Nov 12, 2009

Grades, Ratings, and L.I.F.E

I know the BLOG is still new but I'm so happy with the people who started "following" and those who have been kind enough to leave comments. Its so liberating to know that people care about what I'm writing. I'm taking a class now and the theme is "Revolution". Here is a piece about something we need to look at in 2009 and consider revolting against! Let me know what you think.... :)

Making the Grade

It is the era of acronyms; PSSA, SAT, GRE, LSAT and MCAT. It is a time when a standardize test dictates your future and measures your I.Q. It is a time when people are categorized by a variety of letters - A thru F. When a “grade” is supposed to be indicative of a persons intelligence. These letters shape our self-esteem, life opportunities, career, and in essence, future economic and social standing.

We are lead to believe that when you’re an “A” you walk tall, you’re smart, you’re proud, you’re the best and things come easy. When you’re a “B” you almost made it, it was close, and you know with a little more of something (whatever the hell that may be) you could be better. “C” is viewed as average, generic, in the middle, not good not bad just there. “D” is viewed as just not getting it, maybe showing up, but too lazy to apply yourself. “F” is failure. It starts the word and implies that you’ve learned nothing. Personally, I think these are all “BS” and P.S. who’s the genius that thought up this grading - because they skipped “E”…I’m just saying…

If you’ve ever been to law school or heard about people in law school you know that coffee becomes your best friend and biggest supporter. It motivates you to stay awake. A little piece of warm comfort that keeps you alert, and in my opinion, is one of the few joys of the whole legal experience. So, on one of my million coffee runs to Starbucks I noticed I kept getting a cup with the same silly quote.

“Failure is hard but success is far more dangerous, if you’re successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise, money and opportunity can lock you in forever.”

The first time I read that quote I didn’t understand its meaning. Yet, as the miserable year marched on, the quote started to make much more sense.

No matter what end of the spectrum you sit, you run the risk of ultimate unhappiness. The problem is that we are all defining ourselves with grades and letters. It’s the effect that these letters have on a person that leads to false feelings of success and defeat. The crux of that quote is that when things are socially acceptable and society down right encourages them, it becomes much easier to travel down the wrong path.

I don’t like the idea of fitting into a box and stressing about maintaining, improving or praying to the high heavens that you don’t fall behind. People should not be rated, they should be taught and they should learn. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should all drop out of school and become free-loving hippies. I value education and believe strongly in it. I have always loved school and did exceptionally well. I was the proverbial “A” student, on honor societies and the recipient of various awards. The problem is that I went to law school with my hefty resume and transcript chock full of the coveted A’s to realize that everything wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Getting good grades doesn’t mean that you will be happy or that life choices will be an easier. All it means is that you run the risk of going down the wrong path and no one will notice.

So, after all of this jargon, I have two of my favorite letter combinations to add to the grading epidemic, F.U. I say this not to be harsh but to make clear that the only letters which make any difference are L.I.F.E. Contrary to popular belief, grades do not make you happy, fulfilled, refined, secure, or established. It’s how you deal with those other letters, L.I.F.E. that do. So, I suggest we start paying attention to the right letters and leave the other silly acronyms behind.

Life is hard enough without grading. We should learn to de-program and stop rating ourselves with grades and letters. Its all un-needed pressure. The irony is that we spend all of our academic years trying to fit into a certain category or "box" and the rest of our life trying to break the mold, break the box, and stand out. Its all so exhausting. We all need to be a little kinder to ourselves.


"Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of someone else" ~Judy Garland

Nov 10, 2009

Princesses, Twists and Growing Up

An old friend commented on my first Blog Entry and his comment jarred my memory. He made me think of a piece I wrote while I was frustrated in law school. I referenced writing as an avenue I exercised to vent my frustration last year, so it’s only fair I show an example of what I was talking about.

The piece I’ve posting below is about the haunting age-old question of “What do you want to be when we grow up?” I think that most people have struggled with the pressure of this question at some point in their lives- even if it is just in retrospect. My struggle with this question proved to be the catalyst for my self-exploration.

My first Blog was written in a “Straight Up” style. This blog entry is an example of what I call “With a Twist”- enjoy! :)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“What do you want to be when you grow up”…it seems easy enough. Prima facie, it appears to be a very nonchalant question that falls in line with; “What’s your favorite color” or “Where is your favorite place to go on vacation”. But don’t be fooled, it’s really a loaded question…one that I thought I could answer at many times in my life.

When I was five I wanted to be a princess and as the years progressed on, so did my answer….sign language teacher, geologist, meteorologist, dancer (that one had sticking power), writer, journalist, lawyer, professional traveler (is that even a real job?)

But here I sit at 24years old. Having four years of college, a Bachelors degree, life experience studying in Rome Italy and Washington DC; Work experience interning and being trapped in a cubical; One year of law school under my belt and I am currently in graduate school! At this point you would think I would have some more direction- but ya know what….I have no solid idea about what I really want to be when I grow up.

In fact the thought of answering that question gives me a rush of unwelcome anxiety. I thought I knew what I wanted to be, but that was when life’s problems were getting a ride to an after school dance, or whether it was going to rain on Saturday because I had plans to be outside. The problems weren’t student loans, living expenses, relationships, credit cards, health issues, insurance, car payments and allocation of time spent at work.

So, I’ve decided that I hate that question. I wish with all the tests and quizzes I’ve taken over the years that I could just answer a few multiple choice questions (courtesy of a Scantron Sheet) and an instant result would tell me what I should “be.”

When your whole life is mapped out according to semesters of schooling, sports seasons and holiday schedules- its difficult to forget the planning and accept the mantra of “figure it out as you go.” The truth is that it’s much easier to work toward something when you know where you’re going. The unknown is the scary part. The unknown is what you are forced to face when you finally forgo the idea of remaining a “Toy’s R Us” kid. The unknown is stuff that leaves you uneasy.

This is what I do know……
I want to be happy, I want to travel, I want to make a lot of money (and if not a lot then ENOUGH) I want to fall in love (real love, across an ocean and everlasting love) I want to be a mother and have children and I want to be a good person. I want luck, success, comfort and security. I want to make a difference, I want people to be proud of me, and most I want to be proud of myself.

Looking over this list, I feel like I’ve covered all the major bases. Sadly however, this list is not a job description, a career, a plan, a mission or even a passion… As I sit and look over this list, I’ve realized that I’ve come full circle. This list may be most compatible with my five year old evaluation- so maybe it would be best if could just put an application out to be a Princess. Does anyone know if they are hiring?


Growing up is hard. Figuring out yourself, your purpose and your path is even harder. I think the secret to being happy and fulfilled is a balance. Maybe we are supposed to juggle the balance between holding onto our five-year old perceptions of what is important in life and balance it alongside our newly developed and mature ideas of passion, dreams, intellect and purpose.


"Nothing in life, that is worth anyhing, comes easy" -Unknown

FIRST BLOG- a little about me and a my quest to believe in the beauty...

This is my first post on my official blog- how exciting! do I give a shortened introduction of myself? Hmmm....Well I'm 24 (hence the 20Something in the title) and recently people have been asking me "Aren't you in law school?" So I think maybe I should start with answering that question...

Short Answer: No
Detailed Answer: Law School induced what felt like a mid-life crisis in August. (See Below)

You see, I was in my first year of law school last year. I should have been happy, I should have been confident, I should have been finding myself- unfortunately everything was the exact opposite for me. I was miserable, I was doubting everything I was doing, everything I have ever accomplished and I was losing myself.

I completed the awful first year (and yes its as dramatic exhausting and tedious as people claim it to be) I was overworked, overcaffeinated and overtired. I had the summer off where I worked for a Judge, spent almost every weekend at my beach house and went on a Euro-Vacation to Paris and Belgium! It was a great summer-until I remembered that in August I was due to go back to the hell that I call law school. (Wah Wah Wahhhhhhhh BOOM)

Then it hit me. Why the hell was I torturing myself? Why was i forcing myself to do something that I hated? I thought about this.... and came up with possible answers:
  1. "It would be worth it in the long run" -No that didn't see like it would pan out. If I hate it already, its not going to miraculously get better. Truth is, I'll probably still hate it in 10 years.
  2. "I'm supposed to like law school, I have been working toward this goal my whole life!" - Well that doesn't work, because, even though I was SUPPOSED to like it, I didn't- end of story.
  3. I got it... How about because "They say that if you like to read and write, then law school is the place for you." - This one I had to spend some time with. This one brought up a few questions. First of all....WHO the hell are the infamous "THEY" and second where the hell are "they" because I'd like to find them, smack them in the face, and inform them of how wrong they are.

So much for finding a reason to keep torturing myself...then I found a solution to my dilemma. Enter Solution:

I hate law school, but I DO like to read and write. In fact I love to read and write. Even more, through all of my frustration and misery of the past year I have been writing just for myself. I have been using writing as an avenue to vent my frustration. I have been writing as a desperate attempt to hold onto who I really am. I am passionate about writing because- I'm a writer-

I'm a writer? That sounds weird to say- REAL writers are people who get published and go to book signings at Borders and Barns & Nobles. REAL Writers work at magazines and newspapers. REAL writers create pieces that people read and respect. Wow how great would it be a REAL writer?! I want to be a REAL writer!

So in August I dumped Law School and decided to start believeing in the beauty of my own dreams and ditch the crap about what i'm "supposed" to do. So, I applied to a Master's Program at St. Joseph's University in "Writing Studies!" I've been applying to jobs in my new field, and I started this blog. I'm on the road to being a REAL writer.

Yes I know the economy sucks and this may be the worst time in history (with the exception of the great depression) to be making major life changes- but what are you gona do? All begginnings are scary so what better time than now? Hey....this is what people do when there 20something!

SHORT AND SWEET...AKA...MORAL OF THE BLOG (In law school they say "condense the nonsense!" I never really caught onto that concept but here is my best attempt.) --> This is a blog about a nobody from suburban Philadelphia who went to law school with a hefty resume, and a transcript chock full of coveted "A’s" all to realize that everything wasn’t all its cracked up to be. Sometimes what your supposed to do is overrated and what you dream of doing is "do-able."

Maybe you can identify with my situation, understand where I'm coming from, or are just plain interested (even if you think I'm full of shit and have made the biggest mistake of my life) follow my blog and come along for the ride!



"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams"
-Eleanor Roosevelt