Reflecting On My 2L Year

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

What was 2L Like?

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

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

First Semester

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

Second Semester

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

 

BLSA

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

Gaming Law Journal

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

 

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

 

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

 

Have a great day!

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.

 

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!