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Got the semester finished.  We're in exam mode around here, but I only have one to take this time around.   I don't really need the nearly two weeks to prepare, so I am spending the week working on a death penalty project at school, analyzing and entering data about cases.  Kinda fun.  (I know, I know)

Then I'll study and take an exam (15th).   Not fun.

THEN I'll hop on a plane and go do some mitigation investigation in a SC case for a few days -- more fun!

All the while, trying to get myself a job for afterward.  I've got some really interesting irons in the fire -- no one's actually offered me anything yet, but there are cool possibilities at places that haven't yet turned me down!  =)

I know it's strange to talk about death penalty work as fun, but parts of it are for me.  (There are other parts, too.)  I enjoy talking to people in investigations.  I like it that people trust me.  I enjoy trying to figure out what the data say.  I enjoy trying to craft a persuasive argument.  Most of the time these things also scare me, and the consequences of the inevitable failures are rough.  How rough, over the long term, we'll have to wait and see.

But this work really pulls me.  The intellectual challenge, the sense of making a difference to someone who just wants someone who will try.  The long shot at making a difference in the system itself.  And there are bonuses, like the great people I get to work with.

All around me, meanwhile, are a bunch of smart almost-lawyers, many of whom have no job yet either, and they're really scared.  I'm not worried about not having a job because public interest jobs are posted when they become available.  It's not time to panic yet.  It's not like not having a "law firm" job, if that's what you want.  If every single thing that really interests me falls through, I'll figure something out.  I'll either land on my feet, or pick myself up, dust off, and try to find another way to get there.

One reason I know this is that I've done it before.  Unlike the vast majority of my classmates, I have all this life experience that tells me that, yeah, bad things happen, but they're often not the ones you worry about, and anyway you get through it.  There is no disaster here.  And no fairy tale, either.  You'll get your heart broken some no matter what you do, but mostly it's just life and problems and figuring things out, and in between, a lot to be grateful for.

And anyway, it doesn't help to worry and complain and blame.   It took me a long time to see that, but really, it doesn't.

But the main thing is this sense that I've found the Right work, and that means I can somehow put a little more weight down on the notion that it will all work out somehow.

I often think I want to turn this blog into some kind of daily encouragement for all the people in my life who feel kind of scared and lost.

But then something triggers me on the death penalty, and I go right back to arguing about it.  <sigh>

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