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.

 

4 Tips For Winning The Battle Against Your Post-Grad Blues

CollegeGrads

Post-grad blues are no joke. While not everyone is affected by these feelings of sadness once they walk across that stage, many people are. I know when I graduated I got my degree and said “now what?” while I waited to go back to school. Those first 6 months or so were really rough and I felt depressed more often than not. In today’s post I’m suggesting some things that helped me get through the trying times of  battling with post-grad blues.

Wake-Up and Say Those Affirmations!

createherstock-HER-harbor-grace-photography-33

The post-grad blues period after graduating can definitely get you down (they don’t call it post-grad blues for nothin’). One way I battled this overwhelming sense of emptiness and lack of purpose was through repeating affirmations to myself every morning when I woke up. While each person has to determine what they want out of life to come up with their own, I think the ones I used during this rough time are definitely a good place to start. Here are a few of the many affirmations I told myself during my time being unemployed. Some of these I still use now! I found these at this article here.

  1. My body is healthy, my mind is brilliant, my soul is tranquil.
  2. I am at peace with all that has happened, is happening, and will happen.
  3. I deserve to be employed and paid well for my time, efforts, and ideas. Each day, I am closer to finding the perfect job for me.

Start with these and even tweak them to your style if you want. All that matters is you remind yourself that you are deserving and destined for greatness!

Journal About Your Feelings Towards Being Graduated (and your feelings in general)

Createherstock A Summer Day Neosha Gardner 3

For people like myself, it is easy to start feeling down when you are trying to find employment or have too much free time on your hands after graduating. One thing I have made more of a consistent habit is journaling. I try* process all my feelings by journaling at least 3 times a week. When I was unemployed I wrote about how being unemployed made me feel (leave out nothing…even the feelings of worthlessness and sadness). I’ve vented my frustrations and promised myself that I will never take being employed for granted again. While it is usual to complain about one’s job (unless it’s your dream job, which mine is being an attorney so I’m a long ways off), to be ungrateful for one’s job is not good for the soul. In cases where your boss is a jerk it’s different but at the same time, I have always hated being unemployed more than having a job I hate (blame my materialistic desires and FOMO). I hope to look back on my unemployment entries of journal should I ever start hating my jobs (hopefully I won’t).

Find a New Hobby or Invest Time in an Old One

Chs Isha Gaines Writers 2

Whether you’ve always loved painting but college got in the way, or you want to learn how to dance salsa, or anything in between you have plenty of time to do it in your down time on the post-grad job search. One thing I started doing again while I was unemployed is reading. One of my goals this year is to read two books a month and it hasn’t been hard thus far considering I didn’t have really anything better to do. Another hobby I dedicated more time to while I was unemployed was blogging. It felt good to be doing things I wanted to do in undergrad that I simply didn’t have the time to do.

Get Off Your Ass and Get Active

Createherstock Simple Fitness Isha Gaines 20

Seriously! This one is a good morale booster. Whether I was dancing, working out, going for a walk, jog, or run, dedicating time to working out wasn’t something I did until towards the end of my unemployment and I wish I had a started sooner. Not only do you have time to figure out what kind of workouts you love, you can find a purpose in setting non-work related goals. One of my goals when I was employed was to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. This doesn’t sound like a lot but there would be days when I was unemployed where I sat around ALL day and barely clocked in 2,000 steps, YIKES! If you’re currently unemployed it doesn’t mean you have to sit around all day and become a sloth (I was guilty of this for a while).

TipsForBeatingPostGradBlues

The post-grad “Damn I don’t have a job” depression is real and it can take over your mind, body, and spirit if you let it. Even if you are employed, being out of school after being in school your whole life is a rough transition for me. I have suffered from the deepest of post-grad blues and it is not pretty. Even if you are employed there are times where you can find yourself missing being in undergrad and carefree. The key to surviving this turbulent transition in life is to happen to it instead of allowing it to happen to you. If you already have a job it can be even easier to get caught up in the motions and find yourself still battling those post-grad blues. Find balance between keeping yourself busy and doing things you love. When you’re unemployed, finding things to occupy your time during your job search (and make sure you are ACTIVELY searching) will make the time in between graduation and being unemployed fly by.  You may even walk away from it being more enlightened, educated, and experienced person than the day you got your degree. If you don’t have a job or haven’t taken steps towards career yet, don’t beat yourself up about it. These things take time and there is always a lesson in the struggle! ALWAYS.

(Author’s Note: If you think you suffer from depression or any other mental illness, contact a professional for help. These tips will not cure depression.)

Don’t Look No Farther…Baby I’m Back.

baby i'm back
Wow it has been quite a while since I was able to sit down and write out a blog post. I actually can’t even tell you the last time I wrote a blog post. So much has happened since whenever that was. Actually…not really. Law school basically took over my life, which is why I haven’t been able to keep up with blogging. On the bright side, I finished my FIRST YEAR OF LAW SCHOOL and I survived it haha. I will definitely have more content related to that as the beginning of this NEXT school year inches closer. NOW that its summer break and I will actually have free time, I will be back to posting at least once a week. I don’t wanna make any large promises and jinx myself. Truth is, I’ve missed blogging so much and I’m excited to get back to it. I’m really hoping to consistently post this summer and get in the habit so it’s easier this next school year. Lately I’ve been feeling like a fraud by having “lifestyle blogger” in my Instagram bio. There are some other things I have up my sleeve but I want them to be surprise and don’t want to share too much too soon. The point is The Musings of Mara is back so get excited y’all.

A Guide To Alcohol-Free Fun For Twentysomethings

The other day I was talking to some of my friends and one of them said something that has been stuck in my mind. She said “I need to find hobbies or things to do that don’t involve alcohol.” Ironically enough, this was after we had spent the day at a bottomless mimosa brunch and we’re getting ready to start pre-gaming to go out, but she had a point. I realized that many millennial and generation Z-ers, myself included, usually socialize when there is something involving alcohol. Well, as I dive further into my health + fitness journey, only socializing with my friends if we are drinking doesn’t really align with my current goals. This inspired me to write this post about activities we can do that don’t involve alcohol.

Host a Breakfast Party

Just think, brunch, without the mimosas (or the overpriced french toast). While, in my humble opinion, mimosas may or may not be the best part of brunch for some, breakfast food is also a star on it’s own. On NYE some friends and I cooked our own brunch (and added mimosas) and then sat down and talked about our goals for the New Year and other things. It was honestly so much better than trying to have conversation at a crowded brunch restaurant trying to see how many you can drink in the two hour limit. Even without the mimosas, I’m sure it would have been fun to have the breakfast without mimosas. Each friend can be assigned a dish (the friends who can’t cook can cut up fruit or something) and then you can enjoy the meal you all helped contribute to. This can also apply to lunch or dinner if breakfast is not your thing.

Get Active

Whether it’s going on a hike, snowboarding, taking a group fitness class, or even a pole dancing class, participating in exercise with your friends can be so fun, especially if it’s activity you or your friends have never participated in before (these make for the best stories). I especially enjoy hiking with other people because you usually don’t have service on mountains and allows your friend group to have great unplugged conversations about everything in life.

Channel Your Inner Artist (or crafter)

One of the things I missed about being in undergrad with my sorority sisters is the many arts and crafts nights we had whenever recruitment or some other equally important event was around the corner. A good way to hang out with your friends sans alcohol is letting your creative juices flow. Whether it be a vision board party, paint night, or whatever else, arts and crafts bring people together. If it’s one of the holidays you can also incorporate that into your night in with friends. Halloween? Carve or paint (my personal fave of the two options) pumpkins. Celebrate Christmas? Have a Gingerbread house decorating contest.

Go Volunteer

Giving back to your community is a great way to build friendships and feel good about yourself. Instead of having a hangover, you will feel happy that you helped a greater cause. Some ideas are soup kitchens, pet shelters, or even helping set up a 5K. Google community service opportunities in your city for more fun ideas.

I’m sure there are many other things you can do with your friends and without alcohol. My friends personally love to go out to eat together but I wasn’t going to list that because it’s probably the most common thing friends do besides going out to drink. Go out (or stay in) with your friends and get started on these activities. I’m sure you’ll have a blast!

Is there something you do with your friends that doesn’t involve alcohol that I didn’t list here? Let me know in the comments! I’m always open for more activities to do.

9 Things I Want To Do Before 2019 Ends

I have a confession to make. I’m a list making addict. If you’ve been following my blog for a while this comes as no surprise but I thought I’d give a heads up to the new readers or whoever has stumbled across this post. One of my favorite types of lists to make is my annual bucketlists. Each year I pick a certain amount of things I want to do/try/experience before the year is over. This year is no different. Some of these things are leftover from last year’s bucketlist and others are from sheer curiosity or wanting to challenge myself to something new.

Here’s my 2019 Bucketlist:

  1. Run an entire 5K without stopping to walk
  2. Have a photo-shoot at 7 Magic Mountains
  3. Try 5 new Vegan restaurants
  4. Travel to a city I’ve never been to before
  5. Go to a Soul Cycle class
  6. Hike a new trail (or 3)
  7. Find a cute coffee shop to study/write in
  8. Become 50% fluent in Spanish on Duolingo
  9. Stay in a cabin with a fire place somewhere snowy

I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to last year due to not knowing how to balance all I had going on in life and having no real strategy to achieve everything. This year, I know where I messed up last year and I will plan around that silly mistake. I’m excited to experience all of these things. Hopefully I’ll even be able to blog about some of them too! I’ll definitely keep you all updated.

What’s one thing you have on your bucketlist for this year? Let me know in the comments below!

How To Handle It When Life Is Kicking Your Ass

I don’t know about you all, the last year or so has been quite the year. While many great things have happened, it has also been pretty rough…especially once I went back to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love my law school and my section but law school as a whole is hard as hell. I haven’t been this mentally, emotionally, and spiritually challenged in a long time. For the first time in my life, school is not coming to me easily and this has been a major hit on my ego.

While not everyone is in law school like me, life is still hard for everyone in different ways. In certain points in time it can be outright horrible. This being said, I have gathered some tips for dealing with life when it’s kicking your ass.

Cry

Okay so I don’t know about you, reader…but I love to cry. I try not to cry often but when shit gets too real, I definitely let the tears fall where they may. Sometimes a good cry is necessary to move on from a failure and keep it pushing. While I don’t recommend crying every day if life is rough (probably talk to somebody if you are crying everyday), a good cry every so often is cathartic. So if you feel like life is kicking you around let it out and then do the rest of these steps.

Declutter

I’m one of those people where my room reflects the current state of my life. If my room is a mess, 9/10 my life is also a mess and I need to get it together fast. Sometimes when life is doing me dirty I get a release out of throwing away things that I don’t need and straightening up my room. There is something about cleaning your room that makes you feel (at least for a little bit) that you have your shit together. If life feels like it’s spiraling out of your control, take control of your space to gain a sense of that control back.

Unplug

If anyone is familiar with sulking and scrolling through social media when I feel sad, it’s me. However, in the past few months I’ve noticed that this doesn’t help me feel any better and if anything, it sometimes makes me feel worse. As a blogger/aspiring influencer I do value transparency with my followers when I’m going through a rough time but sometimes the best thing to do is to just let people know life is kicking your ass and that you’re going to take some time to unplug and disappear. I’ve been doing this lately and it is so much better for my emotional health.

Write

Make sure you use a pen and paper to do so. Y’all know I always talking about journaling but writing out your feelings when life gets rough is a good way to process exactly how you are feeling. Once you write about your feelings, you are better able to know how and why you feel the way you do and possibly brainstorm ideas for progress. I personally recommend making journaling a habit so that you can regulate your emotions better. I notice that when I don’t journal regularly, my mood is all over the place.

Exercise

I know I know. Who has time to exercise when life is already kicking your ass? Sounds contradictory I’m sure but it’s not. Exercise gives you endorphins and is also another way you can practice control in an area of your life. You would be surprised how much better you feel even after only 1 hour of exercise. The day I found out I failed my first law school midterm I left anything school related alone and went to 2 separate MixxedFit classes. I felt amazing afterwards and had a clearer head to know what to do moving forward.

Adjust

If what you’re doing isn’t working, adjust some things around to see if something else will work. Life is a complicated thing and sometimes even the most minor adjustments can have a butterfly effect on the quality of our lives. I made some big adjustments to my school and personal schedule to try and achieve the results I wanted for the rest of the year when I felt like life was just messing me up. Sometimes life really is out of our control and nothing we can do will change certain things. In these moments, I recommend just adjusting your mindset. It’s very cliché but often times at least finding one positive aspect of life that we are grateful for will help us in hard times of our lives.

Life can be really hard. The last year or so has be really difficult, personally. However, by doing these things I’ve been able to get myself out of a funk from time to time while life kicking my ass every so often. The main thing to make sure you do is to take time for yourself and relax.

What do you do when life is doing your dirty? Let me know in the comments!

9 Tips For Having A Kickass 2019

We’ve all heard the same old phrase in regards to starting a new year. Many of our friend rush to social media to exclaim “new year, new me!” It’s basically become a running joke on Twitter, Instagram, and even Facebook at this point. While many people find this to be ridiculous, I do think new years can serve as a good time to start fresh. I don’t personally believe in “new year, new me” but I can totally get behind “new year, new habits” or at least that what’s I’M trying to incorporate into my 2019. My goal of establishing some new habits for the New Year inspired this post. Here’s my list of what YOU should do to make sure you have a KICK ASS 2019.

Do Something for YOURSELF, Every Day

2019 is the year of making sure we take care of ourselves! No more putting ourselves and our joy in the backseat on the journey of this thing called life. This year I challenge you to make time for yourself every day. Even if it’s only ten minutes of reading a fiction novel you’ve been trying to read for the last few months or five minutes of meditation, take time for YOURSELF. Your year will be so much better if you commit to this one goal.

Express GRATITUDE As Often As Possible

I’m not sure about you but I’m someone who believe that The Universe gives us whatever it is we are focusing on (Law of Attraction anyone?) I noticed that last year I had really good experiences when I made expressing gratitude for the things I had or were going to have. When I focused on what I didn’t have, it left me always needing more. One way I like to express gratitude is telling people that I appreciate something they have done for me. Not only do I get to express gratitude, but they also feel appreciate and sometimes that’s enough to brighten someone’s whole day.

Speak and Write Things Into Existence

The power of our words is powerful. Over the last two years I have been very mindful over not speaking negatively over my life. Not saying that I’m perfect and only say positive things but it is something that I try to practice as often as I can. The strength of the written word is powerful as well. There have been many times I have manifested my wants by speaking them out loud or by writing them over and over in my journal. Pro-Tip: you MUST believe what you are saying is possible and you must do the work as well. Faith without works is dead, okay?!

Practice The Art of Brain-Dumping

If you’re anything like me your brain is like a computer with 20 tabs open all at once. This sometimes makes focusing on one thing during the day impossible and even more impossible at night when my thoughts are free to wander. One way I have cut down the tossing and turning at night as I try to fall asleep while also contemplating what I would have said in that conversation I had three days ago is by brain-dumping. A brain dump is when you have a blank sheet of paper and just write down everything that’s on your mind thus dumping it out of your head and onto the paper. Sometimes this sparks a need to journal but often times just getting it out is helpful and allows me to focus on whatever I was trying to do. By getting in the habit of doing a brain-dump whenever you find yourself struggling to focus, you will be able to be more productive with your thoughts and time.

Take Care of Your Body and Your Skin

Whenever I tell people to take care of their bodies the first thing they think of is working out. While working out is one way to take care of your body, it’s not the only way. One of the most obvious ways is by being mindful of what you eat. I’m not saying you should only eat kale and acai but incorporating more veggies into your diet can’t hurt. Often times taking care of our bodies is the complete opposite of working out and we need more rest or to simply stretch. Your skin covers your entire body so taking care of your skin is important too. If you wear make-up, make sure you take it completely off before bed. Change your sheets and pillow cases often. Drinking water can have some benefits on your skin too, so I’ve heard, which brings me to my next point…

Drink MORE Water

THIS YEAR WE ARE STAYING HYDRATED, PERIOD. If you are one of those people who “doesn’t like water” or doesn’t drink water…please love yourself. Sorry I’m not trying to be judgey but water is an important part of our well-being. Our bodies are mostly made up of water and if you are dehydrated it is impossible for you to being functioning at your highest potential. Yes it’s annoying to have to pee every 20 minutes but once your body gets used to it that won’t happen anymore. Also, drinking more water keeps you from mindlessly snacking sometimes so it’s a double win!

Mind Your Business

My quality of life improved so much when I stopped worrying about wtf other people were doing. I can’t really pin point exactly when that was but it’s the truth. Honestly minding your business can go past not engaging in gossip or whatever else. Minding your business means not comparing yourself to your friends or random strangers on instagram. Comparison is the thief of joy and judging others won’t make you better than them or make you any money, so just don’t do it this year, or ever.

Show Up and Show OUT

Last but certainly not least is SHOW UP AND SHOW OUT. This can have many meanings but when I say this I mean be present when you are doing things. If you go out to dinner with friends, focus your attention on spending time with them in the moment. If you have a job interview be on time and be confident. When you engage in your creative endeavors give it everything you’ve gotten. We are leaving being distracted and uninspired in 2018. Say bye bye to self-doubt and know that you are BOMB all 2019. If you approach your year with this attitude I’m 95% sure your year will be more enjoyable.

Get MORE Sleep

I’m going to keep this one short: you can’t be your best self if you are sleepy or relying on caffeine to function. Similarly to how we need water, our bodies neeeeed a certain amount of sleep to live up to our full potential. Our culture romanticizes “I’ll sleep when I die” type of attitude and honestly that is so bad for us. Get some fucking sleep.

While the New Year can be a great time to start anew and build better habits, keep in mind neither Rome nor Beyoncé were built in a day. Don’t beat yourself up about it if you don’t succeed at adapting these overnight. Practice and consistency are going to be the determining factor of if you can establish these lifelong habits for a better year and hopefully an overall better quality of life.  Now get out there and KICK SOME ASS!

Which of these habits are you looking forward into incorporating into your daily life? Which ones do you already do? Sound off in the comments!