Monday, August 14, 2006

School Daze

Here I am, sitting in the library after my first class, which was Contracts. I have several hours to pass before Civ Pro, so I thought I'd update before hitting the books.

Last night I felt like it was the night before my first day of middle school. I had a zillion folders spread all over the bed, was looking exasperatedly at my schedule and wondering how everything was going to fit into my backpack.

All weekend I thought I had Torts and Contracts today. Sunday night I discovered I had Contracts and Civ Pro. I realized that USC does NOT stand for United States Constitution, it stands for United States Code! I learned that I had purchased ANOTHER incorrect book, this time from the bookstore where I misread what book went with what section. What else, what else.....

However, once I identified the panic with the crisis of middle school, I calmed down considerably. Middle school sucked at first, running around trying to find my locker, carrying tons and tons of stuff around, walking up and down stairs and generally just going crazy made up the first week or so. After a few false starts things evened out.

The girl sitting next to me in Contracts a great organizational tool that I already said I was going to utlize myself. Stuck to the spine of her Contracts books she had a piece of green paper with a "C" on it (I realize it should be a K though, right?) and - this is the genius part - her Contracts binder was green. My complete OCD/anal retentive freakishness was ALL OVER that. How perfectly divine! I have been worried sick about grabbing the wrong materials for class one day and just being stuck.

It made me think of some things that can help me stay calm and organized during this first couple of weeks. First of all, it's driven me crazy that I can't remember my schedule (or even read it correctly, it seems!), where my classes are, who the profs are. Well, that's because this is a new environment. At UH, (where I'd been going for the past, uh, 17 years) I chose my classes and created my schedule. I knew who the profs were in advance for the most part. I knew where the classes were. This is a whole new ball game. So....I'm going to put a copy of my schedule next to the bookshelf so that I can pull everything the night before. I'm going to color code everything.

And I'm going to take some more deep breaths so I can relax....hopefully.

One final note, and really the most important one. Thank you so much for all your words of support. Ana cracked me up, and you better believe the promise of that glass (bottle) of wine at the end of the day is tiding me through. It was nice to look and find more and more comforting words each time I checked my email over the weekend. Cella, thank you for the outlining tips. My degree is in Art History, so attaching pictures to cases is a PERFECT idea for me. Thank you, thank you! Kat and Law-rah, thank you for your good vibes as well!

Okay, the USC and I have a date for the next couple of hours.


Cella Bella said...

Another suggestion!

I "cut" my books first year. That means xacto-ing the pages from the spine, punching holes in them, and putting them in a (color-coded) binder. You can get Kinko's to do it cheap too. Each Sunday, I'd check my reading assingments for the week and put each needed part of the book into single binder (and didn't have to lug those big books around). Then I only had to remember one thing for every class. I could fit about three weeks of reading in for each class.

Butterflyfish said...


Sending happy thoughts. You will look back on this and laugh in a few days.

frillgirl said...

Cella, that is SUCH a good idea, especially for someone who works in a copy shop!!!!! I toyed with that idea this afternoon and you've cinched it for me.

Do the books get any thinner? ha!

shell said...

Sorry frillgirl. Books get thicker (sad, but true).
Another thing about color-coding -- you might want to try highlighting your cases based on color codes. I used ORANGE for controlling authority (or cases cited), GREEN for important facts, YELLOW for the holding (relevant opinion/result), GREEN for dicta and facts, and PINK for policy argument.

Of course, color coding the book takes a while to get used to, and it won't work too well if you buy a used book (previous highlited by someone else)....

Apologies in advance if this doesn't make sense right now. (That plus it's late and I'm sleepy).

Anonymous said...

I also have an art history degree, and I started law school in June. I make notecards of the cases with a picture just like I did in undergrad, and I also make notecards for vocabulary that I need to know. Good luck with school. I start again on Friday!

JJ said...

How is it we have only had one week of class and I feel three weeks behind?