Friday Night Happy Face and Sad Face

So, up til about twenty minutes ago, I had a kind of amazing day.

I was tired as all hell, because the Baby Fairy granted me a non-sleeping baby this second time around, and Liam straight up doesn’t sleep.  Like, ever.  An hour or two nap, and an hour or two before midnight, but otherwise, my kid is UP and ready to PARTY.  I am over it.  Seriously, like, beyond over it.  It’s been 19 months.  I can’t take this anymore.  I’m going to start drugging this child, if he doesn’t begin exhibiting the same normal sleep patterns as every other human being in this household.  He doesn’t cry – he’s just cheerfully, energetically AWAKE, for about 20 hours out of every 24.  God help me.

I woke up energized despite my exhaustion from having an overnight assignment (which, let’s be honest here, I worked on til 9pm, then went to sleep til Liam woke me up at midnight, and then resumed the assignment at 5am when I finally quit trying to force him to lay the eff down and sleep a bit.  So in other words, it’s not like I stayed up late or anything.  It’s also not like I slept til a normal hour, either, but I blame my child, not my homework.)


I was energized from fear (obviously not from an abundance of restful sleep).  We had the awesome opportunity to argue in front of a federal district court judge, in a federal district court, which (as our teacher pointed out) many 6-7 year lawyers in bigger cities still have never done.  Doing this kind of thing is so important, because the more times you do it, the better you are.  And for sure the first time you do it you are absolutely awful.  No question.  So having the first time you do it be a mock thing, instead of for a real client – AWESOME opportunity.

Our judge was great.  He was tough on the people who could handle it, and for those who blanked and stammered, he was gentle.  After I argued my defense motion to exclude an expert testimony (in a fake case), he gave me high praise, but he praised everybody in our group of 8.  HOWEVER.  Later, at the schmoozy party for all of the practitioners, judges, and students, the judge and our teacher/practitioner came up to me and pulled me aside and said – seriously, you’re amazing at this.  That was the best I’ve ever seen a student do.  Etc. Etc.  My head grew fifty sizes bigger.  I knew I’d been confident up there – I’m a theatre major, after all – but this was very validating.  I’d impressed a federal district court judge, I’d impressed a 6 year practitioner and former tenure track law professor.  Go me, right?

Then I came home, and discovered that all my grades had posted.  All of them were great – except one.  An exam I felt good about, stuff I knew well, a class I was confident in, I got a TERRIBLE grade.  I saw a letter I’ve never seen before on my transcript.  Nothing even close.  I saw my summa cum laude go floating merrily away.  Totally killed my buzz.

Aside from thriving on external validation – which I fully admit as a character flaw – law school grades are important for getting jobs.  Summa cum laude could open doors for me, if I ever want them opened (I love the firm I’ll be working for, but you never know – The Professor and I may want to work in the same city one day).  This grade will drop me very, very far down the scale, and show up as a beacon on my transcript from here out.  I’m married to a professor, so I know how annoying it is when a student questions a grade.  But by the same token, I went to every class, took good notes, worked with a study group, had a great outline, felt like I knew virtually every answer, and get the worst grade I’ve ever gotten by far.  The professor (an adjunct, a local practitioner) was really ticked that he was being forced to curve the class this year.  I’m sort of hoping he was making a point by giving a large part of the class terrible grades, and perhaps the point could be un-made and grades recalculated?

If not, it’s ok.  I have a job.  It’s an anomaly.  I can take the wounding to my pride, and the blemish on my transcript.  But not without checking to be absolutely certain he didn’t get it wrong somehow!  (In undergrad, I once got a D- in the class.  I politely inquired how that could be possible, and discovered that two names had been transposed, and it had been a clerical error.   Could that be so here?)

Anyway.  You win some, you lose some.  Impress a judge, fail to impress a Marine Insurance lawyer.  I’m trying not to be too angry, since it very well could be all my fault.  But still.  It would’ve been nice to float on the praise for a little bit, before I got the deflating grade.  Grrrrr.

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4 Responses to Friday Night Happy Face and Sad Face

  1. dinei says:

    Rocking the mock trial – with a federal district court judge no less! – is awesome!! I think it speaks volumes that you were able to hold your own up there. And for the grade, you may as well ask. If there was a mistake it needs catching, and no matter what you’ll feel a touch better just knowing what caused it.

    I also received a grade in law school that I’d never ever seen before. As a result I can now say with confidence that almost any grade is considered passing as far as graduation goes. It also proved to me that law school grades really are random, since I got my best and my worst grades in that same semester.

    Did you ever read the Vonnegut (I think) short story about a device that let parents freeze their kids in stasis whenever they needed a break? At the end, the parents were 90 and the kids still creeping up on 12 or so. Oh man. I would abuse the heck out of that stasis machine.

  2. CM says:

    I’d bring it up with the professor too. You don’t want to think of yourself as a grade-grubber, but I think it’s worth it to figure out what happened and in the end it doesn’t really matter what that professor thinks of you.

  3. butterflyfish1 says:

    I’d ask too — clerical errors *do* happen, even in law school. Once to me, once to my good friend (who went from a B- to an A- for one of the hardest profs at our school!)

  4. Sunni says:

    All I have to say is that you totally rock, Ms. G! I’m so proud of you for soo many reasons and this is just the cherry on top. Congrats on a great mock trial!

    As far as the grade goes, definitely ask. What’s the worse that can happen? S/he says that the grade will stick and you move forward. It’s worth a shot.

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