Wednesday, March 20, 2013

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. ~Proverb

Happy Spring! I honestly cannot believe that it is March 20th. I only have three months left at my service site, and just over that until the end of the program. I arrived in Philadelphia for orientation on August 20, 2012, which is exactly seven months ago. I guess this is really a time for reflection.

It's been a strange winter in Philly, that's for sure. While New England and many parts of the Northeast was getting slammed with snow, Philly often got rain and sometimes slush. We definitely never got a real "Noreaster'" or really more than an inch on the ground, if that. No snow days here :-/ Honestly, I think I would have preferred snow to rain sometimes because walking in the city when it's pouring and dirty is quite miserable. I also learned that intensive wind snaps umbrellas. Kind of an unfortunate lesson.

Monday night was VIP's annual awards ceremony. It is a night to honor volunteers (solos up to big firms), sponsors, and donors who contribute to the non-profit's mission and help support clients in need. A lot of people attended and there are different levels of awards. It was amazing to hear the impact that volunteers make, especially when it's compared to monetary values. For instance, one solo volunteer has been volunteering for the past two years since his retirement. In that time, he's taken over 30 cases and it equals $26,000 in free legal representation. I think when you hear numbers like that it really makes you aware of the great successes of our volunteers. A client also presented his story. He thanked VIP and his volunteer attorney, who helped him gain custody back of his two young daughters after he returned from prison. His family was with him and it was amazing to see his children and how proud they were of him. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work like emails and phone calls, and forget about what it is we're actually doing. Monday night was rejuvenating and a great bonding experience for all.

The VIP Staff at Awards Night 2013

As for me, I've been trying to manage living in the present with anxiously awaiting my future. I ended up applying to 14 law schools (a bit crazy... I admit) and now is the time where I am beginning to hear back and make decisions. I have been accepted to five so far and wait-listed at one. I am waiting to hear from the final eight, and my top four choices. It's a bit stressful because for the most part, if you're accepted to a law school before April 1st, you're expected to submit your first deposit (which can range anywhere from $200-$500 or so) by April 15th to secure your spot. If you've heard from all schools regarding acceptances and financial aid information before that time, it's not so bad. But I worry that I won't have heard from everywhere by that date so it's taking a big risk between paying a deposit I might have to eat, or waiting to hear from my top choices and not getting admitted in the end. Eeek. However, I already have a few good choices and I am hoping within the next couple of weeks I have more definitive information to go off of. It's also hard to decide to attend a school that is giving me more scholarship aid versus a school that isn't, but better ranked. I want to enter into public interest law in the future and am quite aware that I won't make as much as say, a corporate attorney or a partner of a big firm in the future. But public interest and government jobs are increasingly competitive, and going to a better school opens doors all around. Either way, I am choosing a program that has good clinical and internship programs in a variety of different fields because I believe that an experiential education coupled with good academics is the best fit.

I am hoping this weather improves by April! It's been a rainy, dreary winter. But the groundhog determined that spring is on its way. I sure hope so! I am excited to ditch the winter coat and gloves and enjoy walking around this beautiful city and seeing all that the warmer weather has to offer. My roommates and I are planning a trip to LongWood Gardens, which I heard is beautiful. We're also going indoor mini golfing this weekend and am planning a trip to finally use our movie passes that the program gave us at orientation.

Here's a photo of us celebrating St. Patrick's Day in the city last weekend:

All in all, I couldn't ask for a more supportive home community and work community. I am blessed to have this opportunity and I hope over the next few months I am able to take advantage of all there is left while also looking fondly towards the future.

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