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!

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!