I’m trying to get a good chunk of my Wrongful Convictions paper done (how inquisitorial systems of justice deal with some of the major factors that cause wrongful convictions in the US adversarial system). So naturally I thought I’d write a blog post instead.

Today’s topic is friends outside of law school.

I came to law school six years out of college, and two years out of grad school. I do historical re-enactment with the SCA, and that is where the bulk of my non-law school friends are from. I also have a group of friends from my tae kwon do school (who I haven’t seen is FAR TOO FUCKING LONG) and internet friends from all over the place- some local, some not. I also have a kick-ass roommate who is not involved in this law school crap at all. More about that in a bit.

And for real, I could not be doing the law school thing without them. The thing with law school is it eats your brain. And your life. And being able to go to people who knew me Before, and are not involved means I can go out with them and not be a law student for a little while. (That doesn’t stop me from practicing cross-examination skills on them, or discussing the various forms of hearsay exclusions, but they politely let me ramble or just say “Red, your mouth is moving. You might want to see to that.”)

Having the internet and social media has helped a great deal, too. I know what’s going on with them, even if I don’t have time to actually spend TIME with my friends. My posting has gone way down on Livejournal and Facebook (but not Twitter- though Twitter is the Law Kid’s Support Group, so….), but I at least skim.

It’s very easy to lose yourself into the morass of law school, and if you’ve moved to a new city where all you know is your classmates, it’s hard to not go out with them and just eat each other’s stress. I absorb other people’s stress- it’s very annoying. When I came back after Thanksgiving break and had lunch with some of my classmates, I came back home a stressed out mess and my roommate was like, “….you were FINE until you went back to school.”

Oh, empathy.

Anyway, while it is important to keep your old friends, they won’t always understand why you can’t hang out, or why you’re a bundle of stress, or why you keep muttering about all that Pennoyer crap, or why Palsgraf is a stupid case. Some people will get mad and take it personally, when really it’s just an artifact. But they probably would have gotten mad no matter what you did with your life. So it is important to also have friends who know what the hell is going on with you.

I know my section last year really came together after the Contracts fall final- it was horrendous and the essay didn’t seem to have a THING to do with what we had learned. And going to the bar afterwards was really a time of bonding – I wrote in my LJ that, “Here’s the weird thing (or maybe not so weird) after the post traumatic exam bar run, we’re like, all besties now. People who I didn’t think knew my name were letting me huff their drinks and fist bumping as I left. It was kind of awesome.” (and the hungover faces in the library the next morning were also kind of funny).

(One thing I love about my friends- law school and non-law school alike, is that they are mostly used to and very tolerant of my grabbing their drinks, taking a big huff, and giving them back. Last night at Bar Review, I did that to someone new, and impressed him that I was able to identify the beer he was drinking straight off. heh.)

The thing that’s great about my roommate not being in law school is that when I come home, I only have to deal with what ever I bring with me. Sure, her life is crazy, and she has her own stresses, but having “home” and “school” be two very distinct places is enormously helpful. (That’s also one reason I generally try to not study at home, and when I do, never in bed. Bed is for sleeping and bed-related activities. Studying is not a bed-related activity.) She will also listen to me blather, and sometimes I study by explaining things to her and she’ll nod politely, ask questions, and declare that Pennoyer is a stupid name. Which it is. And by explaining it, that means I understand it better.

I do compartmentalize my life an awful lot- to the point that there are different names involved with which group I’m with at any given time (though “Red” tends to cut across all boundries). And even though I would much rather be at an SCA event right now, I really should get cracking on this stupid paper.

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