Reflecting on the First Half of My 3L Year

This semester is my last semester ever of law school. In normal circumstances, I would say I can’t believe the time has gone by this fast. However, these past few years have not been normal at all. I truly feel like I have lived many lives since I started law school and, in a way, it’s true. However this is true for everyone. There is pre-pandemic life and whatever is going on now. It’s definitely added an additional layer of stress to an already stressful experience. I would like to have

This semester started off a rocky note for me. I did not really get the traditional winter break I have gotten in previous years just because WRBLSA had our convention and I had to work with my GLJ board to finalize volume 11.1. The point is, I was not really mentally ready for the semester to start.

Once the semester started, it just felt like things were always escalating. Between my classes, journal, clinic, home life, blog, podcast, and everything else I just felt like I was trying to catch up with myself. Mercury Retrograde started two weeks into the semester and I could definitely tell from my interactions in different spaces. There were so many misunderstandings I spent a good part of that time period praying for patience and meditating because I just did not have it in me to try to overexplain. Luckily, all things were cleared up after some communication, but it was still another thing that was stressing me out at that time.

Another thing that has happened this semester was applying to take the Bar Exam! Oh my goodness. The Bar asks soooo many questions and even though I was not completely unaware of how much it asks, it still caught me off guard and I ended up submitted it on the last possible day without getting a late fee. I was completely prepared for someone to come to my house and ask for a blood sample after I clicked submit. I feel like the Bar Exam people will now know me better than anyone else.

Now that I’ve written out many of the things that have happened so far, I know what I need to do to survive the remainder of the semester until MAY 14th aka MY GRADUATION as well as my legal career in general. Here are some things I need to do to make sure I make the next few months as easy as possible.

I need to spend more time fully planning out my months.

Don’t get me wrong, I use my planner. However, I noticed that in January and February I was writing things in on a weekly basis instead of filling out everything at the beginning of the month. This became problematic because certain things would catch me off-guard and then I would end up having multiple bigger things to do every day for multiple days instead of spreading things out. After I finish writing this blog, I’m going to fill in my March calendar completely because I already know there’s a lot going on this month and I only have a few dates filled in.

I need to write EVERY thing down, no matter how small it is.

I realized that I have been overestimated my ability to remember things that I think of in the moment and this semester it has led to me dropping the ball a few times. Luckily for me, these are all things that could have been remedied, however it’s still not a good look. I now have a little notepad and post-its right next to me on my desk and a note on my phone dedicated to random things I think of if I’m not at my desk. I know this Is so basic and obvious but sometimes those are the things we take for granted the most.

I need to spend MORE time by myself.

I realized this semester that the busier I am with other things, the MORE time I need to make for myself and my wellness. This might sound impossible because obviously if you are super busy, you don’t have that much time. However, one day I sat down and realized I hadn’t actually relaxed for more than 5 mins in a given week or two, I knew it was time for me to take a personal day. I ended up not going to class this past Monday and I don’t regret it at all. Obviously, there is a certain amount of privilege you have to have to be able to do this as a law student. However, if you can just take one day where you don’t go to class and don’t respond to e-mails, slack, band, etc. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT. I also have started meditating for 10 minutes a day every day to ground myself a bit more. I’ll write more about this at the end of the month.

These are just a few things I’m implementing for the rest of the semester. I encourage all law students who may be like me and forgot to do these things as often as they should to try it out. Plan things enough in advance, write things down, and make your me-time non-negotiable. I’m almost certain this will make your semester better. If not, at least it will make it somewhat more manageable.

What are some ways you make sure you have a handle on the semester or your life? Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for suggestions.

A Letter to my Readers and Some Life Updates

Hello Friends!

It has been…quite some time since I last wrote a blog post! I’m so sorry. Fall 2020 was my wildest semester yet. I gravely underestimated my ability to balance every obligation I had and because of this, all of my creative outlets suffered. It made me really sad and this semester I’m making a promise to myself that I will create more often. Not because I have to (I could easily never blog again and the world would keep spinning) but because I want to and need to for my own well-being. Blogging makes me so happy and I need to start doing more things that make me happy. I’m extremely happy to be writing this post right now.

I figured I should use this post to give some life updates because like I said…it’s been quite some time since my last post and A LOT HAS CHANGED. First thing that changed was I got a Peloton Bike! Y’all the Peloton Bike+ has been a game changer for my fitness, my mental health, and my life overall. I was struggling with staying consistent with my home workouts and there would be months where I was killing it and months where I could barely get myself to workout at all. Ever since I got my Peloton, all of that has changed. I workout at least 4x a week and I feel so good about that aspect of my life. I highly recommend anyone who can afford it (they have payment plans) and loves fitness to get one! Use my code: RTWNHY for $100 worth of free accessories.

The rest of the Fall semester consisted of me balancing my law school clinic work with being the Managing Editor of the Gaming Law Journal and my class work and just mentally preparing for hours of Zoom every week. It was quite draining. I honestly wasn’t sure how my finals season was going to go as I felt like I was scrambling through the entire semester, blinked, and then it was over. However, I’m happy to report that for the FIRST TIME EVER, I made the Dean’s List in law school! If you would have told liddle 1L me that one day I’d make the Dean’s List I’d tell you that you were trippin’. I still check read the e-mail to make sure it actually happened and that I didn’t dream it haha.

Sometimes law school can make us doubt our intelligence and greatness but last semester (as hard as it was) was really affirming for me. My friend and I were in the same clinic and we helped our client get their case dismissed with our work. I was so proud and for one of the few times in my law school career, I felt like I could actually BE a lawyer. It was great. I even decided to return to clinic this semester and see who else I could help with my legal knowledge.

There were many other events like me taking driving classes (I still don’t have my license y’all), WRBLSA’s 53rd Annual Convention and Gala (that I was blessed to MC), having a few amazing guests on my podcast, and much more. The last few months have been A LOT. However, I feel like I’m coming into myself and even though we are still in a panera bread (pandemic), I’m grateful for where I’m at in life right now. IT’S MY LAST SEMESTER OF LAW SCHOOL (I’ll have a whole other post about this later). I’m alive and healthy. My family is alive and healthy. My mom is almost completely vaccinated. Everything is as good as it could be.

All of that being said, I’m still planning, working on executing, and doing more things that I ENJOY, starting with this blog, working towards my podcast, and just creating content that feels more me. A rebrand might be on the horizon but I’m still thinking about it haha. IT’S BLACK HISTORY MONTH so I got some wonderful BLACK CONTENT up my sleeve for the blog and Instagram. Stay Tuned.

If you’re still reading I love you and appreciate you. Thank you for all your support.

With Love,

Mara

Reflecting On My First Week of 3L Year

Hey readers! Long time no…post? Haha. As usual around around August, I got caught up in the back to school madness. I promise I’m working on planning & executing well enough in advance that I don’t disappear but it’s harder than it sounds. While I’m on the topic of school I have to let you all know this is my LAST year of law school aka 3l Year. There’s this age old saying (that I’ve probably talked about on here before) that says “1L they scare you to death, 2L they work you to death, 3L they bore you to death.” Now listen idk who they are but my 1st week of 3L was far from boring.

Monday

I don’t actually have Monday classes so my first* day of school was very chill compared to previous years. By having the 2nd best registration time slot (after part-time 4Ls) I was able to get every class I want this semester. I dropped Family Law because I was worried about being a managing editor for Gaming Law Journal and doing a clinic. Family Law was also my only MW class so now my Mondays & Wednesday are open. I plan to use these days to further prepare for the week, do some last minute readings, or complete my journal/clinic work. It truly depends on the week but I’m excited to have no Monday classes.

Tuesday

Tuesday was a wild ride. I forgot how taxing being on Zoom for extended periods of time is. My first class it at 10:30am which I love because it allows me ample to start my day unrushed, even if I wake up at 9:30am (which I definitely did since I’m adjusting to not being a wild night owl like during the summer. I think I picked some great classes for my first semester of 3L and I truly interested in all of the subjects. I need to get a better office chair or I will have back problems by the middle of the semester. I forgot about that too. I still need to get my books but FinAid still hasn’t come through. (update: STILL hasn’t come through)

Wednesday

Since I didn’t have class and had all day, I decided to go into my office. Yes, as the managing editor of GLJ, I get my own office space which is pretty cool! I love that it gives me somewhere to go to get out of the house but still safely practice social distancing. I can’t wait to decorate. I also got so much more done than I would at home. I think I will be utilizing the space more often than not.

Thursday

A mess. This day was a complete mess. I did get a lot done the day before but unfortunately one of those things was not my Civil Rights readings because 1. They were long as hell 2. I was just overwhelmed and didn’t expect her to cold call us. Welp, I was wrong! Guess who she called on (or at least let us know she was going to call on) ME. I had to tell her that I was not prepared. If I had any ounce of shame I would have been embarrassed but I don’t so. I mainly felt bad because I admire this professor and didn’t want to disappoint her. However, sometimes a girl just doesn’t feel like reading. I’ll be prepared from now on. I think I was just overwhelmed with everything else going on in the world.

Friday

Earlier this week my good friend Aariel reached out to me to see if I wanted to take some pictures in honor of being 3Ls. She knows I’m always looking to shoot content so I was excited when she asked. Today we came to the school at like 9am and got soooo many great pictures. I’m super excited to share them over the next few weeks. There are a few in this posts. I spent the rest of my day in my office. I had a meeting for clinic from 10:30-12:30pm, went to buy one of my books, got some food, and planned some stuff out for the next week. I also wrote a couple blog posts, including this one. I said it already but I love being in my office space. I do need to make it more home-y and buy some eating utensils for when I forget mine.

Overall this week was a lot. 3L year is going to be far from easy. I forgot how taxing being on Zoom all day is. I just always feel super tired on my Tuesdays and Thursdays when I have 3 classes. I know it’s for the better but your girl is tiredddd. I really hope it’s safe to come back to school in the spring. Until then, I’m going to have to get used to Zoom School of Law again (for tips on that, check out this blog post). Wish me luck y’all.

Are you currently in law school? What year are you and how do you feel about this school year so far? Let’s chat in the comments!

How To Prepare for A Successful First Semester of Virtual Law School

We are basically half-way through which means that those of us in school are getting ready to go back to school! If you’re reading this, you may even be getting ready to start your first semester of law school in general (online, at that!) First of all, congratulations! Getting into law school is no easy feat, and you’ve made it this far! However, things are about to get really real so make sure you sit down, get comfortable, and read this post with some tips to help you succeed in your fist semester of virtual law school.

Tips for Virtual Law School

Set Alarms/Reminders for Your Classes

When you’re in a law school building, it’s kind of impossible to forget to go to class because you either know people who are in your class or everyone else is going to class so you know you probably have a class too. With virtual law school in the comfort of your own home, it’s soooo easy to forget you have class. This probably sounds ridiculous, but this happened to many of my friends last semester! I personally set a few reminders (30 mins and 5 mins before) so I can give myself enough time to remember to eat before class, fill up my water bottle, use the bathroom, and everything else I need to do before class begins. I try to mimic what I would do before my in-person classes as closely as possible.

Create A Schedule For Your Non-Class Responsibilities

It’s easy to set aside time for the classes that you have to be present for. The harder part of your first semester of law school is making time for everything else and making sure you don’t neglect anything else. I was guilty of this my first two months of law school. I barely had a schedule that didn’t consist of reading for class, writing case briefs, and attending those classes. It literally took over my life. Don’t be like me. You want to put in enough effort but not let it consume you. The semesters where I did better grade wise were definitely the semesters when I made time for my hobbies, family, friends, me-time, and whatever. If it’s scheduled, it will be easier to adhere to.

Go To Virtual Office Hours (and schedule other appointments after that)

It’s already hard enough to stand out to your professors when classes are in person. Virtual law school makes it even harder! One benefit of virtual law school is that some professors have made themselves even more available to talk to students at different times since they are at home. Your first semester of law school is super challenging and I distinctly remember doing better in the classes that I made an effort to attend office hours. Professors can answer questions and help you understand things you are having trouble grasping. They should want you to succeed so make sure you help them help you. Even if it’s not for grades, it’s also good for future letters of recommendation. They might not even write you one if they don’t feel like they know you well enough to vouch for you, so make them know who you are!

Use Google Calendar

I love a good google calendar. While I also love a good paper planner, google calendar gives you flexibility to move things around in case something comes up. You can still keep the time blocks and whatever else you put in the description. This one is pretty straight-forward and it will help you keep a google schedule. If you are a visual person like me, seeing everything laid out helps you do everything you need to do.

Plan Out Your Me Time (preferably unplugged)

I already mentioned this earlier but it’s so important it needs repeating. Plan your me-time. Plan your me-time. PLAN YOUR ME-TIME! It is so easy to neglect your own personal needs during your first semester of law school. Don’t do it! You will inevitably burn out at some point and it will be hard to bounce back once that happens. Since law school will be entirely online, I recommend your me-time include doing something that’s not related to technology at all. Take a walk. Read a book not related to law school. Maybe even listen to music (this is kinda technology but as long as you’re not also on your phone it’s okay.) Meditate. Whatever you need to do, do it! It will help with your preservation in the long run.

This list is by no means all-inclusive but it does consist of things I personally find really important going into your first semester of virtual law school. Talk to other 2Ls and 3Ls at your school to gain their insight on your specific school. Good luck this semester and if your school is still giving out grades, may the curve be ever in your favor!

Are there any other law school topics you want to learn more about? Let me know in the comments below!

My Biggest Struggles with Zoom School of Law

Most of my law school’s classes this upcoming Fall semester will be held online due to the ongoing pandemic. While I completely understand and obviously want to prioritize the health of all law students, staff, professors, and everyone in general, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed about having to do ANOTHER virtual semester. Spring 2020 was literally the most challenging semester of my academic career and it wasn’t because of the subject material.

Law school is hard as hell in general…having to go to law school virtually is literally the WORST. I’m not looking forward to doing it again. It’s already been hard enough planning Gaming Law Journal’s virtual work week (where we train the new junior staffers for the upcoming academic year) and thinking about another virtual semester has my anxiety through the roof. I wish things could go back to law school in person “normal.”

I already talked about my 2nd year of law school on here before and mentioned how spring 2020 was rough earlier in this blog. There are a few things that really made Spring 2020 a struggle fest of a semester. Most of my issues involved the following:

  • Remember to show up to my classes
  • My family not understanding that being home =/= being available
  • Not being able to do the fun part of law school: socializing with classmates

These are such first world problems but they did affect me pretty negatively this past semester. I’m definitely going to make sure I take the steps to prevent as many conflicts as possible on this list. I will write a blog post with tips for dealing with these problems in the near future as the semester gets closer.

Have another law school related topic you’d like my thoughts on? Ask away in the comments!

7 Must-Follow Law Blogs & Instagram Accounts

Recently I’ve started adding wayyy more law school related content on my Instagram and my blog. I feel like it’s important for me to do this because using my platform to talk about my law school experience can potentially inspire others to apply to law school! Long before I started heavily focusing on adding more law school related content to my bog and Instagram, I read a few different law school blogs and followed many law school Instagram accounts. It’s important to follow quite a few accounts in law school or the legal field because we all offer our own unique perspective on the experiences that come with applying, attending, and graduating law school. Due to the fact that I know how important it is, I will dedicate this post to highlighting some of my favorite law school/legal field related account to follow.

@MusingsofMara

Obviously, I couldn’t start out an Instagram and blog list without mentioning myself! I may be biased but I like would recommend ALL law students to follow me on Instagram because I talk about my law school experience honestly while also encouraged all of my followers, legal field or not, to be mindful about living a well-balanced life. I also talk about my law school experience on my podcast every now and then too! Give me a follow today!

https://legallycomplicated.com/

This blog is written by one of my sorority sisters and was actually one of the first inspirations for me to add more law school content on my blog. She recently graduated law school and I really enjoyed her post about what she learned in law school. I also enjoy following her on twitter (click here). Make sure to check out her blog and her twitter.

@blackgirlsdolaw

This is one of my FAVORITE accounts to follow onInstagram! She constantly uploads helpful content for law Black women law students and has recently been holding virtual events in light of Covid-19. She also has a website with apparel, drinkware, and resources to help with your legal journey. I love how much community impact this page has had. Follow them and also checkout the hashtag #BlackGirlsDoLaw on IG to see what all these Beautiful & Brilliant Black women in the legal field are up to!

@msjdorg

I’ve recently followed this page and I have enjoyed their content so far! They are a non-profit dedicated to the success of women in law school and the legal profession. They also have a community that you can join for different resources directly to your inbox as well as on the website.

https://www.brazenandbrunette.com/

I enjoy this blog so much. She has been writing posts for a long time and has blogs for every stage of the law school experience from high schoolers who have future lawyer dreams to  law school graduates. She separates her content by year at the top of her blog! Her post on follow up e-mails after job applications has been very useful to me in recent times.

@dclawtina

Her feed aesthetic isn’t the only amazing thing about her Instagram account! She also posts non-law related books that she’s reading and shares about her life as a young attorney living in DC (one of the few places I would live if I ever moved from Vegas!) I don’t remember when I started following her but I’m so glad I did!

@leahslegallife

Following her Instagram reminds me of when I was going through my own LSAT journey. She doesn’t just focus on preparing for the LSAT, she also lets us get a glimpse into her life, which are my favorite law related accounts to follow. Recently she held a giveaway for LSAT materials and I thought that was such a great thing to do! Along with managing her studying and Instagram account, she also has a Youtube channelso be sure to check out both!

There soooo many law school blogs and Instagram accounts and I’m sure I’m going to remember others after I post this but that’s okay! I will definitely update this list later or or even make a whole different post with some of favorites later on. Be sure to follow and subscribe all of these accounts, especially yours truly! Hahaha.

Do you have any law related blogs or Instagram accounts you love to follow that I didn’t mention? Leave a comment and let me know so I can check their content out! 

How I Choose My Law School Classes

It’s here! It’s finally happening! I’m in my LAST year of law school. Sometimes (actually most times) I still can’t believe it. I remember my first day of law school as if it were yesterday. I actually look at the selfie I took that day to admire how far I’ve come since that day. Not only have I accomplished different goals I set out to accomplish over the years, but my overall confidence in being a law student has grown as well. It’s actually been amazing for me to witness and experience.

One exciting part of law school (for me) is picking my classes. This was the first year that I was confident I was going to get every class that I wanted and not have to be on a waitlist or pick a different class. I’m happy to report that this was true and I got every class that I wanted. This upcoming semester my class schedule will be as follows:

  • Criminal Procedure – Adjudication
  • Civil Rights
  • Advanced Legal Analysis and Writing: Making Law, Writing, & Interpreting Legislation
  • Family Law

I’m super excited as I know all of these classes will be extremely beneficial to my legal education and I’ve interested in majority of the topics. There are many debates about whether or not to take bar classes in your 3L year and while I’ve taken most of the Bar Classes already, I still had a few I could have taken this semester. I chose against it, although sometimes Family Law is on the bar. I decided to write this blog to tell law students how I choose what law school classes I want to take and the different questions I ask myself that go into those decisions.

Do you want to take all bar classes, no bar classes, or a healthy in between?

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you want to take mostly bar classes than it will be easier for you to decide which classes you want to take as your options will be limited. At my school we are only required to take certain bar classes (Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Legal Writing I, II, II, Property, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law I & II). The rest of the bar classes are offered as electives so we pretty much have free reign. There are pros and cons to taking non-graduation requirement bar classes. One pro to taking a bar class in law school is that you will be familiar with the topic as opposed to seeing it for the first time when you start bar prep two or three months before the bar exam. On the flip side, bar classes can oftentimes be harder than non-bar classes and if you want to raise your GPA, bar classes might not be your best way to do so. As a 2L I took a healthy mix of bar classes and classes that I was interested in and I did pretty well.

What type of law are you interested in or maybe want to learn more about?

I think it very important to not only take classes that may be on the bar but also to take classes that interest you (if they aren’t also bar classes, which they can be). This was very important to me because I came into law school with tunnel vision about practicing Criminal Law. I wanted to make sure to take other law classes not necessarily related to criminal law but still something I was interested in like Resort Hotel Casino Law and Education Reform. Taking these classes allowed me to see if I would ever be open to practicing a different type of law or if it was strictly Criminal Law for me. If you relate to my tunnel vision, I would recommend trying different types of classes.

Which professors have you enjoyed taken classes with in the past and what’s the word around the law school about the others?

Listen! When it comes to law school classes, the professors can often make or break the class. Law school is hard enough without having to deal with difficult professors or professors who mean well but their teaching style just doesn’t suit your learning style. I always try to take classes with professors who I have before because I know what to expect and have grown accustomed to how they teach. This is very important since most law school grades are based off of one exam that the professor is teaching you for.

These are just some of the questions to ask yourself when taking classes as a 3L. Choosing classes is very important in law school and you don’t want to just choose whatever. Make sure you sit and think about it for a good minute before registration day. I may write a post similar to this before the spring semester to help 1Ls choose their elective class. Let me know if that would be helpful.

How do you decide what classes to take? What’s more important: the professors, the time, the subject, or something else? Let me know in the comments.

Unconventional Tips for the LSAT (and Affirmations)

Ah, the LSAT. Every aspiring law student’s worst nightmare. Well, at least it was my worst nightmare at the time. I can remember studying for the LSAT like it was yesterday. I was super stressed out and kept scoring a lower score than I wanted to when I took practice tests. I also wasn’t scoring what I needed to get into the school I wanted to go to. My undergrad GPA was decent but definitely not one of the GPAs that make the LSAT less of a big deal. I had spent over $1,000 on my LSAT prep course (I needed a course because I was not self-disciplined enough to study on my own free-will as a recovering busybody who studied when I had time to…not because I chose to). The LSAT I had decided to take was the last possibly one I could take before deadlines for admission materials were due so it was either do well on this one or put off law school for another year (which in retrospect wouldn’t have been sooo horrible but at the time it sounded like the end of the world since I had already taken 2 years off after undergrad).

During my 2-year gap between undergrad and law school, one thing I had really gotten into was the Law of Attraction and all of its subparts like visualization, positive thinking, and affirmations (which I have written about before). I knew that I truly could manifest anything that I wanted if I really believed it, released it, and did the work to make it happen without worrying about. It was the final week before the LSAT and I realized I hadn’t written any affirmations for the test. I had written affirmations for every other life event that I had going on prior to this so it didn’t make sense that I hadn’t made any for the LSAT. They really helped me and have helped other people that I’ve shared them with. I decided to write this blog post with the LSAT affirmations I created for those taking the upcoming July LSAT this Saturday. Read them below!

 

I enjoy the subjects I am studying

I easily understand and retain what I study

I study hard and regularly

I am always relaxed during exams.

During the exams, I recall information quickly and easily.
My memory is sharp.

I pass exams easily.

Reading Comprehension comes naturally to me.

Logic Games are fun and I enjoy the challenge.

I always know the correct answers for Logical Reasoning questions.

I am prepared for the LSAT.

I will conquer the LSAT.

I will get into Law School.

I will be an attorney.

LSATTipsandAffirmations

Hopefully these affirmations give you some last-minute confidence for the LSAT. I have two other tips that helped me get the score I wanted. Of course, I didn’t take my LSAT during a global pandemic so my experience was completely different, but these aren’t reliant on us not experiencing a pandemic so it doesn’t hurt to give them a try.

The first tip is to chant the score you want out loud after you finish practicing for the day (I know it sounds crazy but hear me out). My entire time studying for the LSAT the highest score I got was a 155, which isn’t horrible…but I wanted a 160 to ensure I would get into the school I wanted to (a 160 was higher than their average). I chanted it after every practice tests and practice section I would do. Even though I never scored a 160 on any of my practice tests, I knew I was destined to get a 160. I would chant it and visualize it and guess what? I scored a 160 and in the 80th percentile for that testing period.

The next tip is to make a LSAT day playlist to pump you up on test day! Make sure it’s super uplifting and matches the vibe you want to go into test day with. On my LSAT playlist I had different songs like Bodak Yellow – Cardi B, FORMATION – Beyoncé, CRZY – Kehlani, Blessings – Big Sean ft. Drake, DNA. – Kendrick Lamar, and Know Yourself – Drake. Formation and Bodak Yellow definitely had me feeling like a bad b*tch walking into the testing center, even if I was nervous. Put whatever songs make you feel like you can handle anything thrown your way.

The LSAT is just one of many tests you will take in your upcoming legal career. It seems scary now but you will look back at it once you’re in law school and not feel the sense of terror that you may be feeling now. Keep studying, say your affirmations, and remember YOU GOT THIS!

Share this post with any other aspiring law students you know who are taking the LSAT this year.

 

4 Important Things You Should Do The Summer Before Law School

This post has been updated due to Covid-19. The read the original post click here.

If you’re anything like the average person getting ready to start law school, the months before your first semester will be filled with soooo many emotions: excitement, anxiety, pride, fear, and everything in between. First, take a deep breath and exhale. Everything is going to be okay! It’s going to feel like it’s not many times between now and the end of your first year, but it will. There are books dedicated to preparing you for your first year of law school…I didn’t read any of them so I can’t testify (ba dum tshh) how effective and helpful they are for the 1L experience. However, I do feel that besides one or two things I did wrong, my summer pre-1L year was pretty great. In this post I’ll be discussing what I did that I believe was effective and what I wish I had done to be better prepared.

Save money

Many different faculty, lawyers, 2L and 3Ls will tell you that you shouldn’t work your first year of law school and I’m inclined to agree. I worked only one day a week until November of my first year and I wish I had just quit, to be quite honest. I understand that is a privilege many people may not be able to afford but if you can, you should not work your first year of law school. Due to this, I think people should save as much money as they can before they start law school. You may get financial aid or scholarships, but it never hurts to have a well-funded savings account. This is especially important if you don’t want to take out loans. I can’t relate to that but it’s a noble goal to have in law school. I know this may be harder due to Covid-19 and everything else going on but definitely try.

Read for fun

I’m sure there are people who can find the time and energy to read for fun while they’re in school, I’m not one of them. Even when I was in undergrad (which was not even ½ as hard as law school for me), I never made time to read for fun. The summer before law school I decided that I wanted to read as many books for fun as I could because I knew I wouldn’t be able to do so once school started and I had to read dozens of cases a week. I’m personally a self-help/biography of powerful women junkie so I read many books of that nature but read whatever it is you enjoy because chances are you won’t be able to do that once the semester starts.

Spend time with your family and friends

Once school starts, you’re going to have way less time to spend with your non-law school friends and even your family. I live with my parents and I still didn’t have much time to spend with them throughout the week between classes, readings, and going to the gym. My friends and I rarely saw one another during the semester due to us all being in school or working and being busy. While I did spend some time with them during the summer, I wish I had spent more time with my parents before 1L started because now I feel like I hardly see them enough. One thing I want to do this upcoming school year is schedule dinners and time with my parents and days to hang out with my friends and treat it like any other appointment I have in my planner/google calendar. The point is, the summer before you will hopefully have more time to dedicate to seeing your family and friends more often and you should take advantage of that, if that’s something you value. If you are going to school out-of-state I can’t recommend this enough.

Get a semblance of a routine

My biggest fuck-up in 1L was deviating from the schedule/routine I had planned for more often than I should have. Sticking to your routine is one of the most important things an incoming 1L can learn in the summer before law school begins. Many people don’t struggle with this but I did and still do. In the first semester of law school it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and I sometimes combatted this by abandoning my routine all together for weeks at a time and just going with the flow. Don’t do this. In undergrad, I was so busy with other clubs and interning and working that my schedule had to be followed otherwise nothing would have been done. Law school granted me much more independence and freedom than undergrad or my two gap years where I was just working and working out. A lack of a routine in law school is dangerous. Before you know it, it’s December 1st and you don’t have any outlines or well put together notes and you’re submitting your major legal writing assignment at 11:55pm and you haven’t even had time to proof-read it that final time before submission. All of this is to say, practice sticking to a routine before school starts if you’re someone who doesn’t necessarily have to in order to be successful now because all of that will change soon.

Get started on implementing these tips today! If you have any other law school related questions COMMENT BELOW and let’s chat.

If you’re already in law school, COMMENT with some tips you think I may have missed that helped you during your summer before 1L.

Reflecting On My 2L Year

Hey readers! I know it’s been a little while since you’ve heard (read?) from me but I can explain…it was finals season! There are few things in my life that are as stressful as law school finals season. Mix in everything else going on in the world and it’s just a bit much. I actually took a break from both my blog and my podcast (listen here) to focus on my studies. I’m not sure if it actually made a difference but we switched to Pass/Fail back in March so hopefully I passed all my classes. Aside from that, one of my biggest regrets from 1L year was that I didn’t write a reflection post so I decided to do one this year.

What was 2L Like?

This year was by-far my busiest year in law school (so far). My 1L year was more centered around getting used to the law school experience from reading all of those cases and trying to understand legalese to using proper terminology in your cold call responses and whatever else. It’s a whole new way of learning that undergrad (no matter what your major was) can’t prepare you for. My 2L year was very different.

There’s an age old saying that says “1L they scare you to death, 2L they scare you to death, and 3L they bore you to death.” (feel like the last part isn’t true but okay) 2L year they definitely work you to death. People told me that 2L things would get easier and although the class part definitely did, everything else did not! Your 2L year in when you actually branch out, get involved in more clubs, and serve as a junior staffer on journal/law review if you choose to do write-on the summer before. It all can get pretty crazy.

First Semester

My plate was not as full as it could have been this past year. I didn’t work, aside from teaching MixxedFit at a gym from October-December) so I luckily didn’t have that to balance. The two main commitments I had in my 2L year was serving as the Vice President of Programming for my chapter of Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and as a junior staffer on Gaming Law Journal. However, I was taking 5 classes and all of them required a final the first semester (only one take home). Adjusting to adding journal and planning and attending multiple events for BLSA made my first semester of 2L just as much as getting used as my 1L year. Even though I was extremely busy with balancing school, journal, BLSA and my non-school hobbies/job, I still managed to get the best grades of my law school career that semester and finally got my overall GPA to one I could be happy with. I even CALI’d my Criminal Procedure class and it was super affirming for me as Criminal Defense is the type of law I’m leaning towards. In the middle of finals season my dad had something wrong with his stomach and could have died and my mom had a fall and was hospitalized so I honestly wasn’t expecting to do that well.

Second Semester

The second semester finally felt like I was getting the hang of things, and then Miss Corona struck and lowkey ruined my whole flow of school. The week prior to spring break I was staying at school until midnight or so working on journal assignments just because I really enjoyed being able to leave everything at school and let home be my resting place. That all changed once we switched to Zoom School of Law after spring break. Having to take online classes has never been my strong suit. I literally avoided them in undergrad because the few times I took them I just didn’t learn as well and struggled. Zoom School of Law was no different. This past semester was soooo challenging for me and there is honestly still one class where Idk what the hell was going on in there. It was also really hard because at the beginning my family wasn’t understanding that yes, I actually work on law school stuff all day, especially if we have a journal round due that same week. It was just really stressful. Many arguments took place but we eventually came to an understanding. I’m really just glad it’s over and praying that Fall 2020 meets in person (so long as it’s safe to do so).

 

BLSA

I enjoyed my time as BLSA’s VP of Programming immensely! My president and right-hand woman, Jazmine, was such a great leader this past year and is an even better friend. I also enjoyed how well our board got along and all of the wonderful events we brought to Boyd’s campus. Regardless of my political beliefs or who I wanted to be president, the fact that we were able to bring Pete Buttigieg to our campus in the spring was pretty amazing. Even prior to the spring we switched up so much of our programming and had great events all around. I also went to our Western Regional Convention for the first time and it was EVERYTHING and more. I met so many beautiful and brilliant fellow black law students. I ran into two friends from undergrad and it was so great seeing them! We also got to go to a Clippers game and even though I’M a LAKER FAN til forever, I root for Kahwi because he went to SDSU. The trip also allowed me to grow closer to my friends from my own school. I even got to record a wonderful episode for my podcast with Jazmine and Aariel. All 3 of us decided to be on the regional e-board for next year and I’m super excited for whats to come from that! I’m so happy I became more involved with BLSA after my 1L year and so proud of our board for everything we did!

Gaming Law Journal

I will say that even though journal is A LOT of work, I’m really glad I chose to write-on. I debated back in forth the summer before 2L and decided just to do it and I don’t regret it. My citation skills have grown sooo much and I feel like I’m starting to know the bluebook like the back of my hand. The best part of being on journal was grabbing food and a beer or wine from Cheba Hut and the fun late-night editing sessions my friends and I had in the journal room. Those are some of my favorite memories of 2L. So many non-academic and hilarious conversations happened in that room and even though I sometimes dreaded going there, I miss it now! I clearly loved my experience on journal a lot because I decided to try and get the position of Managing Editor for my 3L year and I GOT IT. I’m still a little nervous even though I’m technically the current Managing Editor. I have some big shoes to fill because our last one was AMAZING. I’m excited to help the journal continue growing in the right direction.

 

So that’s my 2L year summed up. It was unlike any academic year I’ve ever experienced before and I’m sure I left some stuff out.

 

Leave a comment below if you want to know more about my 2L experience or law school in general!

 

Have a great day!