Thursday, May 27, 2010

Don't let money get you down...

Money is not a new concern when it comes to the life of a student. Heck, for the last few weeks of school, most of us start getting concerned with how we are going to pay for our student loans, where our next paycheck is going to come from, and how much money we think we are going to get from distant relatives for graduation. Still, it has hard not to become concerned about money when the prospect of not having it is constantly looming on the Horizon.

I suppose I should preface this by informing everyone that I have accepted admission to Drake University Law School, and put a down payment on an apartment, so I will have somewhere to live when I start in 11 weeks. Overall, it was a relatively expensive, yet productive trip, and I have to say that the school itself is pretty nice. While I know that it is a good investment in the future, as soon as they started going through the tuition prices, I have to say it was more than a little daunting.

While I am lucky enough to have family members that are able and willing to help me out with some of the tuition prices and rent, but that doesn't mean I'm home free. I did some basic budgeting yesterday, and while it is possible for me to make enough at the law firm over the next few weeks to live like a poor person for the next year, the prospect of paying all my bills, furnishing the basics of my new apartment, having enough for textbooks and getting to buy enough groceries is none-the-less daunting.

Still, I think the one thing that keeps me going on this ambitious career path is the idea that in the long run, it will all be worth it. Making a few cutbacks might be what is necessary to realize my desire to become an intellectual property attorney, plus it will be good for me to learn what living on a budget is like - very tight budget, granted. At the end of the day; however, it is important not to let financials keep you from pursuing something that you really want to do. As my father always says: "10 years from now, you won't even remember what you didn't have while working towards something you want to do."

So, as daunting as law school is going to be, it is something that I have to do. Will it be expensive? Heck yes. Will I have to make some sacrifices to make it possible? Undoubtedly.

Will it be worth it in the end? Absolutely.

Now, it is just a matter of working my butt off over the next few weeks to lessen the blow as much as possible. Do you have any money-saving tips? Post a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

iPad Justification

It's sleek. It's portable. It's sexy. It's the iPad.

Say what you want about the name, but you have to admit that there are features of this new device that are just plain cool. Those that know me well, know that I have a bit of a weakness when it comes to Apple products. I own an iPod video (yes, the one before touch screen), and have owned mac computers since I graduated high school and my dad asked if I wanted a Dell or a Mac. When people ask me about what kind of computer they should get, I always tell them how happy I am with my apple products, and while I have had my share of stories regarding customer service, I always walk away a happy Mac customer. Therefore, when I first heard about the iPad, I was excited about it, despite flack from many critics about the name and criticisms about being an over-sized iPod Touch.

To set the record straight, I am not the owner of an iPhone or an iPod Touch, so it is not like I would be replacing a smaller device with a comparatively steroid-pumped cousin. Furthermore, I completely acknowledge that this device is an indulgent want, not a pressing need, but none-the-less, there are practical uses for it. What this is alluding to is that I have thought a lot about this purchase, and am fully aware of the pros and cons.

At the time I informed my dad that this is what I want for my birthday (which is in August), he laughed and asked what the heck I needed one of those for since I already have a Macbook Pro laptop. At the time (this was several weeks ago) there was no answer I could give him over the phone that accurately portrayed the logical reasoning behind why a device of this nature would be beneficial to me. Why I have to justify my choices in birthday presents is really beyond me, but because of my father's nature, I took this as more of a challenge than an instant defeat.

I had to start with my argument. My father is a very logical man, with a high respect for education. When I turned him loose with a camera for my college graduation, we walked away with almost 150 pictures of a 2 hour event. When I got into law school, he was the first one to have me read the acceptance letter out loud, and then have me sit in his den with him for the next 2 hours while he looked at the website and pulled out a list of things that we needed to ask when we went down for a visit. Therefore, my plan of attack was to situate the device as a positive for me as a student and future attorney at law, and all my research has been geared around this angle. To all you other students out there, potentially in the same situation I am in, I hope that I can consolidate your own research into this one-stop-shop - I live to serve.

Now, it was down to the research. Since my last post, I've been googling and pouring through blogs to find information on the advantages of an iPad for student/graduate student use. It boils down to the following things, simplified in a numbered list.

1) Portability - Yes, laptop computers are portable as compared to the previous desktop. However, when moving from room to room, there is still the hassle of balancing the computer, opening it again, typing in the password and then only getting the 2 or 3 hours of battery life while you surf, type, chat or game. The iPad makes this one step simpler, by just picking up the device and walking from room to room, never losing browsing time if so required. Again, this comes from the indulgent-side of the argument -- it is nice to have the portability from room to room, but it is not an absolute necessity to daily function.

2) Media Consumption - This flows almost directly from portability. Now, at your fingertips, is a new world of information, some of which is available exclusively on the iPad. Many important newspapers, magazines, television stations and other media are developing, or have already developed, apps for the iPad. Some of these include: the Wallstreet Journal, ABC, NPR, CNN, Netflix, TIME Magazine, various fashion and entertainment publications, and many more.

The really cool thing about the iPad and these forums is the new capability to interaction. With the touch screen, there are new possibilities for direct interaction with media. The best example I can think of is the Alice in Wonderland app that I have heard so much about. It is a book with things to do on each page -- looks wildly fun! Here is a youtube video that demonstrates this: Alice in Wonderland App for the iPad.

Am I saying that this app in itself is good justification for a student or lawyer to own the iPad? Of course not. But, it is an example of the potential in store for browsing media (both print and online) with this device.

3) Terrific Reader - One of the things I kept finding repeated throughout my research was praise for the readability of the iPad. What I mean by this, is that it is apparently very easy to read things on the 9.5" screen - not only read, but annotate and mark-up documents with various apps designed for this very purpose. This got me thinking to one of the really great aspects of the iPad - the digital library. I love to read, and while there is nothing like having the paper and ink copy in hand, there are often days where I wish it was easier to look for a book on my shelf. Cue the digital age.

With the book store on the iPad organized the way I have seen, it seems a cinch to locate the book you want, and with the LED back lit screen, you could read for a while in a comfy environment. Would you be able to read for hours on the screen? Probably not. But in this day and age, I find myself reading sporadically through the day when I get a spare moment as opposed to curling up and spending hours engrossed in the written word.

In this section, too, should go a blurb about the possibilities for students that are associated with this. While things have certainly gone more digital in the last few years, there are still mounds of textbooks and readings that are assigned every week. Wouldn't it be marvelous if all these documents could be brought together in one device that students could use? Instead of having 5 monster textbooks for one semester, I could simply obtain digital copies of them and consolidate my bookshelf to make more room for other things. Not to mention, avoiding the back strain that comes from carrying those books around from class to class would be a bonus. Of course, more would have to be developed between app creators and textbook websites to make this a possibility, but with any luck, we will start to see more headway on this soon enough.

4) Apps for Students and Lawyers Alike - I figured that I would end this post by looking more specifically at the kinds of apps that are available on the iPad, which may boost productivity as a student or future lawyer (as the case may be). I figured that, if anything, these would be good indications of the benefits this device may have for you:
  • iWork Suite - This includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote. A word processor like Pages is apparently very functional, according to, and "permits productive work where a laptop wouldn't be available, practical or fun to have around." This could be ideal for a student in the school setting, as it allows the combination of productivity with portability. Yes, this app might cost a little extra at a whopping $30, but if you are going to use this device for something constructive, I feel that this might be just the necessityto justify this purchase.
  • Things - This is an organizer application, and it apparently works quite well for the iPad. Of course, for students and lawyers alike, it is important to have something to keep all your classes, assignments and meetings organized. Despite the little problems, this is yet another way to keep everything straight, which is important when things get as hectic as they can on a student schedule.
  • - Yes, it sounds stupid, but in the world of academia, there are bound to be words that you just don't know, especially in reading. With the ability to read a book on the iPad and look up words that you can add to your vocabulary, this would be a great device for any stage of the academic process.
  • Zosh - This is a document annotation application, allowing the user to view .doc, .pdf, .ppt, .tif documents and make your own notes on them, including signatures and text boxes. This can be very handy when reading documents for class, or even editing your own papers while moving around your domicile.

So, there we have it. My attempt at forming a coherent argument for why I should get an iPad for my birthday in August. Please keep in mind that this list is in no way exhaustive, and if you can think of anything else to add, please post a comment and be heard! We've got another 2 months to make this the best argument it can be!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Summer" in Full Swing

Wow, it has been awhile since I sat down to make a post. Sorry about that!

There have been some recent developments on the law school front. SLU called me earlier this week with an offer of admission for their accelerated part-time program for the fall. What would this entail? Well, basically, I would be part-time my first semester, full-time evening in the second semester, take one class during the summer, and then I would be regular full-time after that, still graduating in 3 years.

As excited as I was for the offer, I ended up turning it down this morning. The main reason was that I want to concentrate in intellectual property law, specifically trademark and copyright law. Drake has a pretty well-recognized program, and until yesterday, I was unaware that SLU even had a concentration in IP. In fact, they just got an IP program approved for this coming fall, but it is so new that they don't even have any materials printed for it. This, coupled with the fact that they wanted a decision within 24 hours, and I am not sure if I want to end up practicing in St. Louis or not, lead me to turn the offer down.

I still have not accepted the offer from Drake - my Dad and I are going to visit the campus a week from Monday, but unless I just absolutely hate it there, I plan on enrolling in the Fall 2010 law class at Drake University School of Law. Exciting, right?

Aside from making law school decisions, the only other thing that is really going on in my life is that I started work this past Monday. Even though I have been working at Affinity Law Group, LLC during breaks for the last 2 years, I am always ready to come back for more! Now that I am a law student, I am hoping that they are able to give me more work specifically in the law field, and that wish was granted when one of the attorneys asked me to do some case law research on common law trademark protections in Missouri. Sounds like a party, right? It's amazing how interesting case law can be, while at the same some infuriating when you cannot find a straightforward answer to a pretty simple question.

On a completely unrelated note, I hope everyone is keeping up on Lost and Glee! They are both getting so good! All I can say is that I like getting answers, and I LOVE KURT!

Umm...other than that, I guess there isn't really anything else I have to say. "Summer" is in full swing, even though there is very little rest involved. I am already looking forward to the family vacation we are going to take in July! I am even more looking forward to the fact that Aubrey is coming with us, which is going to be one rocking good time. It's a shame that the Florida beach house thing didn't work out, but with the oil spill, I am pretty sure that plan would not be the best of ideas. I am secretly hoping for a cruise, but we'll see what the parentals come up with.

Hope summer is going well for everyone else! And thanks for all the well wishes regarding law school on Facebook! It means a lot to me that I have such amazing friends, even if we are all separated by a few states! I miss all my Pepperdine friends! If there are typos in this post, it is because I am typing under exhaustion, and need to get to sleep before another storm hits and I can't fall asleep in the first place.

Night everyone!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

My Future Awaits

So, this post is a little late since most of you already know the good news, but I finally got a moment to sit down and think for more than 5 minutes at a time. This last week I drove from California to Missouri, unpacked almost all of my things, worked at the law firm for a short day and then headed to my Aunt and Uncle's house to take care of my cousin while they are on vacation for their Anniversary.

However, the most exciting news came on Wednesday night, when I received admittance to Drake Law School! I am beyond thrilled to know that I have somewhere to go in the Fall of 2010, and unless SLU (St. Louis University) accepts me off the wait list, chances are that I am going to to be in Des Moines, Iowa starting August 20th. It's a far cry from Malibu, but I like that it is only 5 or 6 hours away from my family and friends here. I can say that Larry is really excited about the shorter distance, which was a relief as well!

One of the great things about Drake is that they have an excellent Intellectual Property program, which is the kind of law I would like to pursue. However, from what I can see of the first year schedule, it is going to be very intense (16 units over 7 classes). At least there are no 8am classes, and it looks like I would be done by around 4 every day of the week! I'm going to go visit the campus with my Dad in a few weeks, so we will see how the campus feels when I get there, but from the pictures I can find, it looks pretty and the apartments I would be living in look really nice with hardwood floors, private bedrooms and new appliances, including dishwashers! I'm really excited to check them out!

The only other thing I can really say about this is that it is such a relief to know that I have options for the Fall. As happy as I was to have graduated from an amazing 4 years at Pepperdine, it feels like a weight has been lifted from me now that I know I can pursue the one thing I have been working towards these last 4 years. Graduating is now, officially, a great thing, and I am really excited about the future!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Trying New Things Upon Graduation

I am now an official Pepperdine alumnae! Isn't that exciting! Even if I got absolutely fried, it was a beautiful day, and I am so glad that my parents and boyfriend were able to come out and show their love and support. I am one lucky redhead!

After graduation, we all went to this amazing French bistro called "Bistro LQ" for a 6-course, fixed-plate meal. I can honestly say it was like nothing I have ever done before, but I would totally recommend that everyone do it at least once in their lives -- it was an experience I will never forget! It's important to try new things in this new chapter of my life, and while I have always been a pretty open eater, I thought I would just post what we got to eat last night. It was all really good!

Course #1:

This was the first course, which consisted of sea urchin, over a bed of tapioca pudding, infused with something fishy (lobster, I think). I wasn't sure if I would like it, but it was actually really good! On the right was some sort of gelatinous fishy tasting thing, with a whole mussel at the bottom. I actually couldn't eat this part, but I did manage to get the muscle down! Larry really liked it though.

Course #2:

The second course foie gras over ox tail in a pastry dough, with some greens between. The center of the foie gras is stuffed with huckleberries, which were really good! The consistency of the foie gras was a little weird, but overall the dish was pretty good! I really liked the ox tail, which was warm, and gave the dish a really savory flavor.

Course #3:

The third course was my favorite dish of the night. There was cod on the bottom, in some sort of buttery sauce, and a dumpling stuffed with crawfish. The dumpling actually tasted like a seafood potsticker! On top was some sort of leafy thing, fried in a tempura...which was really good, but now I can't remember what it was called. I think it was the buttery sauce that tied the whole thing together. Yum!

Course #4:

This one was quote an interesting experience. On the left was fish liver, which I could not eat. I did try a little bit, but it was just so fishy, I couldn't get it down. On the right side of the plate was monkfish with porcini mushrooms and some sort of green pesto sauce. It was really good, and I don't even normally like pesto sauce!

Course #5:

This one was really good too. Veal in a delicious sauce, with blood sausage and a few pieces of tripe. If I had to pick another favorite, this would be it. The veal practically fell off the bone it was so tender, and that sauce was just so amazing, I wish he had told us what was in it.

Cheese Course:

No French meal would be complete without smelly cheeses! The first picture is their entire cheese cart...and it was sitting right by our table. Every time the wind blew, we got a good wiff of cheese; not necessarily the best smell. However, while I didn't necessarily care for the cheeses they brought us (second picture), the rest of the family sure enjoyed them!

Course #6:

Dessert was the last course of our French meal. Each of us got a piece of chocolate cake, which was soaked in rum, and the cherries were soaked in sherry. Then they brought the whole table that long plate full of different little desserts, most of which were chocolate in orientation. At this point, I was so stuffed that I couldn't really eat much (especially since it was a lot of chocolate), but my mom and aunt were in heaven!

So, that was my first, 6-course French meal. It was so much fun, but it took a long time (2 and a half hours). I would certainly recommend Bistro LQ to anyone; the food was exquisite! I am really glad that I got to try new things, and it was a great way to start out my new, post-graduation life!