4 Podcasts You Should Listen To Right Now

In the last few years I’ve strayed away from watching TV shows and gravitated towards listening to podcasts. Whether I have a flight to catch or want something to listen while I’m grocery shopping, podcasts always come in clutch. This past Monday was International Podcast Day and I decided there was no better way to celebrate than to list some podcasts I’ve been listening to lately. These podcasts are listed in no particular order and you should definitely check out ALL of them after reading this post.

1. Slay Girl Say Podcast

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The Slay Girl Slay podcast, a podcast for women of color, encourages WOC to do things to promote their own wellness, professional lives, and so much more. Slay Girl Slay is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to while I shop at Trader Joe’s on Sundays. Host Ashley Leggs always has a personal anecdote to relate to life’s greater messages and encourages her “queens of color” to level up! The topics of the episodes range from tidying up our spaces,  being a woman of your word, getting your “ish together, and everything in between. Some days I don’t have the energy to sit through an hour long motivational podcast episode and the thing I love the most about the Slay Girl Slay podcast is that most of the episodes are 30 mins or less. They are perfect for when I wanted to hear something uplifting that is also short, sweet, and straight to the point. I listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts but it is available on many different places podcasts are listened to.

Recommended Episode:  “Be A Woman of Your Word”

2. Dique! Podcast

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Sarah Vega, a Dominican Afro-Latina, started this podcast and her own media company of the same name. I discovered the Dique! podcast after I started listening to The PlotTwist Podcast. The PlotTwist Podcast is on the Dique! Network. I can’t remember which episode I listened to first but I remember being blown away by how honest Sarah was about everything she’s gone through in her life so far. One of the things I value in my own life and brand is being upfront without oversharing and I feel that Sarah also approaches all of her work this way as well. Listening to the Dique! podcast feels like gettin’ put on game by an older homegirl who has been through some things in life and keeps it real with you. She holds no punches and sometimes I get a gut check when she’s not even talking to me. I listen to this podcast on Apple Podcasts as well.

Episode I Recommend: “This is what I learned…” Series Introduction. This is the most recent episode of the podcast and it gives you just enough to know what Sarah delivers in her podcast.

3. Tea with Qwns Podcast

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I went to college with hosts of this podcast and I love what they’re doing with their platform. Hosts Jerralyn and Janine are two sisters who weigh in different topics from pop culture to politics, self-love to sex, and whatever else they feel like having candid conversation about. The ladies sometimes bring different guests into the conversations as well which often leads to an even more likely listening. While the podcast is titled “Tea with Qwns” it isn’t just targeted towards women. As the ladies say a qwn is “a fierce and fabulous individual who overcomes adversity and keeps their head high while strutting every step of the way.” This definitely a podcast that 20-somethings want to check out.

Episode I Recommend: “Episode 2.2: The Tea on Friend Breakups”

4. And That’s Why We Drink

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I always have a podcast I listen to that’s a bit of a palette cleanser from listening to self-help/get your shit together type of podcasts I listen to and And That’s Why We Drink is currently that podcast for me. This podcast is a Paranormal and True Crime podcast and honestly I’ve been obsessed since the later half of this past summer. Em tackles the supernatural while Christine Not only do I love spooky things but the hosts Em and Christine’s banter is hilarious. There are some episodes I literally can’t listen to in public because they will have me cracking up out loud (when LOL actually means laugh out loud and not “hahaha”).

Recommended Episode: Just start with episode one and work your way through it. They reference previous episode topics sometimes and you don’t want to be out of the loop.

Podcasts have honestly become of my favorite things. Sometimes I like to give my eyes a break and just listen to something entertaining that’s not music. I’ve also thought about starting my own podcast but that’s a whole other blog post hahaha. Hopefully you find your new fave podcast from this post! I like to think I have good taste.

I’m always looking for new podcasts to check out. Are there any that you love to listen to? Drop the names of them in the comments!

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!

Why I Started Blogging

The last few weeks I have been struggling with thinking of  posts to write that aren’t related to law school. Law school has just become a major part of my life so it makes sense but I do want to get back to the primary reason I started my blog. Two factors I consider before I write a post are 1. Do I care enough about this to write about it at length and 2. Will this post help my readers in some shape or form? As a reflected on these recently, I decided that it may be important to revisit why I started my blog in the first place and sharing that with my readers would benefit you all and me.

When I first wanted to start this blog, I was really in love with the name “Motivated/Motivating Millennial.” Unfortunately for me, that name had already been taken by someone else. I went with “The Musings of Mara” instead. Regardless of what name I chose, the intent behind my blog has always been to motivate millennials (and now generation Z as we figure out what twenty-somethings fall into that category).
At the time nearing my college graduation (and even now), the word “millennial” was used in a condescending and negative way. People talk about millennials as if we are lazy, entitled, and unwilling to work hard. My blog started with the idea of showcasing that NO, we’re not any of these things. I and other millennials are some of the hardest working people I know.

As I moved away from the “motivated” adjective and more towards the “Motivating” adjective, my goal then became to motivate other millennials to live their best lives. To toot my own horn, I have accomplished many education related things in my life and wanted to help other college-aged people do the same. However, as I finally settled on the name “The Musings of Mara”, my goals shifted once again.

My current tagline of my blog is “creating a life I love through honest self-reflection & introspection and inspiring others to do the same.” I do not only want to help people live their best lives through education and work (which should only make up a small part of our lives) but also through sitting with oneself, reflecting, and achieving a balanced life and great overall wellness. The purpose of my blog is to encourage twentysomethings to strive for balance in their lives by not neglecting their well-being (emotional, mental, spiritual or whatever else) in the pursuit of their goals. As I had to learn the hard way in undergrad, being “successful” doesn’t mean shit if you are fighting off panic attacks daily and are facing an internal battle with your low sense of self-worth and lack of self-love. I went through it so you don’t have to.

If I can continue to help my readers achieve a balanced life full of joy and self-awareness, my blog will serve its purpose. If you’re reading this, I hope I’ve helped you at some point in my blogger life!

Do you have a topic you would like to see me blog about that would help you live your best life? Leave a comment below with a topic suggestion!

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!✨

 

4 Tips For Building Confidence in Your Twenties

The other day I was trying to generate ideas for posts for my blog (being in a creative rut is rough) and I asked my friend “what are somethings you’d like to know as a twentysomething?” She said “One thing that I think separates you from me is how confident you are, so maybe write tips on how you went about gaining that confidence.” This posed an interesting question because I definitely wasn’t always the confident person and I still struggle depending on the area of life that it is. However, I do think I have been alive long enough to give advice on how to gain a mostly* confident demeanor. That being said, here are some of my tips for being a confident person.

  • Don’t base your confidence on what other people think

Having self-confidence in a rigid society that defines success in such a narrow way is hard. The truth of the matter is you can be the best looking, intelligent, physically fit, wealthy person and somebody is still going to have some shit to say about you, so don’t worry about what other people think of you. I think I was able to gain confidence when I stopped giving a shit what people think of me. The thing is most people, even the people who always have something to say, are concerned with themselves so they don’t really have to think about you as often as you believe. If you don’t thibk you’re the bomb.com, nobody else will either. Coco Chanel said it best, “I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.”

  • Find something you’re really good at and be proud of it

One way I built confidence in high school was by playing sports. Seeing how far I could push my body gave me an extreme level of confidence in an otherwise typical insecure teenage life. When I went to college and became an adult jr., I was always confident in the fact that I was now naturally an athletic person due to how I grew up playing sports. As I’ve grown into an actual adult and less in shape than my teenage athlete years, I’ve found a new confidence in doing dancing group fitness classes like MIXXEDFIT, Zumba, COMMIT, and others. When I’m in these classes I FEEL LIKE I’M THAT BITCH and nobody can stop me. While I personally love physical fitness as my thing, it doesn’t matter what your hobbies are just pick one thing that you can get really good at be proud of.

  • Stop the comparison game

Just as you could be the best looking, intelligent, physically fit, wealthy person, so can somebody else. The reality of life is that is always going to be somebody better than you at something. On the flip side, you will be better than others at certain things so there really is no need to compare yourself to anyone. I’m in the school of thought that we were all put on this Earth for our own purpose and comparing yourselves to others diminishes your ability to do what you are meant to do! On social media (where most comparisons for us millennials and Gen Z occur) people portray what they want you to see. Most people don’t show their full story, which is their right, so you can’t compare yourself to something that isn’t a true representation. So what if that person landed their dream job at 23. So what if they graduated with a 4.0. So what if they have the life you think you deserve. Everything ain’t for everybody and when you focus on comparing yourself to others you open the door for insecurities and jealously, which is the opposite of confidence! So don’t do it and just FOCUS on yourself. That’s how you become confident in who YOU are!

  • Don’t talk badly about yourself

Yes I wish I had a flat stomach and had extra inches in my height but I am who I am! Talking badly about the things you “hate” about yourself will not boost your confidence. It’s okay to want to improve things in in your life (whether they be physical, mental, or whatever else) but calling yourself dumb won’t make you any smarter. Saying you hate your back rolls won’t make them disappear and complaining about yourself in general never makes you a better person. While venting is okay, it’s important to be mindful of the way you talk to and about yourself. A good rule of thumb is to not say anything to yourself that you would drop a friend or romantic partner for saying to you.

It’s hard to be 100% confident all the time and there are days when you won’t feel that great about yourself. The key to confidence is to remember no matter what your shortcomings may be, you are still AMAZING and uniquely made.

What’s one thing you’re great at and proud of? Do you have any tips for building self-confidence? Let me know in the comments!

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.