Cut and photograph little miss law school advice

  1. What is this site trying to accomplish? For some reason I suspect it’s been created by someone who opposes the war and is sort of saying “I told you so” as he/she watches Republicans catch a clue. However, it could just as easily be created by some hard-right warhawk who wants to criticize Republicans who support a pullout. What’s the deal?
  2. Two years ago today Ambivalent Images was featured on DCist.com. I haven’t given up the effort to post a photo each day, but I have obviously fallen a bit behind. Sadly, small town life and full-time work have not been combining to create super photo-taking opportunities of late. I hope to change that soon.
  3. Speaking of DC, this murder there last week is terribly sad.
  4. I saw Little Miss Sunshine over the weekend. It was good. I laughed out loud a lot. However, I do think if you haven’t seen it already it will be just as good if you wait for video. Lawrah says it’s the “Best. Movie. In. A. Very. Long. Time.” Like I said, it’s good, but Washburn’s critique is also accurate. And you have to admit that the end is just, well, borderline creepy. So a mixed bag, but you will laugh, definitely.
  5. If you’re headed back to your second year of law school about now, Ian at 3L Epiphany has some advice for you. FWIW, I pretty much agree with all of it.
  6. I am not nearly as glad as I thought I’d be that I don’t have to start school again soon. That doesn’t mean I’m sad about not starting school, but there are some great benefits to the student life. To those of you heading back about now I just say: Enjoy it while it lasts!

UPDATE 8/29/06: Ok, I should have just read a little further. Cut and Run Now is the creation of an anti-war person—Dave Winer of Scripting News. He started the site after watching Meet the Press and getting incensed that Republican pundits were saying “of course it’s time to get out of Iraq, and that real Republicans were against going into Iraq in the first place!” Hmph.
[tags]lists, politics, movies[/tags]

Three Years, we hardly knew ye!

Sadly it seems that Three Years of Hell, a Columbia law student blog, ((All this time I could have been helping Anthony “own” the terms “a Columbia law student blog and I didn’t even know it!)) is over—today. Anthony’s blog has been a regular read for me for, oh, about three years now, and it really does feel like the end of an era to see it shutting down. As I’ve said before, I completely empathize w/the impulse many law students seem to have to leave blogging behind once they move on to the next stage of their lives. God knows the imbroglio has sort of become a blog in name only in the last couple of weeks as I try to find some balance of time and topic that will fit with my own new situation. But just because I understand what Anthony is doing, that doesn’t mean I won’t miss checking in on, or wrangling with, his conservative-yet-mostly-reasonable take on law school, politics, and life. ((What’s the best way to describe a gay-friendly conservative? It’s a rare bird in my experience, plus the mostly-reasonable part, which often enables Anthony to rise above conservative orthodoxy. He’s a complicated guy!)) Even though we’ve disagreed more often than not, he always made me think and frequently offered invaluable insight into conservative think as well as the technical intricacies of blogging and Movable Type—all of which I will definitely miss.

So thanks for Three Years of Hell, Anthony, and best of luck to you in whatever it is you’re doing next. I guess if you’ve finished the three years you must now be the devil so please let me know when you start your new blog, The Devil’s Daily Details!

And for all you readers of Three Years or this blog, be sure to check out one of Anthony’s final posts—a magnum opus of advice for law school bloggers. If you’re just getting ready to start a law student blog you should definitely read this post.

Loan Consolidation Time again

One of the best things about being finished w/law school is facing all my debt.

Not.

But face it I must. Interest rates are going up again July 1 so if you’ve got student loans you might want to consolidate. Of course, if you have student loans, I’m sure your lender has made sure you know all about consolidation—perhaps much more than you ever wanted to know. ((Access Group must have called me a dozen times in the last couple of month before I finally told them that if they called me one more time I would go elsewhere to consolidate. They haven’t called since.)) However, in doing my own second consolidation I’ve learned a couple of interesting bits of new info, including:

  1. Private loans have 9 month grace period from date of graduation. You should get a letter 45 days before repayment begins. That letter will tell you when payments are due and allow you to choose your payment plan.
  2. Make sure your lender has your correct address for that 45-day letter! You never want to miss any payments or pay late, obviously, but being late in the first couple years can have even worse consequences than you think. I think. ((Can anyone verify this? I remember something like this from my loan exit info session, but, of course, I didn’t write it down. I remember learning something like if you make all your payments on time in the first three years (or something like that) the lender must (by law) reduce your interest rate by some amount—like a half or quarter percentage point. Does anything like this ring a bell w/anyone? This came in the part of the lecture where the “expert” said that the most common payment to miss or be late on is the first one and that it’s our responsibility to know what’s due and when b/c the lender wins if we ever mess up. Please please comment if you know anything about this b/c, while I’m planning on paying everything on time, I still want to know I’m not remembering things that didn’t happen.))
  3. If you’d like to learn a bit about your loans you might want to with the Student Loan People. Once you login there you should be able to get a list of all your loans, including details about amount you owe, interest rate, and whether the loan is in repayment or deferred, and when your next payment is due. Try the NSLDS for info about your federal loans only.
  4. Judging by the change in my loan amounts from yesterday to today, it looks like I’m paying at least $10/day in interest. That amount will only grow until I start repayment…
  5. The loan consolidation interest rate a year ago was 2.7%; the current consolidation rate (before July 1, 2006) should be 4.7%.
  6. If you consolidated any federal loans last year and you graduate(d) this spring, those loans will go into repayment about a month after you graduate. If you don’t have a job (like me) and you’d like to defer repayment until you do, check w/your loan servicer to get an Economic Hardship Deferment Request.

As interesting as all that is, I’m still not sure what to do about consolidation this time around. Since my last consolidation I’ve borrowed another $18,500 in federal loans I could now consolidate. Those loans have an interest rate of 5.3%. If I consolidated them, they’d only be at 4.7% (but probably a couple tenths more b/c I probably won’t get the lowest available rate). So is it even worth my while?

Loans. So not cool. [tags]debt, loans[/tags]

Graduate This

I almost forgot—GW’s graduation ceremony is today! I was reminded of this when I went to update the daily image and found the photo of the commencement ticket I had put in the queue weeks ago.

Happy Graduation, GW law students! I hope you all have healthy and happy careers! ((Except for those of you who end up simply working to further enrich those who are already wealthy, in which case, I hope you end up being spectacular failures!)) [tags]graduation[/tags]

Maybe I should have gone…

I decided long ago I wouldn’t be participating in law school graduation festivities, but then I get this email about something called a “Dean’s Reception”:

The Dean’s Reception will be held at the National Air and Space Museum. . . This looks to be a fantastic event, with live music on both upper and lower levels, the entire museum open for viewing, IMAX movies showing free of charge, and the flight simulator open all evening. Food and drink will be available at multiple locations throughout the museum.

It sounds kind of cool, doesn’t it? Too bad I gave all my tickets away. But then I see this at the end of the email and I don’t feel so bad:

Professional business attire is suggested for all attendees (coat and tie for gentlemen, business or cocktail attire suitable for a professional event for ladies).

Yeah. No thanks.[tags]graduation, gw[/tags]

Graduation doesn’t mean $%&# (but it’s still good to be done)

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m done with law school, but I just found out that I can say that with even more certainty than I previously thought. See, there was the tiniest chance that maybe I didn’t get a good enough grade in one class for it to count toward graduation. I admit it: I slacked a lot in that class, found it hard to pay attention, was disappointed in the class generally, and barely studied, all of which made me less than confident about how the grade would turn out. However, all of my grades are now in and all of them will definitely count! GW’s J.D. graduation requirements say that a student must complete “84 credit hours, 63 of which must have been taken for a letter grade.” My final (although still unofficial) transcript says:

Finalcredits2-1

And with that, it’s hard for me to think of anything that will make this graduation thing not happen. (((“GPA Hours” in that table mean hours taken for a letter grade—I needed 63 and ended up w/64 so I’m golden.)) I guess it’s not officially official until I have a diploma in my hand, but that should just be a matter of time. ((Even with diploma in hand my mind keeps coming up w/tiny nightmares in which somehow I haven’t really finished and will be dragged back to D.C. for some final hoop jumping. It’s like Agent Smith’s lecture to Morpheus about the tendency for humans to require problems:

Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from.

I’m sure I could string out the comparison, but I’ll leave it that.))

Of course, as Audacity so kindly points out, graduation “doesn’t mean shit until you’ve passed the bar exam.” Don’t I know it! That’s one of the main reasons I’m not participating in or attending any graduation hoopla—it all seems a little premature and pointless when a J.D. is next to worthless w/out admission to the bar. ((Unless, of course, you want to teach or otherwise never intended to practice law. But besides teaching, what other things can you do w/a J.D. w/out being admitted to the bar?))

With that in mind, Audacity offers some tips for preparing for the bar, and there are a few more on Blawg Wisdom. I imagine it seems a little early for most people to get started on bar study in earnest, ((Sadly, some people (like Energy Spatula) still aren’t finished with law school yet.)) but those links will definitely come in handy in a couple of weeks when noses get seriously down to the bar prep grindstone. [tags]graduation, advice[/tags]