Huma Rashid was THE busiest law student in the Chicago area. She graduated last May. She devours books and is responsible for getting me addicted to Better World Books. She loves to hug trees, can type faster than anyone I know, and knows everything about root beer! You can follow this outspoken lady on Twitter.
For DCC, she answered these questions:
1: What is your most favourite part of the day?
I absolutely love lunchtime – anywhere between 12 and 2PM. I get to shut my casebook, warm up my lunch, and calmly eat it while watching my favorite cartoon or listening to classical music, or people-watching, or talking with my friends. It’s a great time in the day to relax after a productive morning and gear up for a productive evening. Unless, of course, I overeat, in which case I just want to take a long nap.
2: What is the worst kind or style of lecture for you? Any law courses that stand out due to the lecturer’s teaching methods or style?
The worst kind of lecture is definitely the interminable sort done in a monotonous tone with little thought toward engaging students. I don’t need a professor to perform for me; I just prefer not hearing the same thing repeated over and over in the same tone, and I prefer not having entire pages from a casebook read aloud to me.
As for teaching styles that stand out in my mind, I’d have to point to basically every lecture in my Labor Law class. My professor was the Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago for most of the seventies and has fantastic stories about the disputes he was called in to mediate, and the strikes he saw, and his days working for Earl Warren. He always wove these stories into his lectures where appropriate, and I liked having that context of application of the provisions of the NLRA.
Another professor liked to reference South Park in his lectures, which I loved because it’s one of my favorite shows.
3: Were you ever in a situation where you came up short with a good come back? You can give it now!
To the mother of a ninth grade girl at my old private school who decided it would be a great idea to spread lies about me, an eighth grade girl at the time, throughout our community just because she felt that I couldn’t possibly be talented enough on my own to win all the awards and honors I did, and that I must have only been able to accomplish that because my mother was a teacher there:
What kind of pathologically insecure attention-whore, and an adult at that, bullies a kid? You are proof positive that money doesn’t buy class or intelligence, and the only reason I’m glad to have known you is so that when I’m feeling bad about myself, or inadequate in any way, I can point to you and say to myself, Self, whatever your shortcomings, at least you won’t ever be as pathetic as that. So, thanks for that. You are everything I despise in our South Asian community at large, and everything I have always made a conscious effort to struggle not to be like.
(I doubt I’d actually say this, because our culture and religion elevate respecting elders to almost impractical levels, but who knows? I might one day, if I ever have the misfortune of running into this odious woman again.)
4: Which trials/cases still haunts you till today?
Pennoyer v. Neff. I hated it as a 1L – I hated Civil Procedure in general – and I had to revisit it as a 3L when I was taking Conflicts of Law. My professor had to bring her children in to class that day due to an emergency and being unable to secure a baby-sitter, and she had them act out the fact pattern of the case. It is kind of a shame that I was only able to properly conceptualize Pennoyer v Neff when it was staged in front of me by a couple of kids, the oldest of which couldn’t have been older than nine. But it was really cute! They shoved each other to show the man falling off the train and everything.
5: If you have a blog, how did you get started? Who or what inspired you to blog?
I do have a blog! I was inspired to start it by my Law School BFF, who mentioned one day that he was starting his own. I figured it would be nice to blog about my law school experiences, since writing has always had a calming effect on me. My blog started out as a relatively serious endeavor, all about law school and legal issues and with all the pomp and pseudo-importance of most law student blogs.
Then, one day, I noticed a girl at my school wearing leggings, leather boots, and an off-the-shoulder Blondie t-shirt and thought, I know we’re all on tight budgets here, but there just has to be a way to dress relatively professionally without breaking the bank. So I put together a business casual outfit for under $100, and did it again later in the week. It took off and now that’s basically what my blog is about. Occasionally I draw little comics making fun of myself or my South Asian culture. Its fun and silly, and I like having an outlet to channel my frivolous side into, since I’m nowhere near that silly in real life.
6: When you were a child, what did you want to become? When did you realize you wanted to study law?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian for the same reason that most kids do: because I loved animals and basically thought being a veterinarian would mean getting to play with dogs and cats and horses all day, instead of checking stool samples and administering shots and performing euthanizations. As soon as I figured that out, I lost all interest in veterinary care and wanted to be a race car driver instead…until I learned it was dangerous and decided I didn’t want to be anything and just wanted to live in a tree. I’m almost twenty-five years old, and I still want to live in a tree.
7: Your worst vacation experience?
All of my vacations have been lovely, and have basically been cross-country road trips by myself or with my family. Once, though, we were on one of our trips and staying as overnight guests with a friend of the family. His house was almost uninhabitable. They gave me a guest room while my brother and father (who were with me on the trip) took the pull-out couch in the den, and dear Lord. The windows had no screens. The bathroom light didn’t work (so guess who had to wash up in the dark?). The plates were all cracked. Everything smelled musty. The shower didn’t work right, and the shower rod was broken. His wife was a horrible cook. There was no internet. They drank tap water, and it tasted weird. Everything was covered in a fine layer of dust.
It felt like one of those houses where college kids rent a room to save money and still live close to campus, only to be murdered in their sleep and buried in the basement. I was so close to just fleeing in the middle of the night and finding a hotel nearby. We bailed in the morning as soon as it was polite to do so and immediately agreed that if we were ever in the area again, we’d insist on not wanting to put our hosts out and get a hotel instead. Also? The family friend had insisted we stay with him when we were in town because he “just had the place remodeled.” Yes. And this is a solidly middle class suburb in Boston, not even some cramped place in the inner city or some shack in the country. Horrible.
8: Have you ever dozed off during a lecture or meeting?
Three times. The first time, I was in high school and just very, very tired. The other two times were in law school, in Corporations and Constitutional Law II. In Corporations, I was just not feeling well and still under the effects of the NyQuil I probably gulped down a little too liberally the night before. In Constitutional Law II, however, I was unknowingly suffering from swine flu. I had been fine that morning, absolutely no sniffles, no sign of any illness, but an hour before class, it hit me like a train. In fact, I actually felt like I had been hit by a train – I was so weak I could barely keep my head up. If I had known at the time that it was swine flu, instead of just a cold, I would have gone straight home and not even attempted to make sense of the Arlington Heights case.
9: Is there something you always wanted to learn but never did?
I always wanted to learn how to sew and crochet, but I never did. I don’t know why. I have crochet needles and yarn. I have a little sewing machine. I always wanted to be able to sew long dresses for myself, and to crochet a pretty afghan to throw over my bed. I tried to learn once, but it turned out to be complicated, so I took up painting instead. It wasn’t a bad choice: I painted a picture of scary little elves dancing around a fire in a dark forest, and the daughter of one of our family friends loved it and took it home to hang in her bedroom. It’s good to know that if this lawyer thing fails, I can have a career in trying to scare children and failing at it.
10: if you could trade places with a cartoon character for one day…who would that be?
I would trade places with Hobbes the stuffed tiger from Bill Watterson’s classic comic strip, “Calvin and Hobbes.” Hobbes leads the charmed life. He lives with his best friend, gets to sleep while Calvin goes to school, spends his time reading and lazing about and trying to sneak some tuna from the refrigerator, and gets to flop around in the dryer after his bath. Plus, Hobbes really understands what makes life worth living. He understands the beauty of nature, of simplicity, of basic human connections. He loves to read and is skeptical of appliances and gadgets meant to make our lives easier. He takes great pride in himself and his species, and delights in showing off his prowess as a hunter and his skill as an artist. He is mature and ironic, and is the voice of reason compared to Calvin, who is manic and impulsive and basically the voice of the lower aspects of our culture, all about instant gratification and greed and sensationalism. Hobbes just has the best life, in terms of being a stuffed animal with few cares in the world, and the best quality of life, in terms of how he sees the world and human nature.