the morning, I’ll let y’all know how it goes. Have a great night everybody! :)

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Pause

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 27, 2010 in The 1L Life

Sorry folks, no entry for tonight.  The lack of sleep and less-than-stellar eating habits of exam time caught up to me yesterday. Body is currently engaged in all out warfare against a particularly vicious breed of germ of some kind.

This seems to be a recurring theme around law exams — at some point you’d think I’d learn my lesson… :beatup:

But speaking of exams, think I survived Property II this morning at least ::high fives all around:: Usually do poorly on the multiples but bang out the essay; this time it seemed flip-flopped. Will find out in a month or so.

Have a good night, and hopefully I’ll be in a more chipper mood mañana :)

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1

TDot’s Treats #3: Nan’s Peanut Blossoms

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 26, 2010 in TDot's Treats

With the requisite “no offense intended” disclaimer to the ladies who happen to read law:/dev/null, my (limited) experience with female drivers suggests to me that they tend to look at traffic laws more like traffic suggestions.

Co-Counsel nearly gave me a heart attack back in January. Q.T. seems to have a new citation of some kind or another every time we talk. Even 雅雅, the safest of the bunch, was once on the telephone with me while driving… a fact I didn’t know, until I hear “OH MY GOD I JUST RAN THROUGH A STOP SIGN!” on the other end :beatup:

So you can imagine my shock (shock!) when I was talking with the Pickle Princess early today and find out that she happened to get a speeding ticket1… on the very day she has an attorney in a different county taking care of another speeding ticket on her behalf.

You may commence head-shaking at any time ;)

Since she’ll be needing another attorney sooner than I’ll have my law license, I promised I’d put up my family recipe for a special brand of cookies in the hope she might be able to offer them as compensation. It also gave me an excuse to stop studying for tomorrow’s Property exam :angel:

Hope y’all enjoy :D

—===—

TDot’s Treats #3: Nan’s Peanut Blossoms
Difficulty: 4 of 5 (kinda tough)

One of my absolute favorite family traditions growing up was having the entire family gather at Nan’s each Christmas Eve for dinner and other festivities. Pretty much everyone in my family fights with everyone else all the time — imagine locking some Tea Party folks in a room with Obama-ites, the Goracle, and a handful of illegal immigrants — but the fact Nan would bake almost a dozen different types of cookies more than made up for it ;)

This recipe is my personal favorite, and continues to be my favorite cookie to this day.

***

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of shortening
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 unbeaten egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • A small bowl of sugar on the side (for coating)
  • A bag of Hershey Kisses

***

Culinary Notes:
Any recipe that calls for more than 1 cup of flour calls for a mess. Make sure you’re comfortable with having to do some kitchen clean-up when it’s all over :)

***

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375º F.

Tonight's finished product. Had to eat 1 already...

In a glass or ceramic mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter and the shortening.  Gradually add in the sugar and the brown sugar, creaming all of that well.  Then add in the egg and the vanilla and beat/cream well.

By the time this first phase is done, you should have a light brown, not-quite-gooey-looking lump of not-quite-dough.

Next you’ll want to gradually blend in your remaining dry ingredients (the flour, baking soda and salt) and mix well.  By the time you get about 1 cup of the flour into it, the dough will probably be too thick to mix with egg beaters or a wooden spoon so I’d recommend just using your hands to mix in the rest.

After everything is very thoroughly mixed, it should be a uniform color throughout.  It should also be dry enough that the dough will crumble around the edges of the lump in the bowl, but still moist enough that if you mush it together in your hands and shape it into a ball it’ll hold its shape.

As you can probably guess, that’s what you’re going to do next :D

Take a chunk of the dough and roll it into a ball in your hands, so it’s roughly 1″ in diameter.  Take the ball and roll it around in the bowl of sugar on the side so there’s a light sugar coating all around it.  Then place on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies at 375º for 10 minutes.  While the cookies are baking, unwrap 1 Hershey Kiss for each cookie you’ve got on the sheet.

At the 10 minute mark, take your cookies out of the oven and firmly push a Kiss into the middle of each cookie. The cookie dough ball should crack around the edges.

Put your cookies back in the oven to cook another 2-5 minutes, or until golden brown.

Once they’re done, remove them from the oven and let cool on a cookie rack.  Clean up the mess in the kitchen and then reward yourself with one of your new sweet treats :D

***

Total Preparation Time: ~30 minutes
Total Cooking Time: ~30 minutes

Serving Size: ~24 cookies

Recommended Side Items: n/a

—===—

Have fun y’all :) And have a great night! :D

Past TDot’s Treats entries:

  1. In contrast to my somewhat more leisurely driving preferences ;) []

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2

In the home stretch…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 25, 2010 in The 1L Life

Final exams at NCCU Law started back on Saturday with Criminal Law I @ 9am. Most of my 1L colleagues seem to agree that it was a fairly easy exam since it was/is essentially an introductory course, compared to us being in the 2nd semester of all our other subjects.

So it’s fair to say the real home stretch for the semester starts this coming week. Day off tomorrow to study, Property II @ 9am Tuesday, day off, Contracts II @ 9am Thursday, day off, Torts II @ 2pm Saturday, day off, then Civil Procedure II @ 9am the following Monday.

Don’t know if I’ll be able to keep the blog updated because I’m working hard to try and have a 3.0 by the end of the year — so at least 2 of my 3 New Year’s resolutions will happen — but I’ll do my best to keep y’all posted throughout the week :)

GOOD LUCK to everyone out there with exams this week and next! I’ve got faith all of you are gonna do amazing :D

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A brief note of thanks

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 25, 2010 in Student Government

My apologies in advance to the regular readers here at law:/dev/null — most of you were never given the context behind tonight’s entry, and those of you who were in all likelihood won’t care :beatup: This particular post is dedicated to a (relatively) small group of people, the overwhelming majority of whom don’t even know this blog exists.

But this is one of those occasions where something needed to be said…

I don’t believe I’ve ever written a post on this blog while intoxicated. And I probably shouldn’t even admit that I drink on this site since I have -0- doubt that prospective employers have checked out this section of internet real estate on more than one occasion. But the glories of in-browser spellcheck (thank you Apple and its Safari development team!) have enabled me to exercise questionable judgment free of any technical obstacles ;)

It’s about 4am on Sunday morning, and for the past 5 hours I have had the incredible privilege and honor of being in the presence of (and yes, drinking with) about 30 of my closest friends — including quasi-adopted family — as we all celebrated my last meeting as President of the UNC Association of Student Governments, followed by our annual end-of-year awards banquet that was executed at the highest level of perfection.

And the success and smoothness of the meeting coupled with the banquet coupled with having these folks over tonight has truly meant an incredible amount to me :spin:

For better or worse, I’m actually a fairly stoic guy.1 It’s partly a bi-product of my upbringing, but it’s mostly the result of my chosen extracurricular vocation — being in charge means having to make tough decisions, having to make tough decisions usually means hurting people’s feelings, and hurting people’s feelings usually requires maintaining one’s composure in order to make a decision that’s in the best interests of everybody even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.

So as a result of that well-cultivated stoicism, I rarely convey to the people around me how deeply appreciative and moved I am by their presence in my life. And when I do, frankly no one believes me :beatup: But I tell you folks — and this is one of those #truestory moments — I can’t fully articulate in words how grateful I am for all of you.

I’ve served on behalf of students in some capacity or another every year that I’ve been in college. I began my freshman year as a Student Senator, and I was absolutely abominable at it — I was arrogant, disrespectful, thought I had all the answers, the list goes on.  I actually ran for Student Senate President and got obliterated, coming in 3rd place out of 3 candidates.  I spent the next year in the campus equivalent of political exile, fought my way back into the Senate a year later… just to drop out of college entirely.

As utterly ridiculous as I’m sure it sounds, it ate away at me during the 5 years I was a college dropout to know I had ended on such a low note. I had been rejected by 26,000+ students because of my own arrogance, thought I had recognized the error of my ways and worked to improve, only to then get put out of school entirely.  So I fought my way back into N.C. State in August 2005, and I’d be lying to you if I said the thought of getting back into SG didn’t cross my mind all the way back then.

To make a very, very, very long story short, I thought God had other plans for me. I resumed writing an editorial column for the student newspaper, the Technician. I supported a friend of mine for the Student Senate Presidency. I ran for 1 of 3 Student Senate seats for seniors in the College of Engineering, and came in 4th out of 4 candidates — losing to a guy who didn’t even campaign.2 And I had resigned myself to the fact that at best I would be, as the Technician once quoted me, “the old guy in the back of the room who knew all the rules” and spent his time helping the other folks do their jobs.

Fast forward 3 years. I was elected by the campus of N.C. State to serve as Student Senate President — winning the position I had sought almost 10 years earlier — largely by virtue of the fact my opponent had questionable fashion sense. I was elected to a 2nd term as Senate President the following Spring, then a few weeks later elected President of UNCASG by a 1-vote tie-breaker cast by the presiding officer following a marathon 3+ hour political debate.

And as much as I’d like to pretend I had something to do with that latter victory, the truth of the matter is the Pickle Princess (my running mate) was a far more capable+likeable leader than I, and managed to pull votes from the campuses who didn’t like me at all :beatup:

I was privileged to serve a 2nd term — a rarity among Presidents — and over these 2 years have been blessed to take part in major efforts to refocus the organization, proactively address the costs of higher education, and serve the students of the University by tackling the issues that impact them most.

That all came to a close tonight when my successor and his own vice president were sworn in, both of whom have a lot of work ahead — but who I truly believe are the most capable people for their positions. Despite my official role as ASG President wrapping up, it’s still truly humbling to have been an out-of-state native, political washout, former college dropout, slightly-older-guy-with-slightly-thinnning-hair, and still be asked to work as a student leader with many of the finest such leaders the State of North Carolina has ever produced.

Anyhow, I know this entry is hitting the rambling side (word count in WordPress says I’m pushing 1,000 words), but I just wanted to say *THANK YOU* to each and every one of you with whom I’ve had the honor of serving in the N.C. State University Student Senate3 or in the UNC Association of Student Governments. I know I don’t say it enough, and I know when I say it you probably don’t believe me, but it has been the highest honor of my life to consider you my colleagues and friends. Your work has made an incredible and tangible difference to higher education and the students of the University of North Carolina, and I thank God every day for having the amazing opportunity to be a part of that and to serve alongside you.

Thank you for an incredible journey these past 4 years :) Your support and presence tonight has been incredibly humbling and deeply appreciated. I truly do love you all and look forward to serving with you (albeit in other capacities) for many more years to come.

Thank you all so much,
-T Greg Doucette

  1. Though you’d be forgiven if you couldn’t tell amid all the emoticons I throw into these entries ;) []
  2. Even though he later became one of the few people in my life who I would call if I were ever faced with imminent death and needed help :beatup: []
  3. The single most distinguished student deliberative assembly ever conceived in the State of North Carolina :) []

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If Nan approves, it must be good

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 23, 2010 in Student Government

Good evening everybody! :D

Unfortunately I don’t have time to put together a real entry tonight — CrimLaw exam is at 9am tomorrow morning, followed by a UNCASG meeting that will last the rest of the day, before a brief break to change into a tuxedo then head to our end-of-year banquet. Basically I’m in a mix of studying law and panicking to make sure everything goes off perfectly smooth tomorrow afternoon+night and basically looking like :crack:  until it’s over.

Nan's $.02 on the media :)

So given my lack of original content, I figured I’d leave y’all with some light reading.  The UNCCH Daily Tar Heel ran a surprisingly complimentary story on my upcoming retirement as President.  How surprising was it, you may ask?

It was so surprising that my grandmother even offered some commentary on my Facebook profile.

It must be good if even Nan approves — especially because she hates the fact I spend so much of my time in Student Government stuff when I could be focusing on my grades and making $$ :beatup:

But it means she read this article, and since she knows about some of the other ones she must have read those too, which makes me happy that she cares what I’m doing even if she doesn’t approve of it :)

Speaking of the article, here’s a quick chart I put together of everywhere I’ve been over the last 2 years.  115+ trips, comes out to around 5ish campus a month, every month, for 24 months straight :surprised:

Taking Dr. Seuss's "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" literally :D

Have a good night y’all! And if you’ve got any spare prayers to offer up, send some of them my way for this CrimLaw exam! :)

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4

Illiteracy FTL

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 22, 2010 in Fail

A tidbit of advice:  read directions closely :beatup:

Several of my 1L classmates at the N.C. Central University School of Law knew I had been having an absolute dog of a time writing our semester-ending memorandum in Legal Research & Persuasion.  Essentially, all of the miscellaneous assignments we worked on throughout the semester got synthesized into a legal memo to a fictitious court, supporting a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a fictitious lawsuit.

We got the assignment about a month ago, and when I read through the instructions I could have sworn they said the memo had to be single-spaced. So I worked on a single-spaced memo over the ensuing weeks.

I ended up hitting a wall after 4.5 pages. With the case law we were required to use, I just couldn’t figure out what else to add without being needlessly loquacious and redundant. But that was actually fine with me: those same instructions said there was no page minimum (the page max was 10) so 4.5 should have been fine.

Then I talked with some of my colleagues who had met with Professor LRP, who apparently told each of them they wouldn’t be able to thoroughly discuss all points of law without using nearly all 10 pages. I had no clue what I was missing… so I spent the past few days staring at this memo at every opportunity, adding a paragraph here, a new argument there, some additional authority I found somewhere else, etc.

Finally, around 4am or so this morning,1 I got to 10 pages. I print out the memo, read through it, ensure all the BlueBook citations are accurate, staple it, then go print out the grade checklist we have to turn in with the memo…

…which I notice very clearly says only subheadings are to be single-spaced :cry:

I figure I’m hallucinating.  “It’s 4am, I’m cracked out on caffeine. There’s no @#$%ing way this is supposed to be double-spaced.” So I go back to the instructions… and sure enough they say the same thing as the checklist.  Where I had paused at 4.5 pages — which would have been around 9 double-spaced and could have been turned in on time — I ended up with a 19-page memo that I had to somehow pare back to the 10-page max.

Long story short, I finally turned in a less-than-stellar memo around 7am this morning at the price of not sleeping at all for the past couple days. All because I misread directions a couple weeks ago.

Just thought I’d share in case any of you can learn a lesson from my illiteracy :beatup: Have a great night everybody! :)

  1. Downing an entire 12pack of Diet Mountain Dew and various other sugary substances in the process to stay awake — trust me when I say that is a certifiably Bad Idea :sick: []

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2

The first last day…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Apr 21, 2010 in The 1L Life

Today was the official last day of classes for the Legal Eagles at NCCU Law :D

::high fives to the 1Ls::

So it’s the first last day of classes of my law school career. Now there’s a brief 2-day reprieve for “reading days,” then CrimLaw exam at 9am this Saturday.

GOOD LUCK to everyone out there with exams coming up! :)

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