3 Tips for Balancing Work/School Life with Your Other Goals

A few weeks ago I hosted a Q&A on my instagram live and had my followers ask me questions. One of the questions I got asked how I balance law school, homework, fitness, and everything else. I loved the question so much I gave a short answer on my live and decided to write a post about it. Here are some ways I achieve a balanced life when I’m busy as hell.

Get Clear on Your Priorities and Dedicate Your Time Accordingly

You can’t achieve balance if you aren’t crystal clear on exactly what it is you’re prioritizing. Once you know what your priorities are, you will have an idea of where most of your time should be going and how much time to dedicate to less important things. One way I get clear on my priorities is when I set goals as if anything is possible. By setting goals, you understand what it is you truly desire. This allows you to move forward in prioritizing your time and balancing your many aspirations.

Be Realistic

I’m not sure about your reader but when I was in high school I learned about something called SMART goals. The R is smart goals stands for realistic and I feel that this is such an important part of goal setting and achieving balance between all aspects of our lives. While I do believe that we can do all we set our minds to, we also need to be semi-realistic when striving for balance in our work/school life. For example: if I want to achieve a school/life balance, I cannot set goals that would take much more time and dedication to achieve. For example: if I’m trying to make sure my grades are at least average or slightly above average (shout out to the law school curve), I can’t make one of my goals to be a nationally recognized body builder in the next 3 months who also goes out every weekend. Getting good grades takes many many hours of studying, being a Nationally ranked body builder takes many many hours of training and hyper focusing on nutrition, and going out every weekend takes energy and uses time that could be used for studying or bodybuilding. All three of these goals can be achieved in a lifetime but in 3 months (based on my experience in law school only since I’ve never been a bodybuilder much less a national recognized one) they are almost impossible to achieve all at the same time.

Use Your Planner

My planner is one of the most important tools I have for keeping achieving balanced in my life. I personally like the write things done because the power of writing things down has been long documented. Anyone who knows me or has been reading my blog for a while knows that I live for my passion planner. However, for my friends who do not love the paper planner life, I also live for my google calendar (simply for the fact that it’s easier to edit when things come up and I have to make last minute changes

Being a busy bee can be stressful but that doesn’t mean you can’t live a balanced life. If you’re clear on your priorities, are realistic with what you can accomplish, and use some sort of planning system, you can do what you need to do to handle your business.

Did you find any of these tips helpful? Which one(s) do you plan on using in your life moving forward? Are there any other tips you have for maintaining work/school life balance? Leave a comment below!

Share this article with a busy person in your life who may benefit from these tips!

7 Things I Wish Knew My First Semester of 1L Year

Law school is unlike anything else I’ve done in my life. My 0L summer (the summer before law school) was filled with many emotions: excitement, anxiety, nervousness, uncertainty, worry, and more. While I did get some great advice from other law students, there were also some things I had to learn through my own trial and error. In this blog post I share the things I learned, what I wish I would have known before my first semester of law school and my tips to all incoming law students.

Have A Day Where You Don’t Do Anything Related to Law School (when possible)

There was a point in 1L where I legit contemplated if law school was for me (like actually contemplated…not the usual “ugh I hate this” rambling that usually happens). I felt burnt out and I knew what I was doing wasn’t sustainable. I forget exactly when I made the shift but I remember deciding that Sundays were going to be the days I didn’t do ANYTHING related to law school. If that wasn’t possible, whatever I had to do was only allowed to take up a max of 1-2 hours of the day. At first it was rough because I hadn’t prioritized it at the beginning of my law school journey but once I got the hang of it law school felt way less miserable and all consuming. This is the piece of advice I recommend the most. That’s why it’s first on the list! If you take away nothing else from this post, implement this!

Create a Schedule and Stick to it

A schedule prevents you from wasting time being mindlessly “busy”. Without a set schedule (that I stuck to consistently) I realize that I spent so much more time thinking I was busy than I did actually being “busy.” Most of the time I was probably scrolling on Instagram. A schedule also holds you accountable to what you need to get done. While I did manage to get all of my readings done (most of the time) semester, there is soooo much more that needs to be done when it comes to mastering law school. Doing the readings is bare minimum and for the most part of the semester that was all I did…besides taking notes in class and book briefing. A schedule also allows you to make sure you are putting the correct amount of focus on your classes. It’s also easier to notice if you aren’t making enough time for yourself. If you don’t schedule any time for yourself…you probably won’t making any.

Go to Bed at a Reasonable Time

One of the easiest things to neglect in 1L is sleep. There are so many things to do and even the most advanced and skilled time management skills are challenged when you begin your law school journey. However, neglecting sleep to “finish” everything you need to do (tip: there is always more to do) is futile and will not make you a better law student. Once you start neglecting your sleep you may struggle to pay attention in class, have worse eating habits, or rely on caffeine to function (guilty as charged over here). One thing I am focusing on this 2L year is making sure I’m getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night. This is one habit I wish I had gone into 1L with.

It’s Okay If You Bomb a Cold Call

Ahhh the dreaded cold call. The experience of many nightmares of incoming 1Ls everywhere. Here’s the truth: if you already knew everything you needed to know to take the bar and become a lawyer…you wouldn’t be in law school! It’s okay to fuck up a cold call (or few). Honestly I am a person who doesn’t typically experience being embarrassed from others but I did care a lot if I bombed my cold calls and the professors thought I was dumb. Fun fact: doing amazing in your cold calls still doesn’t guarantee you’ll be an amazing law student or lawyer. Most of your grade will come from the exam anyway and class participation is usually not that high of a percentage. Obviously come to class prepared but if you bomb a cold call the world will keep spinning and life as we know it will go on. There are enough things to stress about in law school…don’t sweat the small stuff.

Get Help from Academic Success

Law school is full of many smart people. That being said, many of us struggle with asking for help when we need it. Legal concepts are difficult. Legal writing is unlike any other type of writing you’ve done before. If your school has somewhere you can go to get help…GO! Now is not the time to be prideful if you don’t understand a subject. I went to our academic success center and office more than once and I know I was a better student because of it.

Take Practice Tests And Go To Office hours

I also recommend going to office hours because your professors will test entirely in their own style so it’s good to be familiar with the way they will structure the test. Some professors provide previous exams they’ve given and some even provide model answers. My Civil procedure professor did this and I foolishly did not take advantage of this and that ended up being the class I got the lowest grade in. If you take a professors practice exams, you get over the “I don’t know what to talk about in office hours” hump that many students fall victim to. Even if your professor doesn’t provide practice exams/questions you can probably find some around the internet (hey google!).

Take Time for Yourself Every Day

Whenever anyone asked me what I was doing during the summer (not including my internship/working), I usually responded with “getting back to myself.” There’s something about 1L year that completely shifts who you are as a person. There were many times during the school year where I felt like a shell of my former self…but not in the good way. Obviously law school is meant to change you into a lawyer to be but that doesn’t mean you should lose yourself in it completely. In retrospect, if I had taken even 10 or 20 mins a day to spend with myself EVERY day it would have made a difference. There were weeks that went by and I hadn’t even had time to sit down and just be. Try your best to avoid that.

1L will be one of the most challenging years of your academic career (yes, even if you’re really smart). However that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed and handle your business. While I can’t guarantee these tips will make you a 100% successful law student, I do think they can help. Good luck in your law school career!

If you’re getting ready to start law school, comment with a question you might still have after reading this!

If you’re already in law school/graduated law school, comment with a tip you have for incoming 1Ls!

Have a great school year everyone!✨

 

Crushendo: A Review All Law Students Need To Read

Anyone who is in law school will tell you that we need to do more than read case law to understand the legal concepts we need to know. We also use different resources to help with our comprehension of law school subjects. I was recently contacted by Crushendo, a law school/bar prep company, with an opportunity to access their resources in exchange for a review on my blog. In this blog I will talk about Crushendo and my experience in navigating the outlines and audio files available at https://crushendo.com/

Introduction to Crushendo’s Outlines & Timelines

Crushendo has detailed outlines with a corresponding audio file that you can listen to for each subject. One thing I particularly enjoyed about these Crushendo outlines is that each outline starts with a page dedicated to describing the best way to use Crushendo as a whole. This page gives users a timeline for how they should progress with the materials throughout their entire law school career as well as when they began to prepare for the Bar Exam. As someone who loves to plan and put things into my planner, this would have been extremely beneficial to me as a 1L for those classes. Luckily, there are a few classes I still have to take as a 2L that are available on Crushendo. I will be able to use these outlines from the beginning of the semester and follow the recommended timeline. I can’t wait!

The Different Levels of The Audio Files

The next page of the outline was also extremely informative and helpful. The page is titled “Making the most of the audio” and goes into detail about the different levels of sensory tolerance and knowing where you fall on that spectrum. I found this particularly useful because often times programs like these can take a one-size-fits-all approach and Crushendo avoids that and gives tips based on where on the spectrum the user falls. It then goes on to discuss the audio flashcards and the color coding scheme the outline follows for certain materials.

Sample Crash Plan (A Good Crash)

After the outline provides the timeline recommendation and audio file descriptions, the outline details a Sample Crash Plan that users can/should follow for the outline and the hours that should be dedicated to each task.  Once I have read through this I am finally able to dive into the outline and see what Crushendo has in store for me.

The Actual Outline

The subject I chose to read about for the purpose of this blog post in Constitutional Law due to the fact that my school breaks the subject up into Con Law I and Con Law II and I have yet to take Con Law II yet. I followed the advice of outline and began by reading the entire outline. I was relieved when I realized that the outline was only about 30something pages, including illustrations. This meant the outline was going to get straight to the point and wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg if I decided to print it out and take notes on it in class (once school starts). The outline provided many mnemonic devices and illustrations to really drive the point home for many of the concepts as well as bolding certain words and italicizing key words (words I would use when writing an exam answer). As a visual learner, I found the illustrations especially helpful and I know during the semester these will be especially beneficial to my studying. At the end of the outline there was a recap of all the abbreviations and mnemonic devices mentioned throughout the outline which I already know will be extremely helpful in that final week before the exams.

Using The Audio Files and Flash Cards

Once I read through the outline without any audio, I decided to read through it again with the accompanying audio files. I forgot to mention this earlier but each audio file has a musical and non-musical version. Crushendo recommends listening and reading the outline without music at first if that’s easier for you. However, they also recommend that you eventually want to listen to the musical version as it will help with memorization, which every law student knows makes the whole law school exam process much easier (if you don’t know by now…lemme be the first to tell you!).  Classical music is used in the musical audio files and this reminds me of my own personal study habits of playing classical music while I study.

Crushin’ On Crushendo

In the brief time I spent playing with the Crushendo outline and accompanying audio files (a couple hours), I felt that I was already able to familiarize myself with some of the concepts for Con Law II in my upcoming semester and memorize some of the mnemonic devices . I’m excited to use these outlines during my 2L year and see how much better it goes than 1L (not that I did terribly in 1L but you know what I mean). Crushendo is definitely a supplemental material and won’t be my end all be all. However, it will absolutely help law students further their understanding of law school concepts and subjects. Thank you Crushendo, for the opportunity to use and review your outlines and audio files!

 If you are a law student interested in checking out Crushendo visit their website HERE.

5 Things You Should Do The Summer Before Law School

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 honestly 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.

Travel somewhere you’ve never been for as long as you can

If you are someone who likes to travel (I am), you won’t be able to do so as freely once you start law school. I mean, there are chances for you to do if you have money saved away for leisure but as someone who stopped working for my 1L year, I didn’t really have much money saved up to travel like I like to after the first semester or during this summer. Once I knew I got accepted to attend law school in the fall I booked a trip to the Dominican Republic with one of my sorority sisters and I’m so glad I did. I don’t think I have reached that level of peace and care-free since starting law school last August but it was a great way for me to clear my head before beginning my law school journey. It was nice to get away from everyone and everything and spend time doing things I enjoy.

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.

 

2 Must Have Apps to Increase Your Productivity

We live in a time when everybody Like most millennials and those in generation z, I use my phone for a majority of my daily tasks. Whether it’s planning out my studying, outlining, and readings or my Instagram content, there is always something to be done on my phone. While I’m more of a paper planner and I’m trying to spend less time on my phone, there are times when my phone just makes certain things easier and thus makes me more productive. I’m currently obsessed with how much these two apps have helped me since I started law school and still trying to manage my blog/Instagram content. I figured I have to share them with my fellow millennials, generation z, and whoever else stumbles across this post.

Trello

Trello is amazing! It basically is a to-do list app with so much more! I like to use it by making a board for each to-do list I need for the week. For example, I have a board for my weekly school readings, another board for my outlining process, and whatever school related things I need to do. I also have a board where I plan out my Instagram posts, another board for my Instagram stories, polls, and questions. There are other boards I have but these are the main ones that help me out the most. What I love about Trello is that it serves as a to-do list but each task also has its one page where you can add a description, check-lists, a time that it should be done by, and more. This app has literally been a game changer for me. I can talk about it forever but download it yourself and give it try!

Tide

I’ve talked about Tide before on my post about self-care when I’m broke, but I still feel the need to sing the praises of it from the mountain top. If you’re like me, you can’t study in public places if there is too much commotion going on (and by commotion I literally just mean the typical noises you would hear in a public place), Tide is the perfect app for you! Somehow in undergrad I was able to “study” and “read” and listen to music but those days have passed me by. I love Tide because it gives me different options of what I want to listen to in order to block out other noise. If I want to pretend I’m studying on the beach I can select the ocean option. If I want to pretend it’s one of the 10 days it rains in Vegas I can select the rain option. My personal favorite is the Focus option. It’s the one I use most often when I’m studying and it really does help me focus, get in the zone, and knock out a lot of assignments/readings.

These two apps have helped me soooo much since I started school and I wish I would have had them back in undergrad. I’m certain I would have gotten way more out of my 24 hours a day back then. They both are free and I can see them being useful for students, working people, creatives, and everyone alike. Go download them now!

Do you have any apps that help you increase your productivity? I’m open for more suggestions. Leave a comment and let me know!

 

Recap: My First Month of Law School (and what I love about it)

A month or so I FINALLY started my law school journey. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know it’s been a long road to get here but I’m here now! To put it lightly, going to law school is probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life…and I love it. Now don’t get me wrong, I have probably questioned my career choice more times in the last month than I have my entire life but each time I pose the question, I’m reaffirmed that this is exactly what I want to do with my life. This post is going to talk about some of the things I love about law school.

Things I Love:

  • The sense of community in my section and the law school overall

Unlike undergrad, where everybody is broken up by major and year for the most part, law school is only the law students and faculty. I’m not a mathematician but I know my section is less than 80 people, and besides our legal writing class (which is only roughly 17 students each section), we all have the same classes. This has allowed me to feel more familiar with people in this short time. I really love this aspect. In this short time I’ve already made some friends who I can talk to when things get too crazy and they’ll understand because we’re all going through this together.

  • I’m figuring out what kind of law I want to avoid

I’ve always said I wanted to be a criminal law attorney but also kept an open mind just in case I fall in love with a different type of law. In this short month, I have decided that the chances of me going into contract law are…very slim. Me and contracts are beefing at this point but it’s alright. While many might be discouraged at struggling with things, I’m looking at the bright side that I’ve narrowed down my options of what I might be interested in practicing. My torts class has also taught me that I will probably never going into medical malpractice law either. It’s too depressing.

  • How much it’s taken me out of my comfort zone

Law is unlike anything I’ve ever done. I grew up taking AP and honors classes in high school and I got through the academic part of undergrad relatively easy. I didn’t have to study too much. I crammed for exams and still did well. I also mastered the art of writing a 10 page paper in less than 24 hours and still getting As and Bs. This type of life did not prepare for law school at all. I know for a fact I’m no longer the smartest person in the room or even in my immediate friend group. I know there are people working harder than me for longer hours of the day than I am. This last month has taught me that if I’m going to reach the goals I’ve set for myself I need to get used to being uncomfortable and LEVEL THE FUCK UP.

Overall, I know this is where I’m supposed to be. I have worked my entire life for this. I know that it’s simultaneously going to get easier yet more challenging as time progresses but I’m ready for the challenge. Note To Self: Growth happens OUTSIDE of the comfort zone.

Have you done anything recently that’s gotten you out of your comfort zone? Talk about it in the comments!