9 down, 27 to go…

It’s not about football, so don’t try to figure out how that would work (I don’t think they give out penalty yards in weird increments, so it’s gotta be a sack or a fumble recovery… but I digress…). I’m talking about the number of applications I submitted, and how many I have heard back from. (Oooh… I just ended a sentence with a preposition – such a rebel…)

So far, 7 acceptances (one offer of scholarship), 1 deferred decision, and 1 wait list (which I declined). No “we hate you” letters in the mail yet, but I am certain they are on their way. This waiting game is draining the life out of me by the minute. I obsessively/compulsively check my e-mail and snail mail. I called my sister to check on my mail while I was out of town over the weekend.

When will this misery end…?

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Posted in Law

I Left My Heart…attack in San Francisco

Yes. When I saw this hill that I had to climb – in heels, mind you – I about had a heart attack. And when I was done climbing it, I was in painful realization that I am way too out of shape.

Why can I not focus?

I must summarize National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in its entirety by 7:00 PM tonight. It is 4:00 AM right now – approximately Hour-5 of my struggle to get my mind on track and get this assignment started.

I have long ways to go, but what am I doing? Blogging. Seriously? What is wrong with me?

The fact that my Internet Explorer is not working properly adds to the distraction. I’m running a full virus scan now to see if there are any serious problems. Crossing fingers… Perhaps this is reason enought to make the anathematic switch to Mac.

It would help if the reading was exciting or remotely interesting. But unlike the pleasure I receive from reading and analyzing case reports, reading Chapter 10 of the “Environmental Law Handbook” cannot be more drudging. I hope this is not indicative of the impending pain in law school…

Posted in Law

Postmortem

Speaking in front of hundreds of people is a terrifying task – at least for me – but now I can say that I am a better person for having done so.

The proposition to speak at my church at tonight’s gathering (Feb. 17th) came early in the morning on last Thursday from my pastor, Harvey (yes, the same dude on my link below…). He had warned me that he would make me share my story at Living Stones (a peculiar name for a church, eh?), but I expected a little more heads-up before the actual event. Three days… that’s not enough time for me to have a heart attack, recover, and be able to speak by Sunday night!

Nevertheless, I agreed to do it. Not because I am fan of being the center of attention. BELIEVE YOU ME… I would have been happy stacking chairs, putting away Bibles, and running Powerpoint slides behind the scenes unbeknownst to most of Living Stoners until I had to part paths with these crazy kids. Yet I began to hear these voices in my head – what was it that you wrote in your personal statement for law school again? I had to do it.

For those who are interested on how I went about making a fool of myself (just kidding… it wasn’t that bad), here is a rough transcript of what I said tonight. I’m not sure if it will make it onto the Podcast or not; if it does, I’ll link my 15 minutes of fame here. 🙂

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Hi. As Harvey said, my name is [Reasonable Woman], and I am a deacon here at Living Stones. And I’m extremely nervous right now… but I’ll try to go on. You know, a few years ago, I had an opportunity to speak in front of about 5000 people. That was pretty intense. But let me tell you: talking in front of you people is at least 100 times scarier. Which is a bad news since I want to make a living being a lawyer which involves a lot of public speaking. But it hasn’t always been so clear what I was supposed to do with my life.

This time last year, I was struggling to figure out what the heck I was supposed to do after I graduated for the second time. I finished my bachelor’s back in 2006, and the thought of real-world scared me – so much so that I signed up for a master’s program to buy more time to figure out “God’s will” for my life. I wanted a clear idea of what I was supposed to do rather than just jumping into whatever came my way, so I was praying constantly about it – almost to the point of nagging Him. And He finally answered me as I was sitting in a conference session for a Christian leadership summit last summer.

During one of the days at this conference, they showed a three-minute video of a typical night for a little girl, living on the streets in Kalkota, India. The camera was silently observing this girl across the street as she laid down her little folded up blanket that she has been carrying around all day in her arms. She laid her head down to sleep in the middle of the street, and before the video faded away you could see a man walking right by her as if there is nothing unusual about the whole situation. It was business as usual. Though this alone was heart-wrenching and shocking, what struck me most was the guy who made this short film. He isn’t a tree-hugging, save the humanity, head-in-the-cloud activist. He has a day job – of making films like Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Love Actually, and Mr. Bean. There is one quote from the interview they did with him at this conference that changed my whole perspective: “There is only one thing I am good at and that is to write comedy and to work with comedians, but I will do it ruthlessly to rectify the social injustice that is happening around the world.” Pretty profound – from a guy who is not even a Christian. This agnostic man was doing more to obey the commands of the Bible more than any of us who call ourselves Christian.

Did you know the word “poor” appears 181 times in the Bible? God wanted His people to know clearly how we are to treat the poor. I was only given 10 minutes to talk so we can’t exactly cover 181 verses, but here are my Top 3 Poor Verses:

3) And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:22)

It seems like He really got down to the nitty gritty details, and there are tons of other verses that look much like this throughout Exodus and Leviticus. I’m sure there are not very many farmers here, so I guess we’re all safe on this one, right? But how many of us live from paycheck to paycheck, spending down to the every last penny on ourselves? How often do you ever give a dollar to a homeless man? This isn’t about money – it’s about our heart and attitude toward the poor.

2) Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse. (Proverbs 28:27)

How many of us, watching the TV late at night, changed the channel when those commercials came on? You know what I’m talking about. Kids in Africa, Southeast Asia, South America… $30 a month is all they need. Nearly 1.2 billion people live on less than a dollar a day, and approximately three billion people – that’s half the world – live on less than two dollars a day. Gives a whole new perspective to “poor, starving college student,” doesn’t it? The five dollars we spend on beer at the Little Wal can feed a child for a week. But we turn our eyes away from them.

Now, I’m not trying to condemn anyone here. I would be condemning myself just as much if that were so. I am sharing with you the journey that He put me on over the past year to help me see a dire need around the world and what I am to do about it.

Last but never least… the next verse has a special place in my heart. Against some reasonable advice of my concerned friends and mentors, I made use of this verse in my personal statement for my law school application. I couldn’t convince myself to abandon the very words that have inspired me to become a lawyer solely because of the fear of a reaction from an admissions committee member who is not a Christian.

1) Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

The question begs to be asked: what more fitting profession is out there to defend the rights of the destitute than a lawyer? Now, you don’t have to be a lawyer to seek justice and defend the rights of the poor, but being a lawyer will have its advantages in following this command. And I believe I have been called to such path.

To be honest, I am not sure what exactly God wants me to do with a law degree yet. He hasn’t emailed me the detailed itinerary. I’m still waiting on that. But I can’t wait around to heed this command.

That opening of the mouth… it was a scary challenge for me. I believe what I am doing right now, speaking to all y’all, is part of the opening of my mouth for the rights of poor and needy. But one mouth isn’t enough to carry the message throughout the world. We have all been called as servants of God, to carry out His will. To do what pleases Him. So what does the Lord delight in?

We have been reading through a Psalm each week to help us reflect on the ancient truths before going into musical worship. And I think it’s not by accident or coincidence that Psalm 146 has been heavy on my heart lately. So let me read this to you.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea,
and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The God we serve delights in those who are righteous and those who seek justice. It is my prayer that the community of Living Stones become more like our Lord. That we be known as the people who lift up those who are bowed down, who uphold the widow and the fatherless.

Brevity – Part 2

It is amusing that I have titled this and the previous posts as Brevity only to write one of the longest posts thus far in this blog.

So it took a while for my instructor to get back to me. He is, after all, full-time practicing lawyer, and I decided to cut him a slack for not responding at my earliest convenience. Surprisingly, though, he got back to me as soon as he was off the clock from his day job – at 5:00 PM precisely. At the risk of appearing arrogant, I share with you his response:

You nailed it. A+

Richard Harris

I’ve had my share of good grades on assignments and exams (and plenty of atrocious ones as well). But this one… I think this might have to go on the fridge door gallery. Hehehe… Now, I must confess something here in order to make a point of why I was so delighted to see his response.

Standardized tests and I never have been big friends. Starting from the IQ test I took in third grade to the SAT/ACT and ultimately to the LSAT, I have never been known as a stellar test taker. I protest that I don’t fit in their little boxes, but those boxes seem to matter a whole heck of a lot when it comes to admissions – especially for law school. I, however, am not ashamed of my scores – never have been, never will be- because I have proven those numbers wrong over and again in the long run.

SAT scores said I would be an average college student. I graduated at the top of my class with two honors degrees (I just want all y’all to know that it makes me vomit a little bit to toot my own horn here…). LSAT said that I am no better than the average applicant – a score of 152, equivalent to 53rd percentile – with a slim chance of getting into a school of my choosing. It was going to be a tough one, but I wanted to prove it wrong.

It was a definite surprise when I got the phone call from the dean of admissions at Loyola. I initially thought to myself, “maybe I’m dreaming.” Then I realized the experiment I was running at work indeed was real-life one. The next train of thought was “they must have taken a big gamble with my application.” And the truth finally dawned on me. For the past three months, the bunch of girls I know and love as my small group have been fervently praying for a miracle. And it came to be. God pull some strings for me with the admissions committee. Good to have friends in the Highest of High places. 😉

All along, I had no doubt as to Gods ability to take me where He saw fit (whether it be Loyola or elsewhere), but I was still filled with the disquiet about my own ability to handle the work cut out for me. Hence the hyperventilative post a while ago about preparing for the 1L storm

So we have come full circle to the topic at hand – the reason for my elation over the affirmatory comment from my professor. It wasn’t about the complements; I actually don’t do well with them in social settings anyways. It wasn’t even about getting a good grade in a law class to spite the makers of LSAT. It was the comfort and security in knowing that He who prepares the path for me equips me with the strength as well.

Posted in Law