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!

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.

How To Handle Life When Life Is Kicking Your Ass

There’s something about the dust settling from January (which always feels like an entire year in a month) that has made February particularly rough this year. In the short time that 2020 has been here I’ve already had quite a few wins. I’ve also taken quite a few L’s. Last week I took my first “mental health day” and didn’t class because my anxiety was very high and I got very overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, I love my law school but law school as a whole is hard as hell. Every semester is  mentally, emotionally, and spiritually challenging, in their own different ways.

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. Any time I feel overwhelmed I find myself going to the gym. 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 gets overwhelming? Let me know in the comments!

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!✨

 

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!