Everything I’ve needed to know as a 20-something, I’ve learned from the Spice Girls

The Spice Girls’ first album, Spice, was a life-affirming, soul-pumping, beat-pounding thing of beauty. I memorized every lyric and every dance move to all 10 songs on that cassette. It was the soundtrack to my prepubescent days of feather boas and sparkly sunglasses, and remains one of my favorite albums to put on if I’m feeling like I need a throwback.

However, its meaning goes far beyond simple nostalgia and dance  parties.

JUST LOOK AT THOSE SHOES

After 12 years of public education, 4 years of higher education, and a year into law school, I have learned one thing and one thing only – the Spice Girls taught me everything that I’ve needed to know to survive my 20s thus far.

Here are the life lessons to be gained from each track:

 

1.  Wannabe

If you want my future,  forget my past 
If you wanna get with me, better make it fast

At some point in your semi-adult existence, you reach a point where your past becomes irrelevant and you get sick and tired of playing “the game.” You want a partner to take you as the fabulous creature you are, fully knowing that you come complete with a past and baggage, yet choosing to love you for those flaws regardless.

 

2.  Say You’ll Be There

Now you tell me that you’ve fallen in love,
Well I never ever thought that would be
This time you gotta take it easy throwing far too much emotion at me

Ah, the dreaded “friend-zone” – when one person in a friendship decides to take their feeling to another level, it can be an awkward situation for the one who doesn’t reciprocate. Tell ‘em to take a few steps back and talk it out.

 
3.  2 Become 1

Be a little bit wiser baby, put it on, put it on, 
‘Cause tonight is the night when two become one

Wrap it up, kids. Baby Spice says it’s the smart thing to do, and the words of Baby Spice are the true gospel.

 
4. Love Thing

God help the mister, yeah God help the mister, 
That comes between me and my sisters

At this point in your life as a 20-something, you have at least one friend who is more family than some of your third-cousins-five-times-removed. They are your ride or die. They have been with you through every weird definitive moment that has rocked your world in recent history. They are superior over just about every other relationship that can be created. You don’t mess with them.

GIRL POWER, LOSERS.

 

5.  Last Time Lover

I wouldn’t tell just anybody about the fox that I’ve been chasing, 
He’s resistant not persistent, it didn’t stop me from homing in, 
‘Cause I’m choosy not a floozy, I get my hit and then I run with it 

Sometimes, it’s best to keep your mouth shut about your recent paramours and conquests, and it’s undoubtedly better to go for quality over quantity at this point in your life. At the very least, save the good stories for brunch.

 

 

6.  Mama

Mama I love you, Mama my friend, my friend 
I didn’t want to hear it then but I’m not ashamed to say it now, 
Every little thing you said and did was right for me

Every mother should get a paycheck bonus for successfully navigating their daughters through high school and college and turning them from hormonal messes into semi-functioning, mostly-competent adults. Your mom is your best friend and #1 champion, and as much as we hate to admit it, she’s always right. ALWAYS.

 

 

7.  Who Do You Think You Are?

You have got to reach on up, never lose your soul, 
You have got to reach on up, never lose control

First off, this song is totally underrated. Like, I want to hear this song on the dancefloor when I go out next weekend. Such quality.

Anyway, Mel C. is on point when she’s yelling at you to remain humble, even in the midst of massive success. You might be a superstar, but you’ve still got to prove your worth – even if doing so requires that you swing it and groove it.

 

8.  Something Kinda Funny

Happiness is just a state of your mind
Keep searching, who knows what you may find?
Rules are for fools, and fool’s paradise is hard to find

There’s no prescribed way to live your life, and finding your own happiness and bliss isn’t something that you can simply follow the rules to achieve. Strive for your own idea of well-being, and don’t allow negativity along the way keep you from establishing something legitimate and wonderful.
9.  Naked

Naked 
Nothing but a smile upon her face 
Naked

Being in various states of undress rules. I’m hesitant to reveal how much of my time at home is spent not wearing pants (it gives me a reason to invest in cute underwear, right?), but this song is about a girl owning up and finally being true to herself.

We should all do more of that, and by “that” I mean being honest with yourself and not wearing pants.
10.  If You Can’t Dance

If you can’t dance, if you can’t dance 
If you can’t dance, if you can’t dance 
If you can’t dance to this you can’t do nothing for me baby.

This might just be me, but I dance disco in my kitchen while making dinner every night. Dancing your way through life just makes everything a little better, and we should all aim to find someone whose two-step matches up with ours.

 

On punctuation and finishing the first year.

This long-overdue post began as a wide amalgamation of ideas pertaining to the end of my first year of law school. The growing number of discarded essays in my drafts folder is a testament to how scatterbrained I’ve been over these past few weeks with regard to the parts of my life that aren’t dedicated to deciphering the Constitution or the comprehension of future estates. However, after ten grueling months and several thousand cups of coffee, the first year of law school drew to a close two weeks ago.

There’s a lot of be said about finishing a year of an educational endeavor. In elementary school, the last days of class were periods at the ends of sentences, marking the finish line for small, important achievements. The last days in middle school were seen more as semicolons, linking several complete and brief clauses together, and the following September always seemed closer than it actually was. High school years were marked with exclamation points and the promise of a newfound freedom at the end of the paragraph. College years were marked with ellipses, allowing them to flow together into a train of thought that abruptly ended after four years.

Ending the first year of grad school, though, has been an entirely different experience. Ending the first year of grad school was a dash.

The New York Times states that the dash is a rare type of grammatical device that is hardly subject to the stringent rules that frustrate so many writers. The dash can be used as a pause, as a parenthetical, or to indicate a disjointed change in subject matter or tone. It provides a different type of feeling to a sentence and injects the words on a page with an urgency and life that a colon or set of parentheses simply can’t provide.

This past year has taken everything I’ve known to be true about myself – my future, my interests, my drive at its very core – and shaken those beliefs from their branches, simply to question them as to why they felt entitled to belong up there in the first place. It’s caused me to suddenly stop my normal flow, figure out my life in law school, and then resume my existence with newfound knowledge placed between two small horizontal lines.

The first year of law school was an abrupt and unexpected pause, parenthetical, and disjointed change in the previously seamless flow of my words on a page. It’s been one of the strangest, hardest experiences – but the one from which I’ve gained the most.

Not everything in life is going to be as predictable as a comma, as definite as a period, or as confusing as a semicolon. Not every ellipses leads to the completion of a thought. Sometimes, life throws you a curveball and puts a dash in your sentence – but, it’s there to clarify, elaborate, and change your direction for the better.

calm down, chicken little.

Everybody knows the story of Chicken Little. She goes around yelling that the sky is falling, gathers other people who believe her hearsay, and generally causes a ruckus. In actuality, an acorn fell on her head.

Chicken Little probably had a lot of issues and should have done some yoga or found a new shrink.

That aside, there’s something to be said for our frantic poultry friend. If you’ve spent any semblance of time on the internet over the past 3 years, you’ve undoubtedly encountered list-based articles or videos on websites such as Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and (to my marked dismay) Thought Catalog. Many of these “listicles” boast titles that are drenched in utter hyperbole, ranging from topics such as “15 best makeup tips” to “25 of the absolute greatest ways literally FREAKING EVER to spread peanut butter on toast.” Don’t get me wrong, they’re certainly entertaining, but sometimes the articles tend to take on a more bombastic and excessive tone.

If you find yourself taking it personally that you haven’t experienced “seven of the most epic ways that pizza has saved the world,” it might be time to pump the brakes.

Maintaining some semblance of rationality and perspective is often surprisingly difficult, and the feeling of minor life stressors encroaching upon your day-to-day existence can feel amplified if you lose sight of the bigger picture. When you have a lot going on, sometimes the added pressure of an unexpected small task – call it an acorn, if you will – can seem like an insurmountable obstacle. It’s easy to lose sight of the greater perspective, and the incessant bombardment of hyperbole on social media only increases the closed-universe feeling. Similar to how needlessly excessive some articles on Buzzfeed appear to be, our stress and difficulties lend themselves to unwarranted overstatement.

There’s a fine line between witty exaggeration and excessive use of hyperbole. While the first instance can be entertaining, the second instance creates a situation where everything is inflated – we’re placing too much credence in an acorn as a harbinger of imminent doom.

What we need to remember, though, is that the sky isn’t always falling.

Some things are truly worth creating a fuss about, but generally, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by amplifying the severity of a simple situation.  Take a step back and realize that everything is temporary.  Just like Chicken Little eventually realized she had gone a little too far by forecasting the end of days, sometimes you just need to pause for a moment and re-evaluate your situation.

Or, if that doesn’t work, you can always just waste some time on the internet instead.

febru-recap (& more BAD HAIKUS!)

CAPTAIN’S LOG:

Day 191 in the tundra. Still snowing.  Sunlight hasn’t broken through overcast skies for two weeks. Three crew members went for provisions last Wednesday – haven’t been seen since. Dark times on the base. Morale is low among the troops.

JUST KIDDING, IT’S ONLY MIDTERMS WEEK.

February was a ridiculous month – we had a memo due this past weekend, there was a mad dash to submit applications for externships and clinics, and if you add in preliminary interviews and just the increased difficulty of the semester in general, it’s clear that it was a crazy month. It goes without saying that everyone is trying to pull through this week and make it to spring break. Personally, I’ve never looked forward to the 5-hour drive home more than I do now.

However, for all of its insanity, there were certainly a few excellent and/or interesting things about February. Here is another installment of bad haikus to summarize:

LCR memo:

A cruel, wretched mistress.

Let me nap now, please.

***

TODAY IS SO GREAT!

HELLO, NEWHOUSE GRAD PROGRAM!

HELLO, DREAM DEGREE!

***

Ungraded midterm;

Your purpose is unclear. Yet -

(cue panic attack)

***

Why, Polar Vortex,

must you make us all suffer?

My nose hairs froze today.

***

Forgot to move clothes

out of the dryer. My life?

Wrinkled (like my pants).

***

ORANGE.

One of the fundamental lessons in dating that I never learned is that you should avoid comparing ex-boyfriends to one another. That probably explains why I’m bringing seventeen cats and a box of Franzia as my dates to the law school formal on Saturday, but it’s also applicable to most major life events that contain some element of similarity. Your first car will always have fond memories attached to it, but your second car is the one you take the cross-country road trip with. Your first day of summer camp is always exciting and nerve-wracking, but the first day the following year is thrilling, albeit much more comfortable. The first university you attended gave you four of the best years of your life, but the place where you go to grad school is where you learn to put on your big girl pants – and actually embrace the school spirit that surrounds the sporting events.

Yes, that’s right. I liked sports this weekend.

I DID THE THING WHERE I WATCHED THE SPORTS.

Specifically, I enjoyed the hell out of the Syracuse/Duke game, which served as my primary motivation for accomplishing anything of minor consequence this weekend. And I’m not going to lie – I started the day initially very excited just to have an excuse to spend an inordinate of time at the bar with my friends, shamelessly eating cheese fries and cheers-ing to terminology that I do not comprehend. But something happened about an hour into the game, and I started to actually pay attention. I stood on the benches on the perimeter of the bar so I could watch the TV and see what was happening. I cheered at the right parts. I was disappointed at the proper moments. And when they made the winning shot in overtime, it was elation.

The way that the entire Syracuse community came together that night was incredible. Although Delaware certainly had school spirit, it was generally the spirit of Delaware itself that we rallied around. With this, it was different – it was over 35,000 fans flooding the streets of the city for the sole purpose of unbridled jubilance. It was an onslaught of people, more numerous than the town I grew up in, chanting fight songs in unison as they flooded out of the stadium in an orange torrent. It was hugs and high-fives and the glory of coming together as a team, even though our only contribution was staring at a screen with bated breath as our hands tightened around plastic cups of warm beer in a death grip.

While by no means am I going to run out and purchase season tickets next year (I still yelled “Do the thing! Win the points!” a few too many times to take myself seriously), I have a newfound appreciation for the mentality surrounding college athletics here. If it only took me a semester to warm up to ‘Cuse, I’m excited to see where this whole liking-sports-thing takes me over the next two years.

I think it’s time to invest in some orange nail polish.

Friday Morning Toast & Jams

It’s been a while since I’ve written here about things that pertain to life outside of law school, and it’s a darned shame – there’s a lot more to life than what simply happens between the pages of a textbook. Because it’s a new year and people are doing the whole “resolutions” thing, I figured it’d be worth it to make a concerted effort this coming year to write more than just an essay on law school once a month. When I first started blogging, I’d have a weekly post on Friday mornings where I recap the week with a toast and some jams – basically, a small victory and some music to rock out to. I’m going to try to post these on the last Friday of each month from this point forward.

It’s your job, darling internet humans, to hold me accountable for this. Got it? Awesome.

THE TOAST:

Go home 2013, you’re drunk. Here’s to the new year, everyone!

THE JAMS:

I haven’t been musically relevant since 2010. I need help. Please.

In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been listening to:

Parov Stelar – Booty Swing | If you need to clean your kitchen, you might as well be swing dancing.

Royal Teeth – Heartbeats | They do an amazing cover of this song, it’s wonderful.

Sleeper Agent – Get Burned | They’re plenty of fun.

Enjoy!

Lessons from 1/6th of Law School

It’s a few days after the fact, but I’ve finally (OH MY GOD, FINALLY) completed my first semester of law school. Whether or not the feat was achieved with any semblance of success will be determined once my grades are made available in the next few weeks, but if nothing else, I’ve learned quite a bit from the whole experience.

You kids haven’t had a list in a while, so here’s the TOP TEN THINGS I’VE LEARNED FROM MY FIRST SEMESTER OF LAW SCHOOL:

1.  Everyone you meet functions differently, and that’s totally okay.

Within the first two weeks of classes, there was a group of students that had established themselves as the cutthroat study group. They outlined twice a week, assigned their own hypotheticals as extra homework, and weren’t afraid to call you out and kick you out of their academic posse if you didn’t pull your weight.

I was, obviously, not a part of this group.

My best friend and I spent one of our reading days finishing our outlines at a bar.

You are your own best advocate, and you know what is going to enable you function optimally. This applies to not only studying, but to the real world as well. Just because someone else has a photographic memory doesn’t mean you’re expected to have the same type of Cam Jansen-style mental ability for studying, and just because someone else is picking a different option than you doesn’t mean that your choice is wrong. There’s only so many people who can climb the same tree, but when you’re in a forest of opportunity, it doesn’t matter. Find your own tree, and climb the hell out of it.

2. Stress burns calories

I’ve lost an inch off my waist and five years off my life. Given that my diet consists mostly of scones, I don’t think this is a good thing.

3. Remember who you were before you came here

Law school is a crazy effin’ place. Everyone is stressed. Everything is gossip. There is really horrible pizza served at every club meeting that will make you want to cry and wish you brought your lunch that day. It’s important that you don’t lose sight of your hobbies, passions, and personality that took precedence in your life before law school. At the end of the day, you’re still a human being, and not just some little law robot. Your inner monologue can’t consist of “beep bop boop torts torts torts,” or everyone will probably hate you.

4. There will be unintended consequences of cold-calling

My mom told me that I’ve kind of become a bitch since I went to law school, but in a good way. This is honestly the best way to describe what the law school cold-calling process does to you – it toughens you up, it makes your wit sharper and gives your tongue permission to show the bit of a razor’s edge that’s been hidden until now. So much of your in-class activity is predicated on being prepared to speak eloquently and meaningfully at a moment’s notice, and having a fast answer both in and out of the classroom is one of the changes that the law school process will do to you.

On a side note, you also won’t be able to watch Law and Order without being a brat. Everything they do is so, so wrong, and you’ll just be unpleasant to watch it with. Avoid such situations at all costs.

5. Stress is relative

There are times when I have 150 pages of reading due in two days and I am okay. There are times when I have 50 pages of reading due after the weekend and I want to burn down the entire campus. Stress can hit at a moment’s notice, and sometimes what irks you one day will be what you take solace in the next. Just breathe, realize it’s temporary, call your mom/best friend/therapist at 11pm while sobbing, and get it done. You can reward yourself for finishing it like a champion on Friday.

6. Your past is irrelevant.

On the first day of orientation, they told us that nothing we did in our past mattered anymore. I laughed, thinking, “Yeah right, I was the honor-roll sorority-girl QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE!!! I AM UNSTOPPABLE AND CAN HANDLE ANYTHING!!!

Yeah, that wasn’t true. It doesn’t matter if you were Phi Beta Kappa or Kappa Kappa Gamma or corporate America or a construction worker or anything, really – everyone is in the same boat, and nobody has any idea what they’re in for. On that note…

7. Be humble.

Be honest, be sympathetic, express humility. You are a first-year law student, and you are not better than anyone else in your class. There are 200 other people who are just as unsure and unstable as you, and you’re not doing yourself any favors by walking around with a holier-than-thou attitude. Your classmates will be your references and co-counsel in three short years, and being a good person and an honest, hard-working lawyer will garner a better recommendation than being a straight-A student with an obnoxious disposition.

8. Your support network is the most important asset you have.

Most people from your life outside of law school will be sympathetic to your academic plight. Do not be afraid to reach out to them – they’re going to want to help you and make sure that you’re okay. Law school is an all-encompassing experience, and turning to those outside of the law bubble is sometimes just what you need. However, your law school friends are going to be some of the best people you know. Take your time, and make sure that the people you choose to surround yourself with are the right ones for you. It takes a while to find people with whom you can have complex discussions on tort reform, and then two days later stumble home from the bar with. You’re going to love the crap out of these friends.

9. Be kind to yourself

You’re going through hell. Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Be nice to yourself. Treat yourself. Realize when what you’re doing is only giving you diminishing returns, and change your approach. Eat well, sleep well, take breaks when you need them. Surround yourself with inspiring and encouraging people. Your mental faculties are your greatest asset, and you don’t have enough time for toxic behaviors or toxic relationships in your life.

10. You are capable of so much more than you realize

There will be times where you want to throw your textbook across the room, pack up your things, and quit. I know I certainly did. Impostor syndrome is a real issue for a lot of people, but you’ll never know what you can do until you persevere and finish out the semester. Finishing  the first semester – no, SURVIVING the first semester – is one of the toughest parts of law school. After you walk out of that last final, though, you know you’ve done something that very, very few people have actually done. You’re 1/6th of the way to being a lawyer, and if you can handle civil procedure, you feel like an invincible human.