Go Ahead, Lecture Me

I am usually fond of guest speakers for two reasons. First, because they provide a break from your usual professor- and it’s always good to have some variety. And second, because they tend to be very important people. Let’s face it, not many professors like to give their lecture time to others- after all, scholars love to hear themselves talk. So when they do, I assume there’s a very special reason behind it.

This time around, we had some smart scholar from Indonesia, who came to talk to us about Islam and Democracy. This scholar had a very serious demeanor and a thick accent. He also used the microphone way too close, which made understanding him the more problematic. After seeing the block paragraphs in his slides, my excitement plummeted. In fact, at a certain point I stopped taking notes, because I simply couldn’t follow.

Via talknerdy2me.org

During my college years (Ha! I sound old), I’ve come to appreciate good lecturers. I’m not necessarily asking for my professors to be standup comedians, but if we, the students, don’t understand what the lecturer is trying to convey, we ain’t going anywhere. Although I dislike admitting to it, sometimes learning can be extremely boring (there’s a reason why some people become jocks, right?).

The question is then: Is it too much to ask for professors to at least try to make their material more accesible? Perhaps universities should offer a workshop on public speaking? Now please don’t think I’m siding with the people who text their way through class because they deem such class to be boring. Rather I’m siding with those who try really hard to get the most out of such brilliant scholars, yet they are unable to because of the lecturer’s poor public speaking skills.

What do you guys think? Did you have a professor who made it very easy for you to fall asleep?

By the way, here’s a pretty cool article on one such professor who goes the extra mile for his students, yet I haven’t been able to take one of his classes:

http://today.ucla.edu/portal/ut/historian-will-deliver-112th-faculty-232267.aspx

Mrs. This One

Advertisements

The Life of a College Intern

There is no question that I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up for my internship. I wanted to be an intern ever since I was a freshman, but the opportunity never came along. Well, let me rephrase that, I could never afford to forgo work in order to do an internship. However, during my junior year, I found myself with the opportunity and a supporting partner- so I became an intern.

I wanted  it to be related to the legal field, but I also didn’t want to be in a firm, getting coffee for everyone. Though I must say I love Starbucks runs. The opportunity then was working for the Small Claims Advisory Program*. There I advice self-help litigants on the procedure of small claims court. I have learned a great deal about civil procedure, but Small Claims is still significantly different from what I want to do- for starters, Small Claims Court doesn’t allow attorneys unless there is an appeal. And even then, they are allowed, but not required.

I have gone through over two-thirds of the program so far, and until recently, my experience had been mixed. Unlike most college students who get to intern, I am also working part-time. This situation produces schedule conflict, and an overly tired and overworked intern- me. Yet, even with how mixed my experience has been, I still thought it to be worth it and would recommend it to anyone. Why?

Unlike most part-time jobs you can get, internships usually allow you to get some experience in your field. This helps graduate and professional schools (if that’s your goal) to see that you do know what you’re getting yourself into. Most interns are grouped into a handful of interns under the supervision of a staff person who might get to know you well enough to write you a recommendation letter. Furthermore, being an intern takes a great deal of commitment. Let’s face it, if you can be responsible when you’re not getting a paycheck at the end of the week, imagine the kind of work ethic you would have when there’s an economic incentive attached to your contract? And last, but not least, being able to balance an internship with school and your social life shows that you can balance your life and this is a quality employers (and grad  and professional schools) really like.

The cool part (for me, at least) is that my internship came with really awesome perks. Despite of the great deal of whining that has come out of my mouth because of the commute to downtown L.A. (don’t judge unless you’ve lived it), I’ve got a chance to do two very cool things.

On Monday, I got to shadow a judge. This was one of the most amazing experience I’ve had in my life. The judge was from the juvenile dependency court. And even though I am not allowed to speak about what happened, let me say that it was so touching, that I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up representing children for a living. When people talk about “making a difference,” this is truly a place and career in which you could actually (and directly) make a difference.

Fast forward to this morning, when I got to chaperone high school students to a mock trial at a District Court. Now this experience wasn’t as eye-opening as the last one, but there is something about public service that rewards you in ways other things do not.

Anyhow, are you thinking of doing an internship? Go for it! And if you haven’t thought about it yet, hopefully this post might encourage you to try it. It’s really never too late to do one, I am a senior. AND! I almost forgot. It is also a nice way to expand your network.

-Mrs. This One 

*Although I am an intern for such office, my internship is not directly with that office.


Sometimes Growing Feels Right

A few days ago I was feeling nostalgic about childhood. Well, I was really just missing the days when I didn’t have a job.

The other day when I was at work, I realized that I was glancing at the clock every other minute. I didn’t necessarily mean to do so, but wanting to be outside those doors kept me waiting for the time I’d be off. I wondered how many people felt like this on a daily basis.

Wouldn’t it be great to love so much what you’re doing, to the point that you often forget to look at how long it’ll be until get you off? I know a lot of people often talk about this. “Better to be a taxi driver if that’s what you love to do, than be a CEO and hate it.” But of course I’ve never heard a CEO complain about their jobs.

In any case, I’ve been reading one of my future professor’s work. Her specialty is witness testimony in a courtroom. She’s just brilliant. Reading her work made me regret the fact that I didn’t study science, but it also made me look forward to what’s ahead for me. If I’m lucky, this means countless of hours spent doing something  I’m enjoy, and getting paid for it!

This is exactly when growing finally feels right.

-Mrs. This One


Another Dimension Maybe?

Tonight I watched an episode of One Tree Hill that focused on letting go of relationships (mostly friendships) because people come and go. This episode was from the last season, but to those who have watched this show long term, you’d know that one of the main themes in this show has been that “people always leave.”

P. Sawyer's Work

Coincidentally, I texted an old friend who is currently in the process of applying to schools. Seeing a news story about UCLA sending out admissions offers in error to some 800 applicants (don’t get me started with this) made me think of her and I got curious enough to ask if she had heard from schools already. To my surprise, she let me know that she had deleted my phone number because she didn’t feel our friendship was healthy. I didn’t really bother to ask her for details and simply wished her luck with schools. The fact that I didn’t fight for it, might hint to trouble in our friendship. But really I didn’t see our relationship as having any kind of trouble. In fact, I thought our friendship would be the kind in which our future children would become good friends. Little did I know.

The weird thing is that I’ve also felt like I’m losing other old friends- including my closest friend. But at the same time, I’m gaining new friends. I’m not sure if this means that it is true that people always leave. But if I keep going at this rate, I will not have people to reminisce with twenty years from now. In fact, as of right now I don’t even have childhood friends since I’ve moved so much in my life.

Mrs. This One


You Know It’s Time To Slow Down When…

It was the beginning of September of last year. I was finishing up a summer full of work and classes, plus several training sessions for the internship I’d be doing for the upcoming academic year. I was scheduled to take the LSAT, and I really needed to get started on my applications. In addition, the fall quarter would start soon, and I was scheduled to take 16 units, including 12 honors units. Something wasn’t right. 

The problem wasn’t that I spread myself too thinly. The problem was that I approached the situation at hand poorly. My doctor kept trying to get me to do yoga, and to “talk to myself” about the problem. She also really wanted me to seek help. And I tried to, but it is incredibly difficult to schedule an appointment with the counseling services at UCLA. I suppose we’re all too stressed. 

My health deteriorated quickly. I would snap at my wife constantly for not being able to get a good score on Reading Comprehension. I became this person I hope I’ll never see again. Though my bad and bitter mood wasn’t my main concern. I fell sick. The type of sick where you need to see your doctor every day, and you are weak all the time. This made things worse. 

I stopped working. My wife stepped up and began to work for the both of us; in addition to taking me to the doctor and making sure I was taking my pills on time. I missed a lot of days in my internship. I couldn’t take the October LSAT, and almost missed the December. Actually, I probably shouldn’t have taken it then, but I couldn’t postpone it any longer. I struggled with my classes because I didn’t do well with the narcotics. I didn’t want to, but I was forced to slow down. No more yelling, no more stressing. I couldn’t even walk at the same speed I do when healthy. 

I am ashamed that it had to get this bad for me to get it. But I did. I have felt overwhelmed since then, but I strongly believe I’m a lot better now. One of my professors said it better: “problems are problems because we make them be that.” You may disagree, but in my eyes, he’s a genius. I could have been excited to take the LSAT and show off my abilities, or that I would be challenged with honor courses- instead, I chose the low road and made things worse in the end. 

I know it may sound obvious to say that how you approach things makes a difference, but is it? You’re in control of your thoughts, ideas, and attitudes. You may not be able to control if someone crashes into your car, but you’re definitely capable of controlling how you’ll react after. Will you be stress and crying or will you stop and realize that this is just another part of life (accidents happen…)? It’s up to you.

Mrs. This One


College, Hoops, News, and More!

Can you believe there was a study released accusing the University of California schools from providing an “unbalanced education” (i.e. We’re too liberal) to the detriment of the students? The article came out a few days ago in the LA Times, and although I’d love to link to it, now you gotta pay to read the LA Times.

Maybe it’s the fact I’m graduating, but this study is very offensive to me (and to other students, I’m sure). As a political science major, I get to have the fun discussions about politics. Although most of my professors don’t say it, it is usually easy to tell that they lean to the left. However, this sentiment is never forced upon us. In fact, my professors have usually encouraged conservative students to speak up to counterbalance the view in the classroom.

However, even if this weren’t the case, this study missed an important thing. Part of UCLA’s greatness (in my opinion) is its left-leaning composition. The same way Chapman University students probably love its right-leaning composition. Isn’t that just part of college culture? There’s a reason why Berkeley or Harvard or MIT attract a certain type of students. Sure, balance is always needed, but you can only balance so much!

To be clear, I’ve been a strong critic of UCLA- but my criticism is mostly directed at the bureaucracy. UCLA really is a great institution with a lot of perks. For example, when in my Politics of Economic Development my professors asked how many students had spent more than a week in a developing country, I was so happy to see that at least 85% students raised there hands. You know how hard that is to find somewhere else?

In any case, there’s a certain feeling of relief knowing that this is my last quarter. Thankfully law school is on the semester system. I did very well last quarter, and I plan to rally through this quarter to graduate with latin honors. Because of this, I will be busy almost every minute of every day. Though in the mean time, I’m watching the Kansas-Kentucky game.

In case you’re wondering, my money is on Kansas.

-Mrs. This One


I Didn’t Win the Lottery

I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t believe it could happen when I held that ticket in my hand. Why not? It happens to some people, why couldn’t it be us? The reality is that we’re trapped by human nature. Most of us wish for things we don’t have. Why? Because we don’t have them. Think about it. Look around you and find something you really wanted to buy. How long did you stop caring about it after you bought it?

What would I have done with all that money? Pay my debt (insert three years of law school tuition here) and those of our families. I would have put money away for the college tuition of my kids, my little sister, and my wife’s little cousin. I would have given some away to people who needed it. Then I would have invested the rest. Oh wait, I would have taken my grandmother on a cruise. See, my grandmother grew up in poverty and never had much. Sometimes I’m bothered by the fact that my fridge has more food than she ever saw growing up. I’d like to give her a trip. A nice vacation. Though she’d probably be content with just having me around. Grandmothers…

The dream has ended though, and I’m back to real life. I think the Mrs. mentioned someone in Maryland scored. Good for them. They probably needed it more since they live in that state. Just kidding. Kind of.

-Mrs. This One


On a Schedule

A lot has happen, yet my mind can think of so little at this point. It is almost midnight, so that may be a factor.

There are two days left on my spring break. I will be spending those two days interning. I don’t know about you, but I’d say this is the life, right? No, you’re right, I’d rather be in Lake Tahoe.

Here’s the thing though, life is really good right now. I can’t believe things worked out so well for us. After spending the last weekend in Orange County, I definitely saw myself living there. Either for the next three years or for the long term. Yes, I feel like I’ve betrayed every Democrat out there, but unfortunately one’s gotta make a living.

I’ve met so many people in the past few days. I’m learning again to network. I used to be good at it, then I got married and the rest of the world stop being important. But now that the rest of the world could give me a job after graduation, they matter again, a lot.

What’s next then? One more quarter at UCLA, graduation, the summer, then it’ll be moving day! Crazy, right?


Finals Season

If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to attend a university on the quarter system, you’d know that the saying “if you snooze, you lose” has never been truer. It feels like midterms happened last week. Now I’m already working on finals.

Thanks to the indecisiveness of one of my professors, I have a final paper due this coming Wednesday instead of Finals Week (which takes places next week). Due to the change coming so late in the term, I was unable to request time off from work. This is the beauty of being a working student.

Though I should admit that I am to blamed as well, I should have used my time wisely. I did catch up on some homework, met with a study group for a different class, AND applied to one of the scholarships in my list! Okay so maybe I haven’t been so terrible after all. All I got to do is keep reminding myself that after the next ten days, I will be checking into a hotel with my wife for Admitted Students Weekend. Not so terrible after all.

-Mrs. This One 


College Student Resume Tips [Revised]

After my dear fellow blogger, Deborah, posted “A Love Letter,” I had some thoughts of my own on essay writing and putting the best of you on paper. As I mentioned earlier, I am in the process of hunting and applying for scholarships. This comes just right after 20 applications for law school. Yes, I did say 20. Needless to say, I am not looking forward to more applications, but I could use a scholarship (or ten), so this is what I will be doing when I’m not working, studying, interning, or living.

A current resume is one of the most commonly asked components for scholarship applications. Because of this, I went through my current work and academic resumes. These happened to be the ones that I used for law school applications. My first diagnostic was: What was I thinking? There was nothing wrong per se with the resumes, but I didn’t connect with them. They didn’t make me look at them and think “wow!” I was a bit upset that I even let law school admissions staff look at them in the first place. But I suppose in the big scope of things, it didn’t matter all that much since I’m going to the school I wanted to go to anyway.

After some browsing on how to craft resumes, I was a bit confused as to what format was the right one to go with. So I decided to go with what I’d call the best advice I could give to any college student working on their resume: Keep it simple, clean, and professional.

I made my name bigger than anything else and centered it along with my contact information right below it. Then I added the different sections (i.e Education). I used font, bolding, italics, and capitalization in a way that would highlight what I considered to be important to grab the reader’s attention. The outcome: The best resumes I’ve ever come up with. I even felt as a more accomplished individual after printing them out.

Lastly, don’t you give up until you look at it and think “wow.”

Edit: Mine looks something like this:

Mrs. This One – Resume

-MTO

P.S. Thank you Deborah for writing such a beautiful post that made me try harder.


%d bloggers like this: