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It’s October already?? O_o

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 10, 2011 in The 3L Life

Remember when I wrote that I enjoyed being in over my head?

I’ve changed my mind :beatup:

It’s safe to say the semester is going by entirely too d*mn fast when we were more than week into the month before I finally realized it was October.1 Midterms are this week for the 1Ls and 2Ls, and a string of papers are due for me. I’m ready for this month to be over and we just fast-forward to Thanksgiving so I can breathe for a few days…

  • The big news story from the past couple weeks has been the death of Steve Jobs last Wednesday from pancreatic cancer :( The good folks over at MacRumors have this comprehensive entry of news and reflections. I found out via a Drudge Report app alert (on my long-sought iPhone) in the middle of a reception I was attending, followed by a flurry of text messages from QuietStorm, 雅雅, and several classmates asking how I was dealing with the news.2 Steve’s been my role model for over a decade, and the combination of his own talents and his gathering other talented people around him at Apple has definitely enriched my life (and helped me get assignments done on time). Though a good many of us suspected he didn’t have much longer following his resignation as Apple CEO last month, the news still sucks. My heart goes out to his wife and kids :heart:
  • On a less depressing note, Wednesday was a whirlwind day in general — starting with me dropping off Samson for his last round of heartworm shots! :D He had to stay overnight at the Durham APS for two separate injections, but after another few weeks of activity restrictions he should be heartworm free and able to resume life as an active dog! :spin:
  • After dropping off Samson and heading to class, I then drove down to my alma mater for a videotaped interview with staff from N.C. State Libraries. A couple years ago they created a page in their “Historical State” archive chronicling former Student Body Presidents… and at some point expanded it to this Student Leaders page where they’re including folks like me too :surprised:  So they had about two-dozen questions on stuff that happened in Student Government when I was around back in 2006-2009, covering stuff like my role as a Senator when I wrote or sponsored 49 different pieces of legislation, the extensive drama surrounding the Spring 2007 SSP election,3 my first term as Senate President when I had a less-than-cooperative relationship with the Executive Branch, and so on. Makes me glad I did a decent job as SSP, otherwise my incompetence would be enshrined for all eternity :beatup:
  • Right after the NCSU interview I went out west to a reception for incoming UNC-system President Tom Ross, held at the Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering shared by UNC Greensboro and NC A&T State. I’d been to receptions before back when I was UNCASG President; I expected a sit-down dinner thing where you make small talk with 6-7 other education-oriented folks seated at your table, eat, and exchange pleasantries before departing. This was apparently more of a “make friends and influence people”-type thing, because the place was swarming with politicos, judges, fundraisers, and other people famous by NC standards, with no fewer than 4 different “liquor stations” where attendees could imbibe a variety of beverages.4 In general I’m not a particularly huge fan of these types of big, unstructured social events — see, e.g., my abject terror/awkwardness during the “mixer” at 1L Orientation two years ago — but I appreciated the opportunity to catch up with some folks I hadn’t seen since my term on the Board ended :D
  • Plus I got to meet Governor Easley!5 I saw him while talking to someone about the state budget and the budget cuts going on across the UNC system, and finally worked up the nerve to say hello. I tell him I’m a 3L at NCCU Law and the current SBA President… and he starts motioning other people over to come meet me instead :crack:  It easily ranks among the most surreal experiences of my life
  • My lapel pin collection, now with pins from all 17 UNC institutions! (the top 3 rows)

    …and when the event was winding down, on the shuttle back to the parking lot I had the serendipitous opportunity to meet Dr. J. Todd Roberts, the new Chancellor of the N.C. School of Science & Mathematics (North Carolina’s residential high school for high-achieving students). :D I noticed the NCSSM lapel pin on his jacket when his wife asked if  I had enjoyed the event. I replied that I had, then asked if he was “the new guy” running NCSSM.6 We exchanged introductions, and I somewhat-imperiously asked if they sold NCSSM lapel pins anywhere; it was the only institution still missing from my collection, where I had gathered lapel pins from all 16 other UNC institutions. He told me they didn’t, and he really needed his for President Ross’s inauguration the following day… but he offered it to me anyway! I basically pledged my undying loyalty to NCSSM right there on the shuttle, and sent the school a $50 donation when I got back to Durham — right after filling the one remaining gap in my collection :spin:

  • I wish I could say academics were going quite as well :( I’m currently sitting on a legitimate, bona fide “F” in Tax right now. Right alongside another “F” in Appellate Advocacy I. Fortunately both courses still have 80%+ of the grade still remaining to be earned, but the current standings highlight that I’m in deep sh*t academically. I’ve been trying to pare back my extracurricular activities to focus more on the papers and other miscellaneous stuff we have to do. It’s a deep hole to climb out, and will be taking me awhile to get there…7
  • To highlight how bad things are going, I was walking through the law clinic earlier today when Prof Tax herself called my name — in that “Go straight to the Principal’s Office young man” tone of voice that I think all teachers, from K-12 to college, have innately mastered — to make known she wasn’t happy with my sub-standard performance in her class. I pleaded my case but at the end of the day I’ve just been doing too much non-academic stuff. I promised I’d be in class on time tomorrow and work to catch up.
  • (On a somewhat-related note, I really dislike paper-based classes :mad: My colleagues gravitate toward them because it’s easier to get an A on a paper you can pour hours of time into — but I just can’t seem to find the time. I miss going through a couple weeks of hell studying for exams, having a test, and being done. Having four different classes with various papers due at various points over the semester currently qualifies as the most grating experience of my law school career…)
  • Even so, I’m still trying to write a brief to apply for our Moot Court Board8 :beatup:

There’s more stuff to write about, but I think I’ll cap it for this particular entry because I really need to get back to reading for class.

I hope all of you had a great Monday, and have a great week! (and a great October! ;) )

  1. And the only reason I noticed was because the 1Ls were panicking about midterms. []
  2. And yes, I’ll confess I cried a little when I got home :beatup: []
  3. For more details see Technician’s SSP Timeline 1 and SSP Timeline 2, along with the FIRE Act. []
  4. I stuck with the lemonade since I was driving :) []
  5. And yes, I was/am still excited even if he was/is our first governor to plead to a felony — he’s still a graduate of NCCU Law, the namesake for our 2L Opening Statement competition, and was both a superlative District Attorney and the twice-elected Governor of the 10th most-populous state in the nation. Bill Clinton was the first President impeached since Nixon, but I’d still be honored to shake the guy’s hand :P []
  6. When I was UNCASG President I had worked with NCSSM’s former Chancellor Gerald Boarman, who left to work in Maryland soon after my term ended. []
  7. Note to 1Ls/2Ls: DON’T REPEAT MY MISTAKES. #kkthxu []
  8. Just trying to see if I’m competent enough to do appellate work, that’s all! :angel: []

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The Greensboro Sit-ins: 50 years later

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 1, 2010 in Randomness

Today marks the start of Black History Month here in the United States, but more importantly it also marks the 50th anniversary of the Greensboro Sit-ins — a movement that began when four freshmen at the Agricultural & Technical College of North Carolina (now N.C. A&T State University) decided to demand service at a segregated F.W. Woolworth’s lunch counter.

Photo of the Greensboro Four sitting at the Woolworth lunch counter

The Greensboro Four in 1960

Their non-violent protest would catalyze the civil rights movement in North Carolina and elsewhere in the South, inspire the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee months later, and provide political momentum for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which outlawed discrimination in “public accommodations”) and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

What a difference 50 years can make :)

This morning the International Civil Rights Center & Museum officially opened where that Woolworth’s once stood.1 The country finally elected its first black President in Barack Obama. Students across the country can focus on their academic studies without worrying if they’re going to be beaten or lynched. Interracial dating is almost passé. The list goes on.

When I learned about the civil rights movement in high school — an occasionally sensitive topic growing up in a state that elected the country’s first black Governor when I was 8 but also awkwardly commemorated Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. all on the same day until I was 19 — I always wondered if I’d be able to demonstrate the same courage had I been in the same situation. Realistically: no.2

But I’m thankful for them just the same, especially when I get up in the morning for my daily drive to one of the most diverse law schools in the country.3

There’s always more to be done of course. Just last month Columbia’s School of Law released a study noting decreased minority enrollment in law school even as the number of seats available increased. All 5 of the HBCU’s4 in the University of North Carolina system are searching for ways to improve retention and graduation rates without limiting access by becoming more selective in admissions. Even the devastation in earthquake-stricken Haiti has roots in our historical racial divide.

If things can change so much in 50 years, however, I’m optimistic for what the next 50 will bring for all of us :D

More info on the ICRCM opening and the 1960 sit-in:

  1. I was hoping to make it out to the unveiling, but when I got up at 5am to make the drive for the 6am breakfast I was greeted with streets full of ice :( []
  2. You can see some of the violence sit-in protestors had to endure in the PBS documentary “February One”. []
  3. When it’s not snowing — we’ve got another 2-hour delay tomorrow, plus a forecast for even more wintry precipitation tomorrow night and Friday. You know you’re in the South when a little snow/ice shuts things down for days :beatup: []
  4. HBCU = Historically Black College or University. Contrast with PWI = Predominantly White Institution []

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A few words of remembrance

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 11, 2009 in Randomness

The original draft I had of today’s post was longer, more detailed, and probably better written.  But it seemed shallow to the extreme writing about my own experience 8 years ago when so many others were impacted far more significantly.

So I’ll leave it at this:  while I can’t guarantee as others have that I will never forget, I certainly haven’t yet forgotten.  You’re in my prayers.

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