Law Maid

Mother. Wife. Law Student.

It’s all about owning it

OK so I was prepared to accept jargons as an inevitable part of joining any professional league. I didn’t particularly look forward to dealing with Latin but then I also accepted this as a fatal part of training for the legal profession. What I didn’t expect was the sheer volume of ordinary words with specific meaning in law. For example, my tutors have on more than one occasion called me out on using what I thought to be innocent words such as “interfere” out of (legal) context. Frustrating.

I suppose using the right words to say what I mean and mean what I say is an essential part of the job. Just like I know I’m not going to develop a legal mind (another elusive professional qualification that I’ve heard so much about) and become a lawyer overnight.  I just hope that I can get through law conversion without feeling like a douche.

Note to self: it’s all about owning it. I recall going through the same thing when I started out in my previous career in a different field. I became more than comfortable in my own skin after five years of living and breathing what became more than just a job. Granted, it was more of a passionate love affair at the end of which I crashed and burned, heartbroken and disillusioned, I hope to have a healthier relationship this time around.

Path to studying the right way

I’m a genius. So it turns out that I’ve been approaching my GDL studying backwards. At BPP Law School, you are meant to read the books, attend the lecture (listen to the recorded lecture if you are doing it by distance learning like I am), prepare your answer for tutorial questions, go through the questions during the tutorial to make sure you’ve learned the material and consolidate. Instead, I rather mysteriously started with the tutorials.

Don’t ask me to explain the logic of my thinking. All I can say is that I made a wrong turn somewhere between missing the orientation session due to work and abandoning school when Esther came down with a nasty case of the flu for two weeks. The fact that they didn’t provide a separate schedule for part-time distance learners didn’t help either.

The good news is that all will be well if I can turn things around and establish a more sensible and logical method of studying during this holiday/reading week. I went on the internet to get advice from people who already did their GDL and found this old blog post (link) by a helpful person named Ashley Connick which gave me some ideas.

Anyway, even before I realized I’ve been going at it backwards I knew my biggest challenge without a doubt will be memorizing case-law. I had pretty decent retention skills back in uni and grad school, but after five years of working and juggling family my memory isn’t what it used to be. I am so distracted all the f*king time. I’m sure all working moms can relate. So I sought advice and found this post (link) on LearnMore by Lawbore to be a helpful starting point. Will see if any of it works for me.

Today I’m revising the Human Rights Act 1998 for Con & Ad which mostly came into force on 2 October 2000. Fascinating stuff.

 

Five things I learned in my first three months as a part-time law student

So here is what I learned from surviving my first three months as a part-time law student:

  1. At least 20 hours per week should be devoted to studying otherwise you will fall behind on readings, lectures, and tutorials
  2. Mocks are extremely useful but only when you actually fully participate
  3. Legal writing is a skill that needs to be honed with practice
  4. Learning the proper names of case law is not an option, it’s a must

Also, it didn’t take long for me to realize I’ve bitten off more than I can chew by committing to work full-time and parent at the same time. One of them had to go and the choice was obvious.

I am so thankful to have the emotional and economic support of my husband which enabled me to quit my day job and focus on my dream. I know not everyone is so lucky. The way he sees it, having a mom who doesn’t give up on personal development will ultimately be good for our daughter as well. AND I get to spend more time with her as a stay-at-home mom which is definitely a plus for all of us!

I am attempting to catch up on school work over this holiday/reading week which will be painful and challenging as I am behind in almost all subjects: Contact, Tort and Constitution & Administrative Law. The more I fell behind, the more I felt unmotivated to plow through. Things got out of hand and I was miserable, wondering why I’ve done this to myself in the first place. Which brings me to my final lessons learned:

5. Grit is important and don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it

New year, new resolution

People who know me may be surprised to hear this but I’ve been holding myself back. Call it fear of failure, call it imposter syndrome. Whatever. I’m determined that 2017 is the year that I will kick it for good.

It’s not that I have low self-esteem per se. If anything I can sometimes be confident to a fault. My problem, and I need to recognize that I have a problem, is this sense of guilt that I have a hard time ignoring. A humble person would not be so proud. I am proud and therefore I am a lesser person. And so turns the wheel.

I trace it all back to my contradictory upbringing. I was expected to excel but never shine. I was privileged but was constantly told to earn it. There was no sympathy when I made mistakes. I would simply do better next time and get back in everyone’s good graces. I was a people pleaser and was utterly unhappy for it. I know now as an adult that no one could have lived up to the expectations with which I was raised. And that’s totally OK.

My New Year’s resolution is to apologize less and be my own advocate. That, and to blog more consistently. Cheers to 2017!

Uninspired

If I described my state of mind for the past few weeks it would be uninspired. I’ve been trapped in a stale state of mediocre existence and faking passion because it’s the only way I know how to get through the boring bits of the day. But lately those bits have not been bits. They’ve been unbearable chunks of unmotivated periods through out the day during which I get things done because they need to be done.

Ever since I burned out at the end of my last field mission I’ve been fighting a loosing battle with myself. Every morning I wake up dreading the rest of the day. I get up thinking that coffee will do the trick or if I can just get myself out the door I will hop, skip and run to the office and be the best version of myself I can be. But no. I find myself dreading what comes after still.

My husband who can predict my bouts of restlessness with uncanny precision says I still haven’t learned to live in the moment. He is annoyingly right. Like a character from that Woody Allen movie where no one has their shit together, I don’t know what I want, I only know what I don’t want. So I keep searching.

In a funk

When I’m in a funk, I start writing. Sometimes I pour out my thoughts, sometimes I mull over every word, but I almost always end up writing something very thorny. 

I keep these little bits and pieces of verbal tantrums saved in my phone and delete them when I feel ready to let go of whatever feeling I was holding on to. I think one of the hardest things a person learns to do while adulting is to just be ok. 

Anyway, here are a few snaps of cute little  plants that cheered me up a little today.

       

 

The best I can

Esther and I went shopping for new shoes today. She is in that weird zone between outgrowing her old shoes (she says her big toe is uncomfortable) and being unable to fill shoes that are one size bigger. So, my mission today was to find shoes that are safe to run around in with room for growth…and try my best not to interfere with Esther’s style choices which can be very amusing. She selected a pair of blue sneakers and a shiny orange mary jane ballet flats. I liked another pair of flats that was yellow but she insisted on the orange one and then, just as we were about to leave the store, she said she liked the yellow one. Ah, kids.

Afterwards, I set Esther free at a kids’ café, grabbed a coffee, and contemplated my behavior which had been nagging me all morning long.

This morning I lost my temper a bit while trying to hail a cab and keep Esther on the pedestrian walk. This was very stressful to begin with, not helped by the fact that my two-and-a-half-year-old very stubbornly insisted on three things: 1) that I hold my nose because there is dust in the air, 2) that she will not wear her jacket, and 3) that she will not hold my hand.

Instant remorse followed by fierce justification along the lines of “keeping her safe”, “respecting her independence” and “mother knows best” would have been the theme of the day. Luckily, my little monster let me hold her and kiss her and tell her how much I loved her.

Mommy is doing her best, sweets.

Bliss and drama

My plan to go to Heyri on Saturday was postponed. Hubs had some work hanging over his head and Esther was cranky with a runny nose. We ended up walking to McDonald’s for some french fries, nugets and burgers which cheered her up.

On our way back I bought a box of macaroons as a little pick-me-up. Esther took out her toy tea set and the two of us had a lovely afternoon tea session in our living room while Hubs went out to a café to work.

Later a girlfriend came over with a relationship crisis that needed to be talked out over a bowl of soup. Esther was napping by then so I asked my mother-in-law to watch her while we figured out the logistics of recovering her things from her ex. I returned home to find Esther back to her normal self full of energy and we played a quite a bit before going to bed.

It wasn’t the day I had planned, but I love days like this – domestic bliss with a side order of drama. 

First week at new job

This week went by like a whirlwind! I started a new job and had to learn a lot of things really fast. The handover process was one of the best I’ve seen but many aspects of the operation still remains unclear to me. Even though my old and new organizations are practially sisters, I noticed some differences too.

I can tell they have high expectations of me which I suppose isn’t necessarily good or bad. Knowing my competitive tendencies, though, it’ll take some conscious efforts to find work and life balance under pressure to perform.

Anyway, hopefully this really good weather we’ve been having holds up over the weekend so we can spend some family time outdoors. Otherwise, we’ll have to think up something creative to do. We live in one of the best cities in the world so it should be easy!

Here is a snap from my favorite downtown spot near the office, Cheonggyecheon.

 

Spring is here

The weather was so nice and warm today, perfect for walking home with Esther from the day care center. We stopped here and there to enjoy various blossoming trees all around us. My favorite by far are cherry blossoms and I captured a few shots with my phone while Esther chased pigeons at the playground.