Monday, February 06, 2006

on volunteering and writing as a 1L

So, yeah, I am still a 1L, so who knows if I am the best person to be dispensing such advice, but I feel pretty strongly about this: don't volunteer unless it's something you are passionate about, especially if it involves writing. I missed the memo at the beginning of the semester warning that this semester is infinitely harder than the last. Yowza, you're not kidding. I've got an extra class as compared to last semester and my major paper for my writing class is due about a month earlier in the semester.

So, in short, I think my helper monkey goodness was a poor choice. If you volunteer during 1L, you've got to choose something that has an exact time commitment. Every other week from 6-8, that kind of thing. I thought writing the paper would be exciting, interesting and useful. But it hasn't been. It's been an exercise in frustration. honestly, it's hard to write a good persuasive paper when you don't buy your position. Not impossible to do, just hard. The other thing is, in general (based on my experience and those of some of my peers), it turns out that many non-profits are, well, organizationally challenged. I spun my wheels trying to contact some people across the nation that this org had given me as "good starting points". Only to discover... that everything those contacts could give me, those same contacts had already shared with the same org I am working with. Would it have killed them to go through their email and give me what they already had? And there are no length requirements or restrictions, no particular focus. It's just frustrating. And someone as anal and type A as I am has a hard time saying, OK, here's my line, I will not go farther than x for this paper.

I did send the org a rough draft this morning. One of two things will happen, ok, three... 1) they'll say it's fine as it is, and we'll be done (god willing), 2) they'll say, nononooo, we wanted it to be like xyz, at which point I will bite through my tongue and sit on my hands to avoid exclaiming rather rudely that I have been asking for that VERY SAME INFO for the last month! or 3) (and this is the most likely) they will sit on it for a few weeks and send me a nasty gram about the end of Feb when my appellate brief is due asking if I was planning on every writing their paper, to which I will reply by forwarding the email and attachment that I sent them this morning.

Sigh. Very frustrated right now, but then, I'm no dummy, and that's why I said in my email with the draft that I would not be doing any further work on the paper until I got comments back from them.

Lesson learned.


law school chick said...

I missed the memo on this semester being harder also. I was naive enough to think that this one would be easier since things would be more routine! Who was I kidding.

Good luck with everything!

Nick said...

the memo we've got to write is only 12-15 pages, and we've got over 2 months to do it...

it's all kind of easy, if you ask me... i was kind of surprised...