on Friday i had my last Professional Identity II class from 1:00 to 2:00pm.
Professional Identity is a bullshit 0.5 credit class that meets for an hour every other week or so, fucking up everybody's Friday afternoons.
i figured since i was going to be on campus anyway on Friday, i would scheduled some other Law School stuff that i had to get done around it.

i got to sleep in until 11:07am Friday morning, then, when my alarm went off i tended to my morning things, then got myself dressed up in a suit.
i own a suit because i am an adult and adults are expected to own at least one suit.
the suit was for a make-pretend job interview i had scheduled with the Office of Career Services.
i didn't see much of a point in going on a pretend job interview, but, the Office of Career Services “strongly suggests” that you have one, and they collude with Professional Identity to coerce you into doing it by making it mandatory.
Professional Identity is a pass/fail class and i don't think they would have failed you if you didn't go on your mock interview but, whatever, if this is what we're supposed to do then, sure, i'll play along.
it's not that i couldn't have used the practice, in the whole entire Law School i am probably the mumbly slob that could use the most polish, i have a hard time talking to people without cussing, but, for fuck's sake, i generally resent having to do things like this that aren't absolutely necessary.
i wasn't originally going to wear a suit to my play-pretend interview, i figured the play-pretend hiring managers could just play-pretend that i looked appropriate, but all of my other classmates got all dolled up for their play-pretend interviews during the week, so i guess that's what we're doing.
also, “have Career Services approve your business suit for interview/internship” was another item on Professional Identity's checklist of bullshit, so, we'll get that one done, too.
that one is pretty insulting and paternalistic, but, hell, i can't fight every fight.

i got to campus for my 12:30 play-pretend interview with a Career Services Counselor i've never spoken to before.
she told me to sit out in the lobby or a minute or two and the she would come get me and we would pretend that i was interviewing for an internship with a DC-based progressive think-tank that works on criminal justice reform issues, which is what i suggested i was interested in when i signed up for this ridiculous exercise.
as i waited in the Career Services lobby i started to get all nervous, like if this was a real interview.
what are my hands doing? is my tie straight? should i cross my legs or does that appear standoffish?
can they tell that i'm a weirdo just by looking at me!?!
after a while the play-pretend interviewer came around and our play-pretend interview began.
tell me about your background, why do you want to work here, what are your strengths, what are your weaknesses?
and to my [and probably her] surprise, i acquitted myself well enough.
i didn't cuss, i avoid dropping too many hints about my criminal past, i didn't let on that i've never actually held a real job since i worked in a grocery store when i was nineteen.
i talked about how i wanted to transition from being a school teacher to an attorney as a way of doing good for the world from retail to wholesale.
the most difficult part was when she asked me about the “international experience” i listed on my resume because i had to account for the year i spent between substitute teaching and starting Law School, and i had to find some way to tie that in to criminal justice reform, somehow.
it took an embarrassing amount of horse shit, but i connected the dots, eventually.
and then we were done with our play-pretending and the Career Counselor told me her thoughts.
and i visibly started slouching and cussing more and saying stuff like “boy! that was just a flopping disaster!”
one of the suggestions the Career Counselor had for me was about what i had been doing between graduating high school and starting my undergraduate back in 2007.
she thought maybe i could something in there that might highlight my commitment to criminal justice reform but i told her that i was “just trampin' around” and after she asked a few more follow-up questions she realized, yeah, i was just trampin' around and you can't very well put that on a resume.

our play-pretend interview session came to a close right on time at 1:00, which was when i had to go to my very last Professional Identity II class.
i was the last one to walk into the room and a few of my classmates commented on my cleaned-up suit-and-tie look.
“thanks, thank,” i muttered, “i'm going to a bar-mitzvah after this...”
more then one of them asked “really?”
motherfucker, you've been seeing people in their suits for play-pretend job interviews all week.
also, it's not even Saturday. didn't you people have one Jew in your middle schools!?!
after i settled in to class our Second Year T.A. who is in charge of this big waste-of-time started the show.
he had us get into groups of three to practice our effective listening skills.
effective listening involves not interjecting our own agenda into other people's narratives, just letting them talk
it's a good lawyer skill to have i guess, and certainly one i ought to work on.
like most people, i find it difficult to resist the impulse to make everything about me.
so, sure, let's practice our effective listening skills, but, for reasons that i'm not sure of, our Professor decided that the best way for us to do that was for us to tell each other sad stories of our personal traumas.
now, this kinda shit doesn't really bother me, i'm a pretty open guy, but one of the girls i paired up with said that the whole thing was invasive.
our Professor gives the impression that he doesn't really know what he's doing a lot of the time.
which is ironic for a class about inspiring confidence.

i went first.
i told the story about the day we had to put the Dog down, which was the worst day of my life.
i prefaced the story by saying that i've had a pretty great life and so the bar for worst day isn't set very high.
i told the story to one girl in my group who was supposed to effectively listen, while the third person in our group was to watch and evaluate the experience.
none of us knew what that all was supposed to look at so, in practice, we were just telling each other sad bits about our lives for forty minutes.
next, one of the girls in my group told the other girl a story about how for a while her two year old daughter would get uncontrollable vertigo and that the neurologists thought she might have a brain tumor but, after a year's worth of studying her, they decided that it is some other condition that is associated with crippling migraines.
i was too captivated by the story to evaluate the other girl's effective listening skills and i just kept wanting to jump in with a bunch of probing questions, which is exactly what we're not supposed to do.
finally, the third girl in our group told me a story about how she found out that her older brother had a different father that nobody really knew about and how the secret tore her family apart and now she doesn't talk to her biological dad anymore because of all the drama.
i managed to keep quiet and just let her talk which, i guess, was the whole point of the exercise, but, again, i wanted to ask her a bunch of questions.
at the end, after we had finished playing pretend effective listeners, i got to ask both girls all the probing questions i had about their sad life traumas.
it wasn't the worst way to spend an hour of Law School, but if there was a teachable moment in all of it i didn't pick up on it.

finally, a few minutes before 2:00, our very last session of Professional Identity II drew to a close.
our Second Year T.A. awkwardly thanked us for our “openness and honesty,” as it must be weird for him to carry out this invasive lesson plan our Professor has conceptualized, and we were free to go on our way, having gotten our 0.5 credits worth of learning how to be professional, somehow.
at 2:00pm i had an appointment on the books with my Faculty Adviser, who is a a Vietnamese woman who specializes in immigration law.
our meeting was to discuss planing the next several semesters worth of Law School.
i'll write about how that shook out sometime next week, i think.
stay tuned.

//[ab irato ad astra]

September 2017

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