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Messages - joshdelight

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Duquesne U / Re: going to Duquesne
« on: June 04, 2004, 12:18:22 PM »
The wind is brutal in spots.  Because it is a hilly environment, some areas are protected from the wind, while others channel the wind through every possible entry point in your winter outerwear.

We have nice warm summers, short springs and falls, and long, messy winters.  Not a lot of snow, esp. if you are used to the snow you get up north, but when it snows, there'll be  a lot of slush, so have crappy winter shoes that you don't mind getting wet and salty.  The city has been in the midst of a budget crisis for the past year, and this winter's plowing schedule reflected this.

So... let's find out where a completely unrepresentative sample of lawyers and future lawyers stand on the future of the White House!

Pointless Arguments / Re: Finished w/ the Big White female dog!!!!
« on: May 30, 2004, 02:29:29 PM »
Um, hello...?!?  This IS the hate board, people.  God! Y'all are stupid ignorant fucks who give people *&^% before even reading the TITLE OF A FORUM. Damn! Learn something, will you!

No offense intended ;)

Duquesne U / Re: going to Duquesne
« on: May 29, 2004, 09:14:21 PM »
It is interesting to see how this particular forum is moderated.  It appears to be inconsistant with the rest of the site, as many people use the F word or say "a**hole" without any censorship.  I have been a little more liberal with my usage of 'colorful metaphors,' but this is interesting, as it is the first time I have been censored. (Can you believe that they turned 'a**hole' into 'not so nice person'?  Weak!)

Anyway, it occurred to me that many of the incoming class is not from Pittsburgh, and might not have rented an apartment yet.  If this is the case, here are some nice areas to live that are not too far from Duquense (Duquesne is Downtown, and excluding their dormitories, about 3 people live downtown. So unless you have boatloads of money, forget about walking to school.)

Now, remember, Pittsburgh is large and spread out, and many areas are nice in places and lousy in others.  This will give you a good start, however.

All of these places are within 10 mins of downtown via bus:

Squirrel Hill -> IMHO a GREAT place to live.  The housing varies from mediocre to amazing, as do the prices, but it is an area that is virtually crime free, and if you are a practicing Jew, has MANY schuls to choose from, ranging from Chabad to Reconstructionist.  Great bus access, good commercial district, two coffeehouses, good grocery store, and a good selection of specialty stores.

North Oakland -> many Pitt students live here, but 'party central' is South Oakland, and the two are completely geographically isolated by Pitt's campus.  Solid housing, generally quiet, except for the occasional weekend party that rarely gets out of hand.  Crime is low, the worst problem generally being cars that are broken into for money or CDs or whatever.  Blends into a lower income area that has relatively low crime but colorful culture (if you've never heard of a jitney, you'll learn about them living here).  Reasonable rent.

Regent Square -> just beyond Squirrel Hill, even better rates for rent, and great bus access, but lacks the diversion of the commericial district in Squirrel Hill.  Frick Park, a very large and beautiful park, separates Squirrel Hill from Regent Square. An amazing art house cine is here, and a few cool stores.

Bloomfield ->  An area that is rapidly recovering from urban blight, so it has cheap rent but a low crime rate.  Never lived here, so I can't vouch firsthand for the living, but I know many people who live here and love it.  A 'main street' commericial district offers a great selection of stores, a GREAT coffeehouse with an eclectic DVD rental collection available, banks, etc.  Take a good look here.

Shadyside/Friendship -> I am currently in this area.  Very solid housing on average, with very reasonable rent.  Shadyside proper has a VERY Neveau Riche commercial district:  If you drive a luxury car and like high-priced brandnames, a great place to visit.  I also just learned that Shadyside is a nexus for the gay community in Pittsburgh; there is a gay bar and two vintage stores with a good selection of stuff.  My coffeehouse is here as well, the Dancing Goat.  It rocks... offers free wireless (as are an increasingly large number of coffeehouses in Pittsburgh).  Housing in the area is generally solid, rent ranging from CRAZY for a hardwood panelled beautiful apartment in Shadyside to very reasonable rates in the Friendship area (there are numerous well-priced apartments and houses in Shadyside as well).  Lots of grad students who are a little better off then they were as undergrads. The Friendship area is great in spots, and lousy in others.  The ruleof thumb here is: drive around the area of the house/apartment you are considering and listen to your gut.  You can get a great deal in a great area, but just look around first. Good bus access.

Point Breeze -> Borders Wilkinsburg, East Liberty, Homewood, Shadyside, and Squirrel.  There are areas that are very good and areas that are not.  Be cautious what part you walk through at night.  There is a food co-op that is good for any granola heads out there.  You might find a great place to live here, but again, listen to your gut.  Great bus access to any house or apt near Penn Avenue.  The houses along Penn Ave were the former homes of Westinghouse, Heinz, Frick, Mellon, etc.  Again, some great places.

Highland Park: becoming in spots a focus for artistic students and families.  Quiet, old neighborhood, beat up in some areas, rapidly improving in others, and just plain great in yet others. Has a great park as the name suggests, close to the Pittsburgh Zoo.  A nice little coffeehouse, and a public pool. Residential, and as far as I know, not adjacent to a commercial zone.  I like the area, but have little detailed knowledge about it.  I like its broad streets and big trees.

OK: Now, places to avoid:

East Liberty proper - crime rate is still a little too high for my liking.  Friendship blends into this area.

Wilkinsburg proper - border areas are OK, but the center is really really hurting economically, and many of the houses are literally falling apart.  Crime rate has VASTLY improved, but there are better areas.

Northside - while it looks good, and has reasonable rent, the crime rate has really gotten out of hand in recent years.  Avoid this area (I hate saying this, because the area has so much potential, but take my word on this).  Not safe for women to walk at night... there have been several rapes.  Urban redevelopment is saving this area, but... ARGH!

South Side - this area is proud to have the largest number of bars in the smallest amount of space in the whole US.  It is a great place to catch a show or beer.  There are sex shops, retro shops, book stores, you name it.  A very very fun area that is absolute HELL to get out of.  The traffic is MISERABLE, the bus is always late, and the area is loud and crowded on weekends.  Not a good place for a studious 1L to live.

All of my recommended areas are close to the city and Duquesne, and at the very least are worth your consideration.  If you have a car, there are many many options in the outlying suburbs, but I would highly recommend living closer to the city, in one of its neighborhoods.  It will give you a more integrative environment and increase your pleasure in a hellish time.

NOTE: Northside and North Hills are entirely different places.  North Hills is a region of suburbs. Same goes for the Southside and South Hills as well.

Duquesne U / Re: going to Duquesne
« on: May 28, 2004, 11:02:50 AM »
Lol... Legally Blonde!  I didn't have any interest in seeing the movie at the time, but after hearing its impact on you, I'll have to pick it up.

Over the years, I inevitably would have a ball of fear deep in the "dark bouers of my soul" before beginning the next level of education.  First, it was the terror of 7th grade math (a fear which, unfortunately, was well justifed; I had to repeat the class in 8th grade).  Fortunately, those fears have subsequently proven to be ill-founded.

You know those nightmares people have where they show up in school, and realize they forgot to get dressed?  In college (and to this day), my nightmare differed.  I would wake up with a start having dreampt that it was finals week, and I had completely forgotten to attend a class for the entire semester.  I would fail, and there was nothing I could do about it.  Fortunately this fear never materialized in reality, but, god damn - waking up never felt so good!

God - it can be difficult to discover a simple way to express a nebulous fear.  It boils down to this, I guess:  While I understand that ultimately success depends on the individual, I hope that our class will be a cooperative and dynamic body instead of an arrogantly aggressive bunch of competitive assholes.  One of my biggest reasons for applying to Duquesne Law is a hope that, due to its small entering class, there will be a more genial and group-friendly environment. 

I'm not looking for solidarity campfire sing-alongs, but an integrative environment where students will look out for one another.  Perhaps I am being too idealistic?

I am interested in what the political tendancies will be among the entering class as well.  How many card-carrying ACLU members will there be? (At least one  ;) )  What about those loony fundies?  Will there be a group of evengelical Bible thumpers?  Additionally, I am curious how many people will be attending Duq because of it's religious affiliation.  I was attracted to Duq because of its purported commitment to developing ethical and responsible counselors. In my mind, however, that commitment is not fundamentally tied to religion.

Duquesne U / Re: going to Duquesne
« on: May 27, 2004, 04:08:47 AM »
Ok... 20 miles north of the city will take you up to an hour with typical rush hour conditions.  You will only be able to make it in 25 mins or less if you are driving outside of rush hour or are a seriously aggressive driver with a lead foot  :) .

I am 24, I will be 25 by the time school starts. 

I should add that my experiences with Joe Campion, the director of admissions, have been wonderful.  What really irked me was calling the main law office number, having it ring 15 times (no exaggeration), to finally have someone pick up and say, "Hello?"  I had to ask if it was the law office... really pathetic (although it was probably a student staffer).  In any event, the administration has nothing to do with the quality of education, in my experience.  Unfortunately, they do have the ability to complicate things.

Hmm... I have been overwhelmed with the cacaphony of abundant and conflicting information about how best to prepare for 1L.  I would like to hear from 'yinz' (Pittsburgh's native version of "y'all") what you are doing (if anything) to prepare for the upcoming hell. 

I have been slowly picking away at a concise little book called "Acing Your First Year of Law School."  I have found it to be full of practical information about what to expect, what is important to do, and, most importantly, what is NOT important (or a waste of time).  Having zero practical knowledge and no point of reference except undergrad, something about this waiting game until Day 1 smacks of the absurd.

I must admit that I find what some of the people out there are doing to be over the top.  Sure, it seems impressive that people are memorizing hornbooks and drafting amicus curiae letters for the Supreme Court ;) , but I have a strong feeling that they will turn out to be the students that are all flash and little substance when it comes down to the brass tacks of the challenge we face.  What do you think?  Or, alternatively, does my description above fit any of you? (Don't be shy now, you can wow us with your leather briefcase in a few short months)

What are you doing to prepare? Do you have any hot and battle proven tips you'd like to share?  One of my biggest concerns is having an efficient and practical study system.  In undergrad, I was seriously disorganized, in large part because I was an ffing depressed wreck one-third of the time.  Now that that is under control, I feel I have a clean slate in which to create "the System" that I'll be tweaking as needed.  I just wish I had some clue as to what "the System" should look like.

Well, it is four AM here in the 'Burgh.  I MUST get to sleep!

Duquesne U / Pitt grad going to Duquesne
« on: May 26, 2004, 02:05:58 PM »
I will be attending Duq law in the fall as well.  I've lived in Pittsburgh for about five years now, and I can tell you that it is a good city to live in, albeit spread out (to a truly remarkable degree), and it has TERRIBLE weather.  This is no exaggeration:  2/3 of the days in a year are mostly cloudy.  Kiss sunlight goodbye, bring a full spectrum lamp or antidepressants for the winters, and you'll be fine.

As I am a Pitt alum, I am not familiar with Duquesne in general.  I do know that Duquesne grads dominate the judiciary in Western PA, and that Duq. has a very good percentage of students that become judicial clerks. 

Other impressions:  I have not been all that impressed with the level of professionalism or services of the financial aid office.  I don't know why they even exist: I was basically told: "uh... yeah, you'll have to find $12,000 in additional aid.  You're on your own. Yawn!"  (I'd love to have that job!)  Also, practices that are common at other universities (like a $3000 one-time financial aid allotment for a laptop and accessories) are unheard of at Duquesne (when I mentioned the allotment to my fin advisor, I was literally laughed at).

There seems to be a break in communications between the Law office and the rest of the University.  In my communications with them, I was often bounced from department to department as the buck was passed along. 

Beyond the support staff, I have been generally impressed with the offerings of the school.  The community and economic development clinic is well-respected in the city, where non-profit charitable groups have become increasingly important as the city recovers (or in some areas, flounders) from the present economic crises and the long-term damage that was wrought by the departure of the steel industry.  (A digression: Pittsburgh, by and large, is not the post industrial wasteland I thought it would be when I moved here from the Philly area.  Heck, it is worlds above Buffalo NY ;) )

Out of curiosity, to the other future Duquesne Law 1L's:  What sort of people are you?  What sort of students were you in undergrad?  Overacheivers, or just regular, intelligent students?  Did you have a big partying phase at some point in your undergraduate career? 

The majority of my classes were 'round-table' in nature, with anywhere from 10-25 people.  I graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology.  I was primarily interested in the formation of national and ethnic identities and the often violent conflict that result from clashing identities, shared symbols, and power imbalances.  I spent half a year in Israel during the recent flare-up in violence to experience first-hand these conflicting identities (and besides almost getting blown up once, it was amazing).

 I was at times TERRIBLY inconsistent with my classes, getting A's and B's in most, but totally blowing off others.  In my first two years I partied pretty hard, and regretted it Jr and Sr year.  I think the most significant thing that happened to me is that after I graduated, I fell into a really bad depression (one that was really cyclical throughout my high school and college career but never diagnosed or treated) and found out that I had a biologically based recurring depression that was easily treatable with meds, and REALLY bad ADD (which made my whole ffing school career fall into perspective).  These discoveries and the resulting treatment changed my whole experience of life.  I became very efficient in my work, and my cyclical depression completely disappeared.  I realized that I needed a challenge; this drive, combined with the current administration's committment to decimating rights, the environment, and international law, made law the ideal choice.

I'd love to know more about my fellow 1L's at Duquesne!

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