Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mid-Year Resolutions

It's been six months since I wrote my New Year's Resolutions. I had a rather ambitious list, and I've decided that this is a good time to report on my progress.

My first resolution was to return to law school in the fall. Fall hasn't arrived yet, but I've been accepted to law school and have plans to return in August. So far, so good.

My second resolution was to read at least one book per month. I've joined a book club, and this has been great for helping me keep this goal. I've read some books I never would have picked up on my own, and it's broadened my horizons. I plan to keep this resolution up for the rest of the year, but it may become challenging when school starts up again.

My third resolution was to write at least one blog entry per week. I've come close, but I haven't quite made it. Here's to the rest of the year.

My fourth resolution was to exercise for 20 minutes per day, 6 days per week. I've failed miserably at this one. I know I feel better when I work out, but somehow I tend to find excuses to put it off. I'm going to modify this goal to 30 minutes 3 days per week. That sounds more manageable.

My fifth resolution was to meditate for 20 minutes per day. I haven't been meditating formally, but I do tend to spend my commute time pondering. I guess that's a start.

My sixth resolution was to have 20 minutes of quality gospel study each day. I haven't been as good about this as I should have. It goes in spurts, and I'm pretty good about it on Sundays. I'm going to recommit myself to this goal.

My seventh resolution was to go on at least three social outings per month. I'm pleased to report that I've managed to fulfill this goal. My once stagnant social life is starting to revive, and I'm enjoying spending time with old friends and making new ones.

My eighth goal was to get a job in the legal field that is sufficient to pay my bills. I'm still looking. I've been temping while I've been waiting to find out what is going on with school. Now that I know I'm staying in the area, I'm going to redouble my efforts. I'm sick of answering the telephone at venture capital firms. I'm ready to go and do some paralegal work.

How are you all doing on your New Year's Resolutions?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Prodigal Daughter

And it came to pass that Keri had some wonderful news. Since writing is fun, she composed ripped off a parable in order to share it.

There was a generous mother who had a daughter who was ready to leave the nest for greener pastures. Her friends and family begged her to stay, reminding her of the opportunities that would come to her by staying in such a noble house. However, the daughter had heard of other houses and wanted to see how they did things there. She asked for her mother's blessing in departing, and it was readily given.

The daughter wandered and stumbled into the first house that she saw. There were people there, and all of them were miserable. The master of the house tried to convince the people that they should be grateful to be there, because no other house would have them. The daughter stayed for a short while and then desired to find a friendlier house. However, she was not welcome anywhere else. Eventually, the house suffered ignominy, and many of the people, including the daughter, were asked to leave.

The daughter begged to be allowed back into the house. The master gave her a list of tasks to perform and said that if she did them well, she would be allowed to return. The daughter did the tasks, but the master did not keep his word. Additionally, the master spread the word to the other houses that the daughter shouldn't be allowed anywhere else, either.

The daughter wandered for the next year, before finding a hut. She was welcomed warmly into the hut and stayed there for many months. The people were kind there, and treated her like family. Finally, the hut became too small, and the daughter hit the road again. She decided that she wanted to return to her mother's house, but she wasn't sure if she could go back. It had been several years since she had left.
She sent a letter to her mother begging to return. She received word from her mother's assistant that her mother was traveling abroad at the moment and would respond in a few months. The daughter anxiously waited. Her friends all told her that her mother would be delighted to have her return. She wanted to believe them, but she remembered the words of the master of the miserable house. "Nobody else will have you."

She got a letter from a cousin in a faraway country inviting her to come to stay for a while. She wrote to the cousin and said she would come soon. Then she got a telegram from her mother inviting her with open arms to return home.

This concludes the parable of the prodigal daughter. At this point, Keri's readers said, "That's a nice story, if a bit long. What does it mean, anyway?"

Keri said:

The mother in the story is my alma mater, Latin for "generous mother". I'm the daughter. The dwellings (houses, huts, etc.) are institutions of higher learning.

I graduated from Santa Clara University with my BS five years ago. I knew that I wanted to go to law school, and many people urged me to consider going to SCU. I thought about it, but I wanted to diversify my resume a bit. I had heard (and I don't know how true it is in practice) that it's frowned upon to get one's undergraduate degree and graduate degree from the same institution. I began the law school search, but suspended it in order to serve a mission.

When my mission concluded, it was Christmas time. I wanted to jump right back into school, so I applied to and was accepted at the only ABA accredited school I was aware of at the time that allowed first year students to start in the spring. (I have since become aware of several others.) I enrolled and quickly realized that I had made a big mistake. The school had an inferiority complex, brought on by its low bar passage rate. The administrators told us we were lucky to get in anywhere, and that we shouldn't complain.

After the first semester, I applied to transfer to another school, but I was rejected. At the end of my first year, the school was placed on probation by the ABA, and was threatened with losing its accreditation if the bar passage rate didn't improve. At the end of my third semester, the school freaked out and purged most of my class because our scores would be the determining factor. I got kicked out along with several others, even though I had been given an academic excellence award the week before.

I reapplied and was denied readmission. As a result of all of this, I had to wait two years before re-enrolling in law school. Some of what I've been up to I posted on here. After a year, I enrolled in a paralegal program at the local junior college. The people were great, and I graduated magna cum laude in December. My waiting period expired last week, and in preparation for that, I sent out several law school applications, the status of which I detailed here.
I got waitlisted at Santa Clara, and... *drumroll* I just found out yesterday that I have been admitted! The prodigal daughter is returning home!!!

Words can't express how excited I am over this development. (Although that doesn't stop me from blogging about it.) I was fortunate to get accepted to St. Mary's, a fourth-tier school similar in ranking to the one I was kicked out of. It's truly a miracle to be accepted to a first tier law school.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

High on a Mountain Top

I spent last weekend at a family reunion in Park City. It was fun, but they just don't have enough air there. I'm used to living at sea level, so when I got to the resort, it was a challenge just to lug my suitcase up two flights of stairs to my room. I checked the GPS, and it said the elevation was 7200 feet.

Day 1: Thursday (Bay Area, CA)- I started out by packing in the morning, and then I attended a high school graduation for a family friend in San Jose. It ended at 6:30, and I had to make it to San Francisco to catch an 8:45 flight. Through some miracle, I made it to the BART station with 5 minutes to spare. I texted my roommate to let her know where my car was so she could pick it up that evening, thus saving me from having to pay for parking. (It worked out great for her, too. She doesn't have a car, so I let her use it for the weekend.) I got to the airport and breezed through security, but my sandals broke. (They were old anyway.)
I grabbed a hot cocoa from Peet's and headed to my gate. My flight was listed as being 15 minutes delayed, so I fired up my laptop and checked my e-mail and read the news. I called my dad, who was going to pick me up at the airport in Salt Lake, and let him know that I would be late.
It came time to board the plane. I had all of my stuff in one of those rolling backpacks that's smaller than a suitcase, but bigger than a standard backpack. We were flying on one of those tiny planes, and my bag wouldn't fit in the overhead compartment. Fortunately, it did fit under my seat. We headed out. Due to cost cutting or something, they didn't even serve pretzels or peanuts- just beverages. By the time I landed in Salt Lake, I was quite hungry. I bought a bag of trail mix from the gift shop and headed to find my dad. We met up and went to Park City. We got in at 1:30 am and I promptly went to bed.

Day 2: Friday (Park City, UT)- I was the last person to arrive. Everyone else had been there all week. I was also the only person who had flown instead of driving. Most of the relatives are in the Salt Lake area, and my parents and sister live in San Jose. When I got up in the morning, I was mobbed by hugs from my cousins (ranging in age from 5 to 17), and we all decided to ride the alpine slide. I had never been on an alpine slide, and the way they described it, I was expecting something resembling a roller coaster. It wasn't until I was on my way up the ski lift that I saw what it really was. (Imagine a bobsled going down concrete instead of snow.) I got a bit scared, which amused the kids. I rode down the slide, and it was fun.
The afternoon was a bit of a lazy day, and in the evening, we had the actual reunion itself. We had a dinner and a program. There were about 30 people present, and it was fun. The only awkward part is that the adults don't fully accept me as one of them because I'm single and in a different generation than they are, despite only being 5 years younger than some of them. The kids don't fully accept me as one of them because I'm an adult. So, my 23 year old sister and I hung out together a lot.

Day 3: Saturday (Kaysville, UT)- My parents and sister piled into the minivan and headed back home. I went back to Kaysville with my grandparents because I had decided to stay an extra day. My grandmother took me with her for grocery shopping and errands, and then we hung out and played board games until we were so tired that we needed to get some sleep. It was fun. My parents called in the evening to let us know that they had arrived safely (and in record time- 12 hours).

Day 4: Sunday (Kaysville, UT)- My dad called in the morning to wish his dad (my grandfather) a happy Father's Day. This relieved me of needing to call him because I just talked to him when he was done. I got ready for church and headed with my grandparents to attend their ward. I was wearing a nice pantsuit, and nobody said a word about it. Their ward consists almost entirely of elderly couples who live on the same block as my grandparents. I felt a bit out of place, being one of the few people under 50 in attendance. It happened to be ward conference, and the way their stake does it, there is a 2 hour sacrament meeting followed by a combined priesthood/relief society meeting. The speakers ran over, so the congregational hymn was cut. I must confess to tuning many of the talks out because my attention span just isn't that long.
After church, I packed and then went to my aunt's house in Fruit Heights. I visited with her for an hour or so before my grandmother took me to the airport. I once again breezed through security and headed to my gate. I got lucky this trip- I usually get harassed by security whenever I fly. (I blame the red hair. Makes me stand out.) The flight home was uneventful, and we actually got snack service. My dad picked me up at the airport and dropped me off at my apartment. (I told him I could just take BART home, but he wouldn't hear of it.)
When I got home, my cat came running out to greet me, and then I went straight to bed.

It was great to get away for the weekend, and it went better than I was expecting. I was planning for a family feud because my sister doesn't get along with my uncle's wife. However, they were both on their best behavior, and I didn't have to avert any battles. Even with the thin air, the mountains were beautiful. I felt the peace I feel in nature, but that tends to elude me in daily life. I think it's because sometimes I fail to stop and just enjoy the beauty that is all around me.

Friday, June 6, 2008

All Results Are In!

I just got my last law school admissions letter, so all results are in.

Six schools spread throughout the western US- rejected (their loss)
University of Nevada- Las Vegas- waitlisted
Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA)- waitlisted
St. Mary's University (San Antonio, TX)- accepted

I'm going to hold out for the waitlists for as long as possible, but failing that, it's off to San Antonio. I may not know until the middle of August. I'll keep you posted.