Sunday, April 7, 2013

"The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra." - Jimmy Johnson

Well, it's been a LONG and tiring process but in the end, it's paid off. I was accepted to two of my top choices for law school on Friday! Villanova and Syracuse. I am SO incredibly excited and blessed. It goes to show that experiences, letters of recommendations, resumes, and personal statements (in the law school world known as "soft factors" or "softs") really must play some role. Although my college GPA was good, my LSAT scores were not so hot. I took it twice and was not too happy with the results, despite having taken a prep. course and studying A TON. I have just never had the standardized test gene, and after college I became somewhat cynical about the "numbers game." But nevertheless, I am just ecstatic that I have the opportunity to attend one of my top choices for professional school!

I applied to 15 law schools. I am crazy. It was absurd. I just didn't know the outcome with the slightly lower LSAT and which schools would offer me scholarships and such. You just never know. I technically am still waiting on four schools' admissions decisions. But at this point there's a 90% chance I'll be either attending Syracuse or Villanova. For the longest time, Syracuse had been my dream school so that I could pursue a joint degree with a MA in International Relations. I got into that program last year and deferred so I could do this year of post graduate service. Then my experience at my service site instilled in me this desire to pursue law school for public interest law. I still am really interested in international development too, and I can't imagine never having the opportunity to do anymore field work in developing countries or complete development work. So this joint degree would be such an amazing experience, albeit very ambitious. Then there's Villanova. Villanova is an Augustinian school and I have come to love Philadelphia. I have already made some connections here and I could easily see myself happily living in the area and maybe even practicing here one day. I visited Syracuse last Monday and was able to tour the law building and sit in on a 1L class, so I am going to do the same this week at Nova. Hopefully I can make a choice soon!

I can't believe I only have a little over two months left at my service site! I really feel like I have grown so much because of my time at VIP. It's obviously helped in terms of professional development, but also just generally, like I am capable of handling difficult problems or complicated situations in a more calm and rational manner. I utilize help from my colleagues and supervisor but I have found out how to time-manage better and also find many answers on my own, or through trial and error. I have also discovered how a day-to-day job in an office can be really rewarding and also really versatile. I have found my sense of creativity to only be strengthened. Like when I decided to make an inheritance tax guide or coming up with slogans to help attorneys be inspired to take cases. I think keeping grounded is important at any job, but in the public interest field, where there's often limited resources and slow outcomes, it's vital.

I am also really happy in my community and spiritual life. When I entered the program I honestly didn't see myself growing spiritually much at all. I wasn't uncomfortable with the idea of entering a religiously-affiliated program because I knew there are wonderful service opportunities within the Catholic tradition. Plus after having attended Stonehill, I had some experience with the idea. But it's been really rewarding spending time with the Friars who live next door and hearing stories from my community members' sites. Everyone is really down to Earth and even if I never outright say things like "This is where I see God at work..." I have really come to feel more at ease spiritually and having those deeper conversations. Plus drinking wine with the Friars over a chef-prepared dinner is something that no human can refuse! Let alone a starving volunteer...

In other news, the weather seems to be getting better. It's been a brittle winter and although Philly didn't get much snow, it's still been miserably cold. I'm sick of the gloves and big jackets. I cannot wait to walk to the train in the morning with just a sweater or better yet, not even a sweater! Looking at this week's forecast, it looks like it's hitting the 70's! I'll certainly take it.

It's always weird how it's towards the end of an experience that you begin to feel more comfortable and at ease, and then it's over. It just makes me want to make the most of these next two months as best as I can. It's easy to get caught up in the future, especially in my case where I actually am making those big decisions! But it's another thing to enjoy the present in full. I have been trying to strike a balance between the two.

Here's a photo of my community members and I at an indoor mini golf place a couple of weekends ago:

Monster Mini Golf!

I think that's about it for now. Yay for spring!

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