Archive for July, 2011

Learning Time Management07.28.11

I started this blog with the intention of encouraging myself to write more in preparation for law school. I was writing often enough to justify having this blog for a few months and then July came along and it all fell apart.

I could not bring myself to write. I thought I was suffering from writer’s block or perhaps some pathetic meaning of life crisis. Then I realized what happened, I went from having a very structured schedule to no schedule aside from work. I was a victim of suddenly having too much free time.

Before you roll your eyes at me, I know, people complaining about having too much free time needs to be served a big mug of shut-the-fuck-up with no pretty foamy leaf drawing on top. I deserve it.

Since the beginning of this year, I had two big lofty goals: study for LSAT and training to climb a big mountain. My scheduled time was split between studying for LSAT, taking LSAT course, training to carry half my body weight up a mountain, and work. The little bit of non-scheduled time I have, I would write my blogs, and work on side projects for work. I made good use of whatever free time I had. At the end of June, all that was done. LSAT was taken, multiple mountains climbed.

I had so much free time that every time something came up that needed to be done, I figured I could do it tomorrow, because I had plenty of time the next day to do it. That was not good for me. I got fed up, bought a planner, and found a time management system for me that works. I’ve read Getting Things Done a while back and while I liked the idea of it, my schedule is not busy enough to warrant such a heavy duty system. Plus, I got impatient with all the planning and I just wanted to get to the doing.

I’m currently using the Agile System. It’s simple and the book is free online. I like that I just focus on three things at a time, so I don’t get overwhelmed by my to-do list in my month of being lazy. My favorite part is reflecting at the end of each work week on what’s working and what needs improving. Also, the irony of needing a day planner when I have too much time on hand is not lost with me.

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Letters of Recommendation07.26.11

As I was thinking about applying to law school, I sat down to look at everything that went into the application. LSAT by itself was scary enough, that I agonized over it for a week. Soon as I came up with a game plan for that, I thought everything else would be cake. Then I saw something I hadn’t thought about since 1994: Letters of Recommendation. I was baffled.

I’m currently working for my family at the moment, so asking them for letters of recommendation would be out of question. It’s not just that it would appear too self-serving, it’s that it’s actually very self-defeating because my immediate family’s English is terrible. My sister and brother speaks English fluently, but their grammar is even more embarassing than mine. My mother can barely string an entire spoken English sentence together. It really doesn’t matter though, letters of recommendation from family is highly discouraged.

From the Steven Klein course, we were told that if you’re within two years of graduating from college, at least one of the recommendation should be from a professor . Don’t pick a professor just because the professor is impressive. Pick a professor that honestly knows you. It is better to get a well-written letter from a professor that can talk about your learning ability than a letter from the well-published professor that only knows you by your letter grade.

I’ve been out of college for over 11 years. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t anyone’s favorite student by the time I graduated anyhow. It took me a long time to figure out where to get the letters.

Then I realized, before I started working for my family, I was plenty of project leader’s/producer’s favorite. I worked very hard. I have studio head’s and producer’s number. That’s my plan.

I have other people in my situation asking where they should go. I would say to look for them at work, volunteer coordinators, or religious leader. I used to volunteer very actively, but I never answered to a certain coordinator so that would not be a viable option for me.

I would even consider asking my mountaineering course instructor if I was still in dire need of a letter. He watched me train my scrawny little 105lbs frame to carry 50+lbs up a mountain, so while he can’t say much about my prose writing skills, he understands my tenacity and drive.

In the end, it’s about finding someone that can truly say they know something positive about you and can help you shine. Don’t ask some you don’t know well no matter how impressive the person is. It’s you that needs to be impressive.

 

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The Art of Suffering07.21.11

If you’ve live in Seattle for any real length of time, chances are, you’ve stared at Mount Rainier.

As a hiker, I’ve spent a ridiculous amounts of time staring at and taking photos of it from different mountains all over Washington. I was invited to climb Mount Rainier three days after finishing my Mount Baker climb. While I wished for more rest days, I couldn’t pass up the chance to climb a mountain that I’ve spent years dreaming about summiting. It was a moment that I’ve trained so long and hard for, so even though I was still hurting from climbing Baker, it felt wrong to not go.

Climbing Mount Rainier was the hardest thing I’ve done. Up until then, climbing Baker was the hardest thing.

One of my law school bucket list item was climbing Mount Baker, I can’t find words to describe how grateful I am to be able to hit my bigger bucket list item of summitting Mount Rainier a week later. I’ve trained my ass off this year for Baker, hoping to be able to achieve this one goal but I had written off Rainier as a sailed-ship.

While I was climbing Rainier, one of my teammate asked if I was going to ask the boyfriend to take up mountaineering with me. I told her, “No, I don’t see him as a mountaineer because he doesn’t suffer well.” She laughed and asked what I meant. I explained to her it takes a certain personality to be able to enjoy themselves while putting themselves through great discomfort. It’s not for everyone.

I imagine law school to be very much like mountaineering in many aspects. There will be much suffering to get to the end. The thing that helped me greatly while climbing Rainier was to remember that it was a privilege to be doing the climb at all. So while it was a lot of physical pain to haul nearly half my bodyweight halfway up Rainier, every moment of that was by my choosing.

While clinging onto the mountain for dear life with a few points of crampon teeth, I was still in awe of the beauty around me.

Beauty that only a very privileged few could ever share. Mountaineering requires ridiculous amount of time to train, money for gear, and time to do the multi-day trips. Not everyone can afford those things. Still even for those that could, when they are there, can they let go of the pain and fear enough to enjoy themselves?

Ever have an amazing night but you stayed up way past your bed time and you have to work early the next day? Did you grumble through your misery of lacking sleep the next day? Or did you bask in the glow in a night well spent while feeling slightly woozy from missing some sleep? That is the art of suffering well.

Law school is going to be a lot of suffering, but if the conditions are right, the reward could be so glorious.

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