Full of Brains

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Full of Brains

Postby salamander » Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:30 pm

I, too, am starting a blog. Mostly, because I now spend enought time on here that I occasionally run out of new threads to read.

At brunch with my mother and my husband today, I was complaining that I just feel exhausted lately, tired early in the evening, cranky in the afternoons, etc. My husband gave me a little smile and said, "Sounds like stress to me."

Ugh. He is right. I am just working myself into a frenzy. There are so many questions that cannot be answered until I know where we are going. I know that many people here on this board are going through the same things.

I am thrilled that I have not yet been rejected from a school, but the waitlist at Penn means that things may be unresolved for even longer. It almost makes me wish it were just a straight admitted or not admitted decision process.

Oh, lord. I have not been this stressed since right before the wedding when my brother had made a commitment to join the army but hadn't told my mother yet. (Yeah, that's a fun story. He ended up telling her the night of the wedding, right after we had ridden off. Way to make that a good memory for her little bro'.) And before that, maybe the week we closed on the house.

I'm going to get up in a little while and work out. That should help release some stress and send some happy endorphins through my system. Plus my 5-more-pound reward to myself is an hour-long massage. Man, am I going to be ready for that.
Last edited by salamander on Tue May 29, 2007 5:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:58 am

I just got another call from my brother in Iraq. And once again, when I saw the 240 area code, my first thought was, "Oh my god, what school is that?"

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:07 pm

Ok, that last post sounded really callous. I was at work and had to take a call, so I just hit submit.

When I saw the unrecognized area code, my mind immediately went to Stanford, Berkeley and Yale (ha!). I answered in my best phone voice. How silly. At least my brother was kind enough (or exhausted enough) not to call me on it.

I'm really stressed out with all of the waiting. It as much that I'm really so nervous about whether the schools on which I'm waiting will accept me or not. I am completely freaked out about all of the factors of my life, my husband's life, and our life together that are completely up in the air until we know where we are going. It is begining to wear on both of us.

I sent in my usual $30 donation last week to my undergrad to whose stellar law school I have my application. They kept sending me these reminders, and I would get my mail, see a thin white envelope from UofC and think they'd sent me a rejection. Instead they'd be asking for money. So yesterday, I came home and found a very thin UofC envelope with the clear window. I immediately remembered that Stanford's rejections had come in windowed envelopes. Nope, just a receipt for my donation.

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:49 pm

Bored, so here's a summary.

Studied on my own for the LSAT from Jan of last year through the June test, spending 1 1/2 hours after work at the public library 2-3 days a week. I took a little time off in March to plan an event for a political organization I run.

I took the June LSAT and felt pretty good about the test except for one of the Logic Games, a grouping game that kicked my butt. Right after the test, my dad asked me, "If you had to say, based on all of the practice tests you had done, how you did today, what do you think your score was." My gut feeling was 170. That is exactly what my score was when it came back.

Pre-LSAT, I did my undergrad at University of Chicago as an English major. I graduated with honors in my major, but I didn't shy away from taking difficult classes outside of my major. Physics at UChicago is no easy science-requirement fulfillment. It took my overall GPA down a notch, but I don't regret taking it. My GPA is a 3.46, but for some reason, my transcript doesn't list out a separate GPA for my major.

Anyway, I graduated from UChicago and moved to Dallas, TX to take a Stage Management internship with the Dallas Theater Center. I worked in professional theater all over the South-East for three years before deciding to take a break. That is a whole story in and of itself.

After leaving the theater world, I moved back to my hometown and was completely at sea for a little while. I spent a disasterous year working for my (now-ex)step-mom's doomed dot-com (actually it was a dot-net). After the failure of that little venture (which did teach me a lot about business by way of negative example) I ended up in my current position leasing office and commercial space.

So, I've been out of school for eight years. This caused a little bit of a problem when I was trying to get my letters of recommendation. UChicago had suggested that I obtain letters of recommendation before I graduated to be filed away in case of future need. I had my BA advisor and another professor write l.o.r.'s and delivered them to my advisor to be filed away. But last year when I called to have them sent, it took 3 months to discover that UChicago could not find them anywhere. Luckily, my BA advisor still had an old copy of the letter he had written to recommend me for honors and he was able to send that in. Unfortunately this meant that my applications were in quite a bit later than I had planned.

I applied to eight schools, UCLA, Duke, Penn, Columbia, UChicago, Boalt, Stanford and Yale. So far, I have heard from Duke (accepted with a little $$), Columbia (reserve group, withdrew), and Penn (waitlist). I have heard very little from the other five.

Writing all of this down has given me back a little perspective on how far this processes has already come. Or maybe I'm just tired enough to feel calmer, and I'll be back to a complete wreck by tomorrow afternoon.

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Tue Mar 06, 2007 6:58 pm

I got an email today from Penn acknowledging receipt of my email accepting a place on their waitlist.

Grrrr.

This does not satisfy my need for communication.

Perhaps this process is meant to induce an early anti-social condition that will make the coming complete withdrawl into 1L less painful for those around me.

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:49 am

Dear University of Chicago Undergraduate Alumni Association,

I am writing to ask that you kindly refrain from sending me emails, mailing me thin white envelopes and having eager young work-study students call me around 7pm. The decrease in near heart attacks should significantly increase my gift-giving life span, and I will be happy to significantly increase my annual contribution in appreciation.

Please do not reply to this request by email, thin letter or phone call.

Much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Salamander

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:49 pm

wow. I hit the blog area wanting to whine about not hearing anything from anyone of late.

But then there was Ken's incredible, funny, positive update on his throw-down with this tumor, and I feel petty for feeling so whiney.

Ken, thanks for sharing your progress with us. You are inspiring and we should all hope to approach life with such grace, humor and generosity.

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:24 pm

The weather in Memphis is beautiful right now. I know that I will be in agony from seasonal allergies in about a week, but for now I'm loving it.

I spent most of the weekend riding my little Honda Rebel around town, so I changed my picture to show it off. Actually, it looks much nicer now than it did in that picture. The woman I bought it from had Ole Miss stickers (and rebel flag stickers) all over it. YUCK!

The first thing I did was scrape all of that nasty racist crap off. My poor little bike. Then I cleaned it up, took off the windshield, took off the saddle bags, scraped off the ugly honda logos, and made it look a little more me. I'm not one of those crazy people who scrape off the Honda logos to make the bikes look like a Harley. It's not a Harley, and I don't want it to look like one, but the logo was pretty ugly (it looked like this --LinkRemoved--) and it just wasn't me.

Anyway, one of the big advantages of Duke would be a nice enough climate that I could ride the bike to campus fairly often. I may have to get some new saddle bags.

My husband is pretty certain that I'll outgrow the bike soon. I probably will. Oh, and by that I don't mean "put away my childish ways" outgrow, I mean need a larger bike. But for now, it is just great.

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:38 pm

When Duke offered priority track, I withheld sending other applications until I heard back from Duke. If I hadn't gotten into Duke I would still have applied to the same dream schools (Stanford, Yale), but also to schools I felt were easily in my reach.

Since Duke is a dream school to me, and I already know that I got in, it doesn’t sting so much to get rejections from places like Boalt and Stanford.

It is hard to keep remembering that Duke is a dream school, but they have been doing a great job of reminding me. I can’t wait to go visit next week.

I do wish now that I had applied to other non-dream schools. It would be nice to have some scholarship offers to use as leverage with Duke. But all in all, I feel incredibly lucky and excited.

I started to post this in the “when you get a ding from your dream school” thread, but I think it is better here.

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Fri Mar 16, 2007 2:15 pm

This morning I called the financial aid office at Duke to find out to whom I should address my letter requesting a re-evaluation of my scholarship offer. The woman was polite but brief. She kept emphasizing to me that it would need to be sumitted as an appeal as they do not have a form for me to fill out in such a circumstance. She would not give me a specific name to which to address my appeal, but directed me to the general financial aid address.

Thanks to the help of several people here on TLS, I drafted the following letter over the past few days:

Dear Mr. Hoye and the Scholarship Committee,

Thank you for your recent offer of a Duke Law Scholarship in the amount of $-,000. I have been very impressed with the information I have received on the resources and opportunities that will be available to me if I choose to attend Duke Law in the fall. I am looking forward to learning even more at next week’s Admitted Students Open House.

As honored as I am by your scholarship offer, it will not quite offset the difficulty that my husband and I will face as we uproot our household and move our lives to a new city . As my fellow, future law students begin to make their decisions for the coming fall, I would appreciate your consideration for any additional merit aid that is made available.

Though my original application was generally comprehensive, I would be happy to send additional materials about my current work experience or my involvement in the political community of Memphis if such materials would be of help to the scholarship committee in reconsidering my award. If you prefer, I would be happy to meet with you during the March 23rd Admitted Students Open House to discuss my award.

Thank you for the time you have spent reviewing this letter and my application.

Sincerely,

Salamander
LSAC #
email address
phone number


This morning, I emailed the letter addressed to both the Financial Aid Committee (as instructed in my phone call) and to the Associate Dean (from whom most of the admitted students information has been sent).

I received an out-of-office message from the Associate Dean, and the following brief, but promising, note from the Financial Aid office:
This is to confirm receipt of your scholarship appeal. I will try and
re-submit your file to the Committee as soon as possible.

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:52 pm

I am really excited about the Admitted Students Open House at Duke this weekend.

I got the briefs to read for the mock classes today, and they are really interesting. I've read them through once and will probably read through them again before Friday. I know that makes me a big dork, but I feel so out of practice. It's been eight years since I've been in school, and, even though I know I'll be fine, I'm a little nervous about getting back into the swing of things in the Fall.

I'm still waiting to hear from UCLA, Chicago, and Yale, but I'm going to go ahead and visit a few rental houses and check out some neighborhoods while I'm in Durham this weekend. I am definately not a suburban girl, but I've been spoiled here in Memphis where I can have a house and a yard and still be in midtown. I love the funky, arty area we live in here, and I'm hoping I can find a neighborhood in which my husband and dogs will be just as happy in NC as we all are here. The Ninth Street area seems promising, but I'm going to drive around a bit Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning and see what else I can find.

If anyone is familiar with both Memphis and Durham, I'd love your advice on comparable neighborhoods.

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:30 pm

I'm hanging out in my Durham hotel room for a little while. I've been running around Durham all afternoon looking at rental houses and checking out the lay of the land.

Here are my first impressions from driving around Durham today and looking at the three houses.

Duke is fairly spread out, and most of what is immediately around Duke is not residential. The 9th street area seems cool, but I would compare it more to the Highland Strip in Memphis than Cooper Young.

Of the three houses I looked at, the only one I would consider renting would be the third one, and I didn’t get to see the inside.

The first one was in pretty rough shape. The floors were warped and un-level. The walls were badly touched up and there were these weird rectangular ceiling tiles. The yard was tiny and there was visible wood rot all around the house. That being said, it did have a fenced (and small) back yard, a new deck, an attic, and lots of closet space.

The second house was better and we could make do there, but I think we could do better. There was a huge front porch, but the ceiling was so low on the porch that it was uncomfortable to stand on. The yard was enormous, but not fenced, and during the day part of it is shared parking with the commercial property next door. The front yard was partially fenced, and we could further fence and gate it for the dogs.

The third house had a huge yard, was much nicer looking from the outside, and had a gigantic front porch. The woman who lived there had two sick children, so we didn’t get to see the inside, but the floorplan shows that it is huge, and she raved about loving the place. There are two driveways to the house, and the owner would probably reimburse us for the price of a shed and a fence. I doubt he’d build a garage, but we could always try. The downside of this house is that it is across the street from the far corner of an elementary school playground. When I was there, there were kids out on the playground, but none on the area across from the house.

I was told that I should check out Carrboro, which is just outside of Chapel Hill. I will probably go check that out on Saturday. I picked up all of the real estate magazines, so I’m going to look through those tonight.

I may go out to dinner in a little while, but I’m going to try to be low key tonight since tomorrow is going to be a long day. I'll post some pictures below

--ImageRemoved--
Ninth Street

--ImageRemoved--
First house I saw.

--ImageRemoved--
Second house I saw with the bizarre short porch.

--ImageRemoved--
Third house I got to see only from the outside.

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:20 pm

I just ran to the lobby of the hotel to find out where the ice machine is on this floor (answer: all the way on the other side of the hotel) and ran into a group of people standing around talking about Duke, UNC, UVA. I stopped and asked if they were talking about Duke Law and introduced myself.

They were really nice and invited me to join them for a beer. I exhausted, so I thanked them but excused myself.

They looked like they were all meeting for the first time, and I couldn't help but wonder if they were TLS people or (more likely) LSD people meeting up here. :o

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:20 am

I just got back to the hotel at about 12:30. I had the best day, and I'm exhausted, but a little too awake to go to sleep just yet. Duke Law School is amazing. I know I'd be happy here, and I am so excited about next year. I'm going to go check out some neighborhoods tomorrow afternoon. I've talked to a lot of older students and married students and I'm getting a better idea of the areas in which we might like to live. I'm also getting the idea that it might be better to buy a house than to try to find something decent to rent.

I'll try to remember what happened today:

I got up really early feeling horrible from allergies, so I showered, took my allergy medecine and went to the lobby and got some breakfast. I felt better after eating, but pretty tired and a little nervous aobut the day ahead.

I got to the parking garage listed in the email and found a couple of other students walking to the law school. I introduced myself, and remembered that I'm pretty good at talking to people I don't know, so I felt less nervous.

When I went in, the main lobby area of the building was filled with admitted students for the continental breakfast. I picked up my packet, my name tag, and my Duke Law hat. My name tag said "Salamander - University of Chicago." All day, I have had to explain that I left Chicago eight years ago. It's flattering, at least, that all of the 22 year olds are assuming that I'm the same age.

I spoke with a couple of current students and a couple of admitted students about the JD/LLM (international law) program, and then went into a small lecture hall for the welcome. We heard from Dean Bartlett. She was very interesting, but suprisingly not very smothly spoken (lots of uhs and ums), but it made me think that she was chosen for her mind, not her figurehead capacity. I love that Duke has a female dean. She is leaving this year, so we heard from Judge Levy next. He will be the incoming dean, and we will be his first incoming class. He was charming, funny, intelligent, and interesting.

After a short break we had a panel of professors. The were each engaging, funny and brilliant. I want to work with and learn from these people!!

After a short break we sat through a panel of law students. This was less interesting and more predictable, but I ended up meeting and talking with 3 of the 5 panel members during the day, and they were all friendly and helpful.

After the student panel we all walked over to the Cameron Indoor Stadium where we had a delicious luncheon while we listened to Professor James Boyle speak.

After lunch, we walked through the gym on the way back to the law school. The gym is fantastic, and so close to the school. When we got back to the law school, I realized that I had left the information folder and small notebook they had given us back at the Stadium, so I ran back to get it, and make it back to the Law school a bit late for the Contracts and Criminal Law class, but I didn't really miss anything. I found both sections of the class really interesting, but you could tell that the professors were just glossing over the intro to a couple of topics.

There were several options after the class session, but I headed downstairs to Financial Aid Counseling first. I had to wait a bit, but the woman I spoke with was very nice and reassuring. She laid out for me what my subsidized and unsubsidized stafford loan amounts would be, what I would need to borrow separately, and how that could work. She also mentioned that, as a married student, I could appeal the expenses breakdown they used to determine my cost of living.

After that, I wandered back upstairs and talked to some of the student organizations and then took a tour of the law school. I think I learned as much about the student experience from the tour as anything else. The tour guide was very nice and interesting. He is pursuing a joint degree, but didn't decide to do so until the end of his first year. I don't think I want to do a joint degree, but it is nice to know that that can be done. He made sure we had all written down his email address at the end in case we had questions for him later. Actually, I think about 10 or 15 different law students offered me their email addresses or phone numbers today in case I had quesitons about different things.

I had so many moments today when I just clicked with my fellow admitted students. I felt as if we already knew each other. After the tour, one of the guys on the tour with me and I caught the shuttle to the Faculty Reception in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. The gardens were beautiful, although I'm sure I'll pay for it later. While I was there, Lilpogo found me! We talked for while and then a girl from MIT came and joined us. I still just felt like I could see myself being colleagues with these people.

The people we were talking with decided to head back to the law school, but Lilpogo, and I decided to stay a bit longer. It was great that we did, because when we were inside snacking a little on the food that was almost gone, a man walked over that I had seen around the entry desk several times earlier in the day. I introduced myself and mentioned that I had seen him by the information desk before the tour, etc. Then I noticed that he was the Dean of Admissions. We had a great conversation about Chicago (he lived in Hyde Park while I was there) and about housing and neighborhoods in Durham. I really felt as if I made an impression on him, but I also felt as if I could email him for advice before coming to Durham for house-hunting or something.

Everyone had pretty much cleared out by then so we headed back to the Law school for the Option Student Organization dinners. I had a really yummy burrito with the Association for Law School Significant Others (ALSSO). Everyone was really nice, but I didn't really click with anyone. I went downstairs to the Women's Law Association dinner, had a cupcake and talked to a lot of admitted students and current students. I offered to give Lilpogo and a few other girls I had been talking with off and on during the day a ride ot the "Duke Law Idol" event in Downtown Durham, since I was the only one with a car. It ended up being a lot of fun. All of the driving around I did yesterday to get a feel for the place paid off. We mostly just had fun hanging out.

Tomorrow is the Campus tour and the Apartment tour. I'm going to check out Downtown Durham a little more tomorrow and try to check out Carrboro, too.

Oh, I meant to take pictures, but I left the CF card in my computer! Oops. I was having too much fun to be worried with taking pictures, anyway.

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:54 pm

Got an email today from Duke offering 25% more scholarship dollars. Sweet!

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Sun Apr 01, 2007 3:21 am

Yale sent me the ding letter. That means I'm all done.

Duke Law School, here I come!

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Wed May 16, 2007 11:37 am

Well, I've been MIA for a little bit, but I've had reasons.

First of all, my replacement has been training under me at work for the past month and a half. This really cuts into my privacy at work and my slacking off ability. Now she has pretty much taken over, so I just sit in the back of our tiny office room and try to type a manual of how to do my job just in case she needs to refer to it after I'm gone, or in case things don't work out with her and they have to train someone else after I'm gone. Yawn.

Second of all, we are buying a house in Durham and getting our house here in Memphis ready to sell. We want to have that For Sale By Owner sign out in the yard by Saturday, so we've been really busy. We have had one of those POD storage units at our house for the last three weeks. We've cleared out everything we don't need, and that is a lot. The house looks bigger, nicer and less cluttered. We live in a fairly hot neighborhood, so we shouldn't have much trouble selling, but it is still going to be a lot of work.

Well that's all for now.

See you in Durham!

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Slouching towards Durham

Postby salamander » Tue May 22, 2007 11:02 am

The house is on the market. The For Sale By Owner sign has been in the yard since Saturday night. We've shown the house 3 times in two days. Last night I planted a shit-ton of pink and purple (blech) petunias in the front flowerbeds to make them bright and cheery. Today I will call in to the local paper to place an ad for Saturday and Sunday so that people will come to our open houses on Sunday and Monday. Last night we listed it online with local alternative weekly. Tonight the painters will come and paint the stain on the kitchen ceiling from the leak that has been fixed for three and a half years. Tired yet?

I have a big packet of medical history that I have to fill out for Duke and a big financial aid packet to read through. Thank god I have a few weeks to take care of all that. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to get a tetnus shot. Yuck!

On a brighter (or maybe un-deader) note, the Memphis Zombie Massacre is on Friday, and I can't wait. http://zombiesinvadememphis.blogspot.com/ or --LinkRemoved--
Mmmmmm. . . brains.

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Tue May 22, 2007 2:15 pm

Today, standing at the local bookstores bargain tables outside, I noticed that the author/editor of a collection called Shakespeare on Love was named Darling. Immediately I felt the need to run home and re-read Tom Stoppard's Arcadia. Alas, I must return to goofing off at work instead.

On a more mundane and practical note, I dutifully ordered my copyof Law School Confidentail.

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Zombies and Real Estate

Postby salamander » Tue May 29, 2007 5:28 pm

Well the zombie walk was a complete success. I looked thoroughly gruesome thanks to the painstaking makeup artistry of my husband and his friend Chris.
We had an incredible turnout, somewhere over 200 people.
[img][img]http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w173/saraherutledge/Zombie%20Walk/SarahZombie.jpg[/img]

In other, less gorey news, we have an offer on our Memphis house and hope to officially have a contract on the house by Thursday!
That was one only week on the market, people.
Pretty damn good.

The down side is that the buyer has to close on the 18th of June, which throws our moving schedule all out of whack. He's leaving the country shortly thereafter so there is no room to move the closing date.
I wouldn't mind moving to Durham a couple of weeks early, but my husband would rather stick with our current schedule. We'll see how it goes.

Anyway, contract (almost) on the house! Yay!

salamander
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:25 pm

Postby salamander » Thu May 31, 2007 7:22 pm

Whoops. Fixed the zombie picture. Now you can see me in all of my gorey glory. Let's see if any Duke classmates call me on that photo the first week!

My last day at work is now officially June 20th. I am just itching to get going. I can't wait to move into the new house.

I'm sure I'll have to pick up some temp work in Durham in July, but I think it is going to be worth it in the long run to get there early and get settled in before classes start.

I've been aching to dye my hair blue, and I've been saying that I would do so as soon as I was done with work. The thing is, I'm not sure if people would treat me less seriously at school. I have to say that everyone at the admitted student's weekend looked pretty tame. I don't remember seeing any dreads or unusual hair colors or even tatoos.

Well, I still have time to think about it.




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