Starting Fresh

Moving Forward

 

There’s a nervous tension in the air. The air is also filled with excitement about what the future might bring and what it might hold. I am excited and nervous for what the future might hold for me as for the first time in my life, I have no set destination with any direction. I am like Jack’s compass in Pirates of the Caribbean that doesn’t point north, but to the thing the holder wants most. I am spinning like that compass, as I’m not sure what I want to do, or where to go, but I have a lot of ideas and plans that I have to figure out.

All throughout my time at Rasmussen College I had a set direction: Finish school, get your bachelor’s degree and then go to law school. Now, I am no longer in law school so my compass has changed. It is no longer pointing in one direction, but spinning in a multitude of directions. I am very disappointed that I’m going to be back for another semester of law school but I already have a few ideas in the works. I have to plan them out a little more extensively, but I have the foundation set.

Right now, I’m going to be focusing on getting a job so that I can pay off my student loans as quickly as possible and start saving some money for the future. Ideally, I’d like to get a job in law firm so that can earn money, while still learning about the law. I’m also going to be working a lot more on my bike rental business, EL Bike Rental, to try to expand it and generate more revenue from it.

A project that I have in the works, is probably one of the most exciting things I’m going to be doing! I’m going to be working on a book about NFL General Managers! I’m planning on interviewing all the NFL General Managers and asking them a series of questions about their job and their life. Hopefully, I will be able to talk to all of the GMs and the book will be a success.

So, while I’m not quite sure what my final destination is and I don’t have everything planned out yet, I have a lot of ideas for projects for me to do. Once I get everything organized and a plan down, I’m hoping that everything goes smoothly from there on out!

The Grades are in

As the last grade came in, my heart dropped. A sinking feeling entered my chest and I immediately felt sick and worried. At this moment, I realized that I would not be back at FAMU for a second semester of law school.

I needed a B- in my last exam to stay in law school in order to meet the GPA standards set by FAMU. I did not get it. While I was happy to say that I passed all of my courses, my GPA didn’t meet FAMU’s requirements. It is very hard to make it from being a first-year law student (1L) to being a second-year law student (2L) in law school. According to the last published ABA (American Bar Association) data just over 40% of 1L students did not make it to the second year for any number of reasons. Based on grades, about 1 in 6 didn’t make it for academic reasons, like me.

I’ve had a very stressful, exciting and eventful semester. I’ve been stressed with so many different things from driving downtown Orlando to FAMU at 6 am, to turning in legal papers 15 minutes before the midnight deadline, learning how to write legally and making sure that I’ve prepared for class.

On my final exams, it was particularly stressful because a couple times the software that I was using to write my essays, froze up and I wasn’t able to write as much as I wanted.

Another time I had handwrite the whole essay! I definitely think that hurt me because I wasn’t able easily to go back and fix anything. Also, in the majority of my classes, 100% of my grade in the class was determined by the exam. Now that was super stressful! I’ll definitely want to meet with my professors to find out what I did wrong and also, hopefully, learn what I did right.

It’s extremely disappointing to me that I won’t be back for a second semester as I feel like I blew a golden opportunity to get done with law school before I was 21. There were definitely some things that I probably could have done better and there were a couple issues that I had that probably hindered me throughout this process.

One issue was the exams themselves. These law school exams were unlike any tests I’ve taken before. The material was harder, the questions were much more confusing than any questions I’ve seen on other tests, or practice exam questions. The second issue was that during the semester, I had thought that I understood the material that I was learning, but I didn’t really begin to fully understand it until November. Meaning, I understood the material on the surface level but I didn’t begin to understand it on a deeper level until November. That is too late to be fully understanding the material in law school and I suspect that I needed to know it at a deeper level.

I started to understand things better as the term progressed and really caught fire towards the end. That won’t work in law school. Also, I jumped into the fire not knowing what to expect or how I was supposed to do anything, such as writing case briefs, reading cases, taking tests and legal writing. That played a major part in the struggles I had. It definitely would’ve been better if I had more experience in all of these things before law school. But I know that the reason I started law school at 17 was because I wanted to give it a try rather than wait several years before trying.

I am definitely very disappointed that I didn’t make it this time. I feel like I let my family and my friends down and didn’t live up to the standards I set for myself. I had a great opportunity and I couldn’t capitalize on it. It’s like starting at your opponents 17 yard line in football and not being able to score the touchdown. It’s disappointing but all I can do is move on and learn from my experiences and better myself. I’ve got the future in front of me and all I can do is continue to do better and make my way.

I definitely plan on coming back to law school. In the meantime though, I plan to get a job or two, maybe one at a law firm and earn enough money to pay off my student loans and save some money for law school. I’ve also have some ideas on some blogging, book writing and putting some more effort into my bike rental business, ELBikeRental.com.

There’s that old saying, “when one door closes, another opens.” In my case, the door hasn’t been locked, but rather just closed. All I have to do is reach for the doorknob when I’m ready and open it back up again! I’m disappointed but very excited to see what the future holds for me! Stay Tuned.

Talent Show!

These last few days have been pretty crazy and busy for my family! Earlier this week, after the “Rain Game” we had Parker, Thomas and Quyen come over and played football in the cold weather. It was awesome! It was about 40 degrees out and there was a decent amount of wind which made it all the more fun. Now I’m sure not everyone there liked playing football in the cold or the rain, but for some reason, I have always loved playing football in the elements. There’s just this certain indescribable aura surrounding it that makes it amazing! I’ve been to a pro football game when it was 20 degrees — in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Playing in that kind of weather would be fun for me.

On Saturday, we had the first Annual Bunk Room Talent Show and this was such a major event for the whole family and The Bunk Room. Margo and Mom had spent a couple months planing and getting contestants for the show and they put a ton of work into it. Not only just planing the logistics, but the marketing, set up and everything!

There were a lot of people at the talent show and Margo had brought in a couple volunteers from Mount Dora and Eustis High School to help us out with selling tickets, selling refreshments and just coordinating everything during the talent show. She even got great people to judge the talent show. The judges were David Oliver Willis, a contestant on season 12 and 13 of American Idol, Cathy Hoechst, the mayor of Mount Dora and Kim Pinson, owner of the Whispering Winds in Mount Dora. The talent show was a big hit! All of the contestants did a fantastic job, everybody helping did a fantastic job. It seems like everyone had a great time.

Football Fun!

Today was a very interesting day to say the least. It had both a high and a low, much like a bell curve. This morning, Benj and I went over to our family’s rental house, near downtown Mount Dora, where we finished putting the trim up and cleaned up the mess from the wood flooring and paint. We had to get the house all finished by noon today because the new renter was going to start to move in and we were having some friends come over to play football.

Parker, Mason, Thomas and Doug came over around 1pm to play football and when we headed over to the field, it started to rain a little bit. By the time we got to the field it was pouring rain and we thought about not playing, but we decided that it might be kind of cool to play football in the rain. It was a ton of fun, at least for me, to play football in the rain! Everyone was slipping and sliding, it was a low scoring game and just a ton of fun overall!

When we got back home, I received a text from Audrey letting me know that the grades for Contracts were up. I was very nervous about the grade I would get because Contracts was probably the hardest class I had and probably the one I did the worst in. I looked at the grade and it was not great or anything but it wasn’t an F.

In order to be in law school next semester, I’ll need to have at least a B- in Torts, which might be possible because I think Torts is one of my best classes. Hopefully, I do get that grade because I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t back at school next semester. It’s pretty scary and nerve-wracking thinking about it.

New Year’s Eve!

Well, this is officially the last time I’ll be writing the date as 2013! I have had a fantastic year, filled with so many great moments and it will definitely be year that I will remember for a long time as it was filled with so many new changes for me. I started Teen Court, started my first job at the Orlando Predators, graduated college  and started law school! Also in this time I formed many great new friendships and connections with wonderful people that I hope will last for a long time.

I had a great New Year’s Eve. We had Parker (Margo’s boyfriend) and Thomas come over for dinner and some New Year’s Eve festivities, where we set off some sort of sparklers and played Monopoly. Monopoly was very fun to play and was very exciting because so many people were cutting deals, trying to avoid bankruptcy and buying property! It was a very intense game, probably the most intense out of any board game that I have played — definitely the most competitive. It probably didn’t help that I was trying to change things in my favor by cutting deals and encouraging people not to accept deals that weren’t beneficial to me. I came close to losing twice but I was able to recover and finished third. So all in all, a good game of Monopoly!

We went downtown for a bit and it was pretty surprising to see that downtown Mount Dora looked like a ghost town! There were a couple places open but usually downtown is pretty busy, even on holidays. So it was mightt weird not to have a lot of people around. We ran, threw the football around on the shuffle board court and Thomas, Benj, Annika and Dad raced across them. It was pretty funny to see Dad try to keep up with everyone!

We raced back home just in time to see the ball drop in Time Square and 2014 began. It was the ending of one era and the beginning of another. To kickoff 2014 we set off some light fireworks and it was a blast! 2013 was a great year and I hope 2014 can be just as good or even better!

Family time at the Beach!

These last few days have been pretty awesome! Christmas was a lot of fun as I got to spend a lot of time with family and have a good time. On Christmas morning when we were opening presents, Mom and Dad surprised Margo, Benjamin, Annika and I with a trip to the beach the next day! I was so excited because we hadn’t been to the beach in awhile and I thought it would be a fun trip. Mom also told us that we couldn’t bring any computers with us, which annoyed me slightly as I do a lot of work on the computer. I figured I could be without the computer for a couple of days before I will (hopefully) be back reading law books and using the computer.

The drive to the beach was very interesting because Benjamin was driving down to Madeira Beach (where we stayed), as he has his permit and I was a little bit nervous because I haven’t ridden in the car with Benj driving much. When he was driving and would go 5, 10 mph over the speed limit, or have one hand on the wheel and start talking to people, not putting his sole attention on the road. I would get nervous. Now sometimes I do these things when I drive but I’m not used to Benj driving and I don’t believe that he is experienced enough to be doing any of those things quite yet. I am a terrible backseat driver, I’m told.

When we got to the beach it was late at night so we ended up playing Monopoly the whole night and that was a lot of fun as I have never really played Monopoly knowing all of the rules. I didn’t win but it was fun to play anyway.

We were originally going to go biking the next afternoon but we ended up not going because the bike rental place did not have enough bikes available for us to rent. We walked along the boardwalk at John’s Pass. While we walked on the boardwalk we stopped and watched some fishermen unload their daily catch and sort out all of the different fish out, put them in ice and load them into trucks. It was pretty cool watching that as now I can see how the fish gets to stores, restaurants and packaging company. The smell was pretty bad at first but after a little while, I got used to it.

Later that night, we went to Bubba Gump’s, a restaurant based off of the movie Forrest Gump and I had a great time. It was very chilly that night but it was fine for me because I enjoy being in the cold weather. It’s a nice change from the seemingly constant heat in Florida! The dinner was great and I had an awesome time there with everybody!

I had a fantastic time at the beach these last few days and I’m happy Mom and Dad took the opportunity to take my siblings and I there to have awesome quality family time!

Semester Recap!

This has been a very crazy and very interesting last four months of my life! I have experienced so many ups and downs and new things in this journey so far and I’m happy to say that I have the first part of it done. I roughly have about two an a half years left to complete my journey through law school.

My classes, Torts, Property, Contracts, Civil Procedure and Legal Methods, along with Analytical Skills, have demanded a high level of work from me and a lot of discipline. The work level was completely different than anything I’ve ever done, it’s been a lot more difficult because of all the reading I have to do and then the style of writing is different from the type of writing I did in undergrad. Probably the hardest thing I had to do was to stay disciplined and have good time management of all of my work and other activities.

I was not very efficient with my time for the first half of the semester and so much more would have been gotten done had I been better at time management. For example, I did not set up a schedule for the time that I would have to workout so because I didn’t go to the gym very often. I put on about 15-20 pounds in four months. That’s not good. So next semester, and to all aspiring law students, make sure you have a schedule and great time management skills. One professor told me that one problem that lawyers have at first is that they procrastinate a lot. I had trouble with procrastination early in the semester but I think I got much better later in the semester as I was able to understand the subjects better and I had a better schedule.

The exam period was very stressful as I had to basically study everything I had learned so far in a span of two weeks! Together, Dustin, Audrey, Brandon and I studied for all of our exams during that two week period and then when the two week exam period rolled around, we studied very hard during that period of time too. It was very stressful during exams because I was studying all of the time, I didn’t know how I was doing in my classes and I was very worried how my grades might turn out. So far, a couple my grades have come in and I continue to be hopeful that I will be back at FAMU for my second semester of law school!

This semester has been difficult, but a blast at the same time as I have met so many cool people and have learned so many new things!

Confidence in Law School

These last two week have been pretty crazy for me! I’ve been super busy with law school and all of my classes as the teachers have started to buckle down and start throwing a ton of material and knowledge at us. It is very stressful. Right now, I feel like I’m doing alright in all of my classes but it’s hard to tell sometimes because I don’t have a grade in the classes and that’s a little nerve-wracking for me because I don’t know if I’m doing well or not.

In some of my classes when the teachers ask questions to other students, I answer them in my head and get them right but sometimes I get them wrong. Right now, I would say I’m doing the best in Torts, ok in Contracts, ok in Property, ok in Civil Procedure and good in Legal Methods.

I believe that I can definitely improve in all of my classes but I think the two things that I have to improve the most on in class and out of class is my confidence and my outlines. When I’m in class, I get a little nervous about being called on, even though I’m prepared and sometimes I just kind of blank out when I’m asked questions that I should know the answers. It’s very worrying for me because I do not want to be taking the final exam and kind of draw a blank because I’m nervous. I’ve been volunteering more in classes and while I don’t get called on all the time, I do sometimes. It’s helped build my confidence a lot from where it was at before. My confidence is still a little shaky but hopefully I can continue to improve it.

My outlines have been a bit of an issue for me because while I know how to follow one, I’m not exactly how to create a law school outline. Should it be just the topics we’ve covered in class listed out, or do I need to write definitions under each thing we’ve covered. I’ve heard different things from almost everybody I’ve talked to about it. My new plan is to spend at least one or two hours everyday on my outlines so that I have a great outline to take into the final exams.

Overall though, while it has been very tiring and stressful lately, I know that this little bit of suffering will pay off in a big way in the future!

Phew! Completion!

Today was very stressful and a bit crazy! I spent most if the day working on a Rules assignment for Legal Methods where I had to read about four to five different cases and synthesize them in order to come up with a rule statement. Yeah, even explaining it stresses me out.

Writing the statement was a bit difficult for me because the instructions were not very clear and I was having a hard time finding out what exactly was needed in the assignment. Eventually though, I was able to get some clarification on the instructions from some classmates and I was able to get the assignment done before the deadline — not a lot before, but before!