Thursday, May 30, 2013

Microsoft OneNote

I thought about starting this blog way back at the beginning of the admissions cycle, but worried about outing myself, or jinxing myself, or other stuff that ends in "myself", so I decided to wait until I knew where I'd be ending up. Had I started at the beginning of the cycle, I'd have had a whole lot to write about, though.  The trials and tribulations of putting together the material for the application, the angst about where and where not to apply, and especially the roller coaster ride that began when the first admissions decision came in would have made some compelling (i.e. neurotic) reading.  But, well...I didn't.  I decided to start now.

As a consequence, I don't think I'll have a whole heck of a lot to write about, especially since I'm writing this as a non-trad, for non-trads.  The only things left to do now that are law school-related are mundane, financial-aidy stuff, and then actually packing and moving.  Most of us in our 30s (and beyond) have already gone through this a number of times at this stage of our lives, so I don't see a whole lot of point in detailing my experiences with U-Haul customer service here.  In short, substantive posts are probably going to be few and far between for the next few months.

Still, I'd like to post occasionally, and today I'll post about Microsoft OneNote.  During visits to schools, I noticed that the lion's share of students seem to take notes on a laptop (or at least play solitaire on a laptop) during class, so I was curious as to whether they were just typing stuff up in a word-processing program, or if there were something a little more fancy that they were using.  It turns out that many of them were using OneNote, a program I'd had on my computer for quite some time, but hadn't ever even bothered to open.  I bought myself a completely useless, "For Dummies"-type book to try to teach myself how to use it, but as is often the case in these situations, I found that just diving in and trying to figure it with only by noodle and the occasional Google search was a whole lot more fun and productive.

I'm planning a trip to Thailand and Cambodia next month, and I read somewhere that OneNote was useful for that kind of thing too, so I've used it to organize my stuff: reservations, activities, airline stuff, my Cambodian visa (which can be obtained - both applied for and delivered - online!), travel insurance, etc.  Although I believe I have only scratched the outer surface of the program, I have to say it is awesome and I can already see how it is going to be useful once school starts.  The search, tagging, and linking features are all pretty easy to use, and apparently this is going to make organization of information (and especially outlining) a snap once classes start.  The program is also pretty free-form, and you can easily, say, put your notes from all your different classes in one place, and access them simply by switching between tabs.

I don't really have a lot more to say about it, since I haven't used it for actual law school note-taking yet, but I can say that from what I have seen, the program has a ton of useful features that will make life a whole lot easier when it comes to taking and organizing notes, and I plan to explore it more between now and the time classes start.  It comes as part of Microsoft Office 365 University, which students can pick up for $79.99, which I think is a pretty big bargain, so it might be worth checking out.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Here goes...

For years I have considered going to law school, but always put that thought on the back burner for one reason or another.  Early last year, though, I decided to finally take the plunge and follow my dream, and started to take the necessary steps to see it happen (several of which required handing over money to the LSAC, a theme that was to continue throughout my preparation and application process).  I prepped for and took the LSAT, researched what types of law most interested me, which schools seemed to be good fits, and about a year and a half later, my future is starting to take shape.  In t-minus four months, I'll be a law student.

Throughout the process, my "advanced" age has been a constant, nagging problem.  There's no getting around the fact that once I start, I'll be more than a few years older than my average classmate, and that has posed several vexing questions that, I'll have to admit, have occasionally kept me up at night.  The minor concerns have regarded fitting in socially and whether or not I can still "do" school.  Mostly, though, I have worried about how my age will affect my job prospects; will I just be too old for anyone to want to hire me?

As I've moved along, researching, sending out applications, weighing my options, I have come across a number of individuals who have offered advice, guidance, the wisdom of their own experience, and, above all, reassurance that my age will likely not be a detriment, and actually might work in my favor.  It has been tremendously comforting to know for sure that I'm not the only one with these concerns, or who has walked this particular road, and I am grateful to all those who have listened and advised.

To that end, I hope this blog can eventually turn into something useful for people who were in my shoes about 18 months ago, are in my shoes now, or will be in the shoes I'll soon be wearing once classes start.  Although I've always enjoyed writing, I've never really gotten into blogging because...well, because I didn't feel like I had anything particularly interesting to say, and it just seemed a little self-indulgent for my tastes.  

Now, maybe, I will have something to say that may be useful for others.  I'll for sure try, at least.