My thoughts to close out the year:
Things that I have learned in 2011:
1) 12 year old girls are the lovechild of a porcupine and a bear. Prickly and easily enraged.
2) 10 year old boys, on the other hand, seem to be the equivalent of monkeys crossed with locusts. Constantly on the move, and constantly eating, yet skinny as rails. Completely unfair.
3) Four year olds … well. You know how people frequently refer to the ‘terrible twos?’ I can’t even say what they call the fours. Just know that it’s not ‘fabulous.’
All this to say that I am changing my schedule in the upcoming term, and in Spring 2012 will be taking only daytime classes. I really enjoy the evening program, and will miss my podmates terribly, but also want to try being home for dinners and bedtimes again. Not that I will never take an evening class again, but I think trying day classes will be good for us all. My kids are growing up super fast, and I want to be around for more of it.
This is one of the really cool parts of the part-time program — and one I had forgotten(!).
As a 1L, part-timers take all classes at night. After the first year, however, students can take classes at any time of day and still be considered part-time. The only thing that changes is whether or not you have priority for registration. If a student plans to stick with only evening classes, then, when it is time to choose classes for the upcoming year, they just need to let the registrar know, and then they get first dibs on registration. It’s a pretty neat system.
Final exams for the fall start tomorrow – what better time to reflect on the term that was?
With the freedom to select a schedule from a very broad array of class offerings, how does one decide how to proceed? If you have a specific focus area, or are seeking a certificate, decisions about what class to take might mostly be made for you by the schedule itself. In my case, my intent was to explore a few different areas of the law while accommodating my extracurricular interests.
Thanks to the evening program at Lewis and Clark, there are a wide variety of classes and class times available for crafting a schedule, which made it possible for me to fit my schedule around work and volunteering, while still carrying a full load of interesting classes in a number of subject areas. Animal Law, Administrative Law, Bankruptcy, Business Associations, Capital Punishment and Constitutional Law II were my choices for the term – a mix that allowed me to touch on a few different areas of the law while preserving two days a week class-free for other purposes.
What other purposes? For one, the chance to volunteer my time with the Oregon Justice Resource Center (OJRC), an opportunity that grew directly from Lewis and Clark itself. In the current climate of reduced hiring, even volunteer positions are very competitive for law students, so it was a great pleasure to join the first class of students at this brand new non-profit, founded by three 2011 graduates of the law school. The OJRC assists local non-profit legal organizations with trial and appellate litigation on behalf of indigent, prisoner, and low-income clients in federal and state courts on a range of civil liberties and civil rights matters, including but not limited to the death penalty, immigrant rights, and unfair procedural barriers to the courts.
My role with OJRC has been as a volunteer supporting the Oregon Capital Resource Center with appellate advocacy as part of the Death Penalty Project. Working on real cases, with experts in the field, has been made possible by the dedication and hard work of the founding directors of OJRC, the open and collegial relations between attorneys in the Oregon Bar, and the flexible scheduling options that Lewis and Clark provides for students.
On top of my classes and my work with the OJRC, a flexible schedule also provided the opportunity to hold on to my part time job as a snow reporter for a local ski resort, Mt. Hood Meadows. Most students at Lewis and Clark seem to indulge some kind of athletic interests, including runners who ply the trails of Tryon Creek State Park adjacent to the school, bicycle riders who take advantage of the CATS towel program for commuting to school, and the crew of dedicated gym rats that work out daily at the student athletic center. Students here understand how to maintain a balanced life.
In the interest of keeping my own life in balance, this was my last term as a full time student at Lewis and Clark. No, I’m not dropping out, transferring, deferring or taking a sabbatical – I’m just switching to the ‘evening division’, which means 12 credits, instead of the 17 on my schedule this term (what was I thinking?). This kind of flexibility in scheduling sets Lewis and Clark apart from other schools, and allows students to make connections in the community that will serve us well as we transition from living as students to working as lawyers.