Thursday, April 30, 2009

Law School Updates: Inevitability

Hey folks. No turning back now, time to save up for that security deposit, get a moving truck and pick between Manhattan or the boroughs. That's right, Harvard just emailed me, and we will not be moving to Boston. NYU or Columbia, we'll be moving back in a few months.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Law School Visits: NYC, part deux

It took me a few days longer to get to this than I had wanted to, but it's time to finish up the whole NY trip thing. The whole reason we decided to go to New York was to attend NYU's admitted student days, and that's what this is all about.

NYU Law school is situated on the southwest corner of Washington Square Park; it actually consists of two buildings: Vanderbilt Hall (the red brick building above) and Furman Hall, just across the street.

So, on Thursday afternoon, after meeting up with Dan and Poonam, we headed across the park to the law school to check in. We were a little worried, given our familiarity with NYU's penchant for security/bureaucracy, that Cadence and Kate might not gain entrance easily. Luckily our fears were quite overblown, and we received a very lovely welcome for admissions who even gave Cadence her own nametag! Unfortunately Cadence was far too wiggly when wearing it for us to get a good picture. Here's our girl on the second floor of Vanderbilt.

First thing I did was sit in on a criminal law class already in session. I appreciated that NYU offered a wide range of 1L professors to choose from, as opposed to Duke who didn't offer any real classes, and Vandy which only offered one. It felt less like there was anything to hide. I chose the right room, I guess, because I ran into a friend of mine from college, who was a 1L there. Small world. He offered me a lot of helpful advice and insights into the school, and introduced me to a student/mother in his section who told me a bit about going to NYU Law with children.

I left a little early, so Kate and I could meet with a financial aid officer. I came out to she and Cadence and a small cupcake a student fundraiser had given them. Kate greeted me by saying, "I think I'm falling in love with this place" and Cadence seemed quite pleased. Turns out there's a lactation room and a locked refrigerater for nursing mothers. Plus lots of friendly students offering to baby-sit. Evidently law students can get a little baby-starved.

Throughout our visit, we had a lot of people telling us about how baby friendly the school was, both from students and faculty. The financial aid officer was also really helpful, and we left reassured that we should be able to get by over the next three years, without having to resort to private loans or living in cardboard boxes. Plus LRAP! Hooray LRAP. I've been leaning strongly towards some sort of public interest work, over working for a big law firm, and NYU is perhaps the best school for public interest work. In large part because their LRAP (Loan Repayment Assistance Program) can potentially repay the full value of your loans over the course of 10 years (if you stay in public interest the whole time). Otherwise, benefits still kick in if you work in public interest for 3. Way better than any other school (admittedly, I'm fuzzy on Harvard's program, but I'll worry about that if I get in).

We took a tour of one of the law student dorms, but on-campus housing is pet-unfriendly, and above market rate, so we didn't worry ourselves too much about it. There was free pizza for dinner and an "interesting" performance by the law school revue. That is to say, there were some of the songs were fun, others were a little bit much, but all in all not a bad time.

On Friday, NYU really made its pitch with the continental breakfast, welcome from the dean, panels, etc. A lot of it was similar to what we'd seen in other schools, although I will say that everything offered a lot more specifics than other schools. Like the Dean Ricky said, they were here to give us specifics about why they were a good school, not just broad generalizations. Oh, and he complimented Cadence on three or four occasions about how well-behaved she was. Way to go, sweetie-bee.

Half-way through the day, we were feeling pretty positive on the school in general, and opted to skip a couple of events and meet up with my friend Laura, from high school. She's currently a 2L and we ended up spending the next few hours talking with her in her dorm room. Cadence took a nap on her bed, and we had a really nice, relaxing time talking. We also got another valuable perspective on law schools, and NYU specifically - time very well spent. Thanks again, Laura!

So here's the deal: Yale rejected me while we were flying to New York, last week. So they're out of the running. I have yet to hear from Harvard who are still reviewing my application, and Columbia has put me on reserve. University of Chicago appears not to have even begun reviewing my application, University of Minnesota has waitlisted me - and I've removed myself from the waitlist. I've declined offers from Duke, Northwestern and UCLA.

I've also declined Vanderbilt. In other words, we're planning on going to NYU and the check is in the mail. We're really excited by the school and the opportunities, excited to be closer to be friends again, and to be back in the city. We're also a little terrified by going back - back to renting and small apartments, not having a yard, having to find Cadence new friends, having to go to laundromats (apartment with a washer/dryer???), the stress and noise and pollution... the costs, and any number of other factors. But we're certain we're making the best choice of the options available. If I get into Columbia, I may choose to go there, but I'm leaning strongly towards NYU regardless. If Harvard accepts me, I'll probably go there, but I like NYU well enough that it wouldn't be a 100% done deal. In other words, we're most likely going to be in NYC soon.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Law School Visits: NYC, part 1

As I imagine a fair number of you know, we were just in New York City. Yep, as I mentioned earlier after visiting Vandy last week, Kate and I felt we had to visit NYU in person before we could make a real, informed decision.

As an added bonus - or, more accurately, as a key component of New York's appeal - our trip also gave us a chance to see lots of friends and family, who we haven't seen since November. All-in-all the trip was a big success, and we were able to make a decision we believe in, and see more people and do more than we had expected. So much so that I've made the decision to write TWO posts... this one - which will concentrate on everything about the trip excluding the law school - and a second actually talking about the school and our decision. Oh, and just as a warning - we took a lot of pictures, and this post is very long.

We left on Wednesday morning, and got to the airport without too much trouble... then our flight was delayed by an hour. (In keeping with our record of having at least one flight delayed during every trip we've taken in the last couple of years.) On the bright side, the terminal had been renovated a bit, and there was a little shopping mall-ish area, including a kid's store with a fort!

Cadence spent some time playing with a couple of other kids in the fort and around the tv, which was playing Barnyard. Speaking of which, is anyone bothered by the fact that the male cows (aka bulls) have udders? Evidently the director chose to do that, because he thought it would be funny, but seriously? There were people I met in college who honestly thought that bulls and cows were different species. I'm uncomfortable with a children's movie encouraging such basic misconceptions. On the bright side, there was an episode of Sesame Street on the next day that helped to clear up the difference.

Anyway, we got back to the gate and the plane was already boarding, so we got in. Cadence thought it was really "cool!" and had lots of fun counting the planes "Oh! Plane! Two!!!!!" as we taxied. Then we were off and climbing, and pretty soon Cadence (and I) were asleep.

Also, the blue thing around Cadence's head is her new "cute arf" - a handy neck pillow in the shape of a dog! The flight went quickly, I woke up, pulled out the computer, and Kate and I got some work done. We tried to rouse Cadence when we started our descent, so she could watch us land but she ended up ignoring us until we were actually getting off the plane. Thus, continuing Cadence's streak of being a most excellent traveler.

We grabbed the M60 and then an A train downtown, which prompted Cadence to say "oh wow!" She wasn't intimidated in the least by the subway, and actually fit in rather nicely.

In not too long, we were at Audrey's apartment! Kate and I were exhausted,

but after a brief warm-up period, Cadie was good to go. My mom, brother Andrew, and cousin Jean all came to visit for dinner and Cadence had a lot of fun getting to see family again.

Cadence drank a smoothie (she called it "i-creem!") with her Nai-nai,

and was super shy around uncle Andrew,

and on top of it all, she got a couple of RED ENVELOPES!!!

Cadence also checked out Audrey's phone,

met a couple of Ling's (Audrey's roommate) gorillas,

and then it was time for bed, so she got up on the couch, pulled up the blanket and went to "sleep".

Oh, but must remember to kiss the baby!

And then there was some more playing and running, and... "oy, how are we going to get this little girl to sleep", and finally actual sleep. The next morning, we got up, and got ready to go. Here's our daughter dressed and ready for the day.

We had breakfast with Lena at Velselka

where we got Cadence-"wow"-worthy fried pierogies, blintzes and potato pancakes. And Cadence had a sip of Lena's coffee.

Then, we were off to yet another dining/friend visiting experience, hopping over to Yummy House for takeout, which we took out to Washington Square Park with Dan and Poonam!

We situated ourselves on a park bench, from which Cadence quickly noticed... swings! But, by the time I got over there with the camera, Cadence had overcome her distaste for gritty sand.

After a while playing with the sand, there was a vacancy on the swings and Cadence was off!

At this point, it was coming up on 2pm, and it was time to check in at NYU, so we said our goodbye's and headed over to the opposite corner of the park.

Later, we had some downtime, and decided to visit Kate's old stomping grounds on the second floor of Tisch. We saw Nanc and Rosemary, of ETW - and then we spent a while in Brimmer's stage combat class, where Cadence ran around being cute and coy and sweet.

Then, back to NYU, before we went out to Yummy House yet again for dinner with Lelia and Ryan. Here's me and Ryan wearing suspiciously similar hooded sweatshirts.

And, after dinner, a nice walk back to Audrey's.

Where Cadence put on one of my t-shirts - which she insisted was hers -

and Ling lent her an awesome, gold belt.

Somehow, we stayed up past midnight, so Cadence had some trouble waking up in the morning. We ended up getting her up with the help of Sesame Street, and Tommy, a letter 'T' from Tennessee.

We spent the better part of the day at various NYU events, before we left a little early, to visit friends at O&G, my old law firm. Cadence remembered Olivia, that's for sure.

We followed that up with Danial's birthday party, where we saw Dan and Poonam again. And Cadence demonstrated the proper way to blow out a candle.

Plus she saw a whole bunch of other friends!

We had a great time, getting to see everyone again. Cadence had a blast. She danced.

And danced.

And got others to dance.

She also found the time to take a bunch of awesome pictures.

Ah, yes. There was a lot of cute!

So cute!!!

As well as hugs,

followed by some leftover chicken fried rice back at Audrey's. Yum!

We went off to bed, and in the morning Cadence did some drawing.

Vadim and Keisha came over, and we all headed over to the Waverly Place Diner for breakfast.

Cadence tried to eat from her napkin...

It didn't work out so well... Hungry.

Cadence then got her very first glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

I think she liked it...

she drank

and drank

took a break...

Full disclosure, Kate and I both took a sip, but otherwise, it was all her drinking that OJ

trying to get those last drops.

Hmm... all gone.

Luckily, our food came. Very tasty. Cadence worked really hard to get jelly on her toast.

And then we were all done!

After brekkist we hopped across the street,

and back up to Audrey's.

Where Cadence began collecting (blue) crayons

Finally, we had to go. Audrey came with us as we stopped one last time at the law school,

and then headed uptown for a little last minute shopping trip.

And then we had to say goodbye. Cadence did not want Audrey to go, and she cried a little bit. But we got going, and she got caught up in the excitement of traveling again. Before we left Audrey's apartment, we estimated how much time we'd have to do everything we needed to and get to the airport on time. Surprisingly, we were spot on with our planning... we just left about 15 minutes later than we'd planned to.

Consequently, we got to the airport, 15 minutes later than we'd planned, and (surprise, surprise) the plane was actually on time. We ended up waiting at least 5 minutes, though it felt more like ten as 3 people ahead of us seemingly had an issue with every step of the check-in process. But we finally got Cadie added to the boarding pass, and we were off dashing to security where - seasoned travelers that we are - we got through no problem.

Except that I kept setting off the metal detector. I knew I didn't have any metal on me, and I patted myself down two or three times, but each time I went through I'd get beeped at. They eventually wanded me, and my knee set off the beeping. Oh! I was wearing my brace, which I'd gotten after working at Home Depot for a while (standing on concrete for hours on end makes my knee angry, evidently). I pulled it off, and it went through the x-ray machine. After that, the guard gave me a pat-down (no cavity searches, though!) and we were off to the gate!

We got there and onto the plane no trouble. Whew! Cadence had fallen asleep on the bus ride to the airport, and stayed fast asleep this whole time, but she woke up just as the plane was getting ready to take off. There were some empty seats, so we managed to get ourselves transferred to the bulkhead, and Cadence had a seat to sit in, once we were in the air and it was safe for her to sit on her own.

All in all, it was a rather pleasant flight and we got in half an hour early.

And Cadence once again proved that she makes a wonderful traveling companion.

Kate's mom picked us up, and took us out to dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. It was busy, so we had to wait about an hour before we were seated, so we wandered around the mall. We window shopped and Cadence played with a giant thread and needle statue.

After dinner we headed home. We were greeted by a very upset dog, and many kitties, along with Papa Scott and Kelly... and Cadence got to eat chocolate and play piano.

The end.