A post from our student blogger Roberto
As an undergraduate I remember waking up one morning and everything changed. Before that day I remember straining my brain each second trying to memorize every piece of information my teachers went over in class. When the time came to prepare for the test I would work through the notes and redo all the practice problems hoping to just re-learn all those examples from class. Then exam day would come and the questions would be different. As a result, I would be forced to exercise my creative knowledge on test day. As if those tests weren’t hard enough I would later learn that this method of studying made them far more difficult than they had to be.
As I said, there was a day when this all changed. Maybe it was a result of staying up all night in computer lab trying to figure out which sign change I needed to make in order for my code to work but one morning I woke up and everything was different. It was almost a matrix-like moment, for all of my Keanu Reeves fans out there. Rather than furiously copying down everything I saw on the chalk board I was found myself taking very few notes. I had finally connected the dots, I had begun to piece the concepts together. I actually began to look at problems and see the numbers and underlying concepts behind what was going on. I would take pieces from my other classes and use them to predict what the teacher would say next. Before long I had unlocked a whole new level of learning and understanding.
When I was going through bootcamp here in the MSPL I realized that I had to become a student of something entirely different than the engineering coursework I was used too. My reset button had been pressed and back again were the days of tirelessly scribbling notes I would probably never make sense of. Initially, it was a bit of transition for me going from engineering to law. I was not used to analyzing words so carefully nor was I accustomed to memorizing statutes and laws. While I knew all of our classes had been carefully interwoven together it was hard for me to see the common thread at first. Each time our professors lectured or we listened to guest speakers I was amazed at the level of knowledge they possessed of the law. They spoke about the law so fluently and eloquently it was as if I was in a foreign country.
After a while the hard work in the classes started to pay off. I began to put the pieces together and I started to truly understand, rather than memorize, concepts. While I was studying for the patent bar I began to realize the true intent of the system and that answers to questions would always flow from that understanding. It was a really great to feel like I understood what patent law was about and what the goal of it was. The closest comparison I can make is that when you were young your parents instilled in you a sense of right and wrong, a moral compass. At first, it was difficult to differentiate right from wrong and we would often pay for the price for it. After a while though we began to trust our moral compass and simply ask ourselves what would be the right thing to do. Rather than memorizing rules we relied upon our understanding of much larger concepts.
For my news tidbit of the week I (regrettably) once again turn our attention to the Seattle Seahawks and their running back Marshawn Lynch. As many who follow the NFL know, star NFL players are required to be available for public media interviews after games or at league scheduled events. Many stars, including Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Eddie Lacy and Randall Cobb, rarely make headlines for these interviews. Some players however have utilized the venue to air grievances with coaches, opposing players or teammates. Lynch made headlines this season not for what he said, but what he did not say. After refusing to answer questions from the media during the majority of the season, and being subsequently fined by the NFL, Lynch decided to answer all media questions with the simple word “yeah”. The next week Lynch answered all questions with “Nope” and over the next few weeks all questions were answered with “Thank you for asking”, “I appreciate it” or “I’m thankful”. Many wondered what Lynch would say during “media week”, which is the week before the Superbowl. Rather than answering questions with one of his already coined responses or not answering at all, this time Lynch responded to every single question with a variant of “I’m just here so I won’t get fined”. Now, a few weeks after that now famous interview, Lynch is attempting to file a U.S. trademark on the phrase. Presumably, Lynch intends on reproducing his famous line on his own personal brand of clothing. As you may know, this trademark would allow him to stop others from reproducing that phrase. While Lynch’s series of interviews will go down in sports lore it is awesome to see intellectual property coming into play and I am excited to see what he does with the phrase.