By Diane, 1E
As a working mother, I had fantasies of enjoying a solid month of leisure before beginning my first year of law school as an evening student. I wanted to spend the last 30 days of my summer in my pj’s reading law-related books, watching Game of Thrones (GOT) on DVD, and relaxing in Santa Barbara with my husband.
Alas, this fantasy was not realized. I wound up mad-scrambling to organize my life, getting no further than the 3rd chapter of One L and the 6th episode of GOT. I did manage a to toss in a weekend in Solvang, courtesy of LivingSocial, with my husband. And, I managed to complete Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (a book which effectively made me very curious about international human rights law).
How did the rest of my summer unfold and why was it so chaotic? Well, I’ve been working as a realtor and property manager for over 2 years. It’s a career that started after almost 4 years of living abroad in Europe (France and Romania) post-undergrad. My job in real estate allows me to have a flexible schedule, but it also requires potential 7-day workweeks. Last summer, I had several lease listings to find tenants for, and one of those properties was my own.
In January, my dad tragically succumbed to pancreatic cancer; during that difficult time, I decided to move back in with my mom to keep her company. I subsequently remodeled my own home with the intention to rent it out as a source of passive income (not a bad thing to have when you plan on going to law school). After the remodel, I used my uninhabited condo as a “study haven” (away from my adorable but demanding son and dogs) for my LSAT preparation. The arrangement worked out nicely, and I managed to score within my scope of expectation.
Once the LSAT was behind me, I had to find tenants not only for my own home but also for several other listings I had on the market in the South Bay. I spent weeks shuffling from point A to point B, running credit reports, reviewing rental applications, and showing properties.
Over the span of about 2 months, 6 properties were leased, including my own. I then had the challenge of vacating my condo and merging the contents of 2 households without appearing like a hoarder (I thought my condo was sparsely furnished, but apparently not—and my mother’s home was housing artifacts that could be displayed in museums, they were so old). Reorganizing a home that had been accumulating stuff since I was in elementary school proved to be a daunting task. Slowly but surely, my new life back in my mom’s home began to emerge. My 4-year-old son and 2 dogs welcomed the change—they liked having the extra attention from Grandma and the added luxury of a backyard.
Of course, I also managed to squeeze in some social events, including a weekend getaway in Las Vegas for my high school friend’s bachelorette and a night of “Loyola Law School Admission Celebration” in Santa Monica with friends and co-workers. I guess, in retrospect, my last summer before law school wasn’t all that bad. The series of events forced me to make compromises—I’m still a little sad about not completing One L or the available discs of GOT. But, isn’t that what law school is all about—buckling down and sacrificing a few luxuries for the greater good? Only time will tell, but from what I gather so far, I think the 7 years I’ve had to “grow up” after undergrad have prepared me well for the challenges that await this 1E student.