August 21, 2017

5 Habits for a New Semester

One key to law school success is having good habits. 5 law school habits to get in now are to stay on top of your emails, study schedule, life schedule, procrastination, and relationships |

Happy first day of school!!! Well, for me at least. Guys some how I have ended up as a 3L and trust me I'm just as surprised as you are that we've made it this far! Since this is my very last semester of school ever (I keep saying that because it still doesn't feel real yet), I only have one goal for this semester: stay productive and don't let senioritis get the best of me. To keep me on track with this goal, I'm trying to develop some new habits that will keep me productive.

Stay on top of emails

I always check three things first thing in the morning: school email (in hopes that class is canceled), the Skimm (to stay updated and be a smarty pants), and the weather (it helps knowing if it's going to be cold all day or get hot after lunch). But one thing that I'm really bad about is not reading through the rest of my emails that don't have a subject line of Class Canceled. 

I recently came across a blog post mentioning the "touch it once" method where essentially instead of reading an email and then flagging it and coming back to it later, right then and there you reply to it if necessary or add the event to your planner or whatever. The touch it once method applies to more than just emails, but I'm taking baby steps to get my life in order and once I can get this down, I'll start applying it to more aspects of my everyday life (hopefully).

Stay on top of study schedule 

Every semester, I come up with a general study schedule for how I'm going to study every day and make little goals of how much I want to study before finals.

This semester, I want to make basically a spreadsheet and keep up with how much I've studied. I hope this habit of tracking how much I study helps me be in the habit of studying a little each weekend. I know that a big part of this is learning how to prioritize what needs to be done for each class and when it needs to be done. I'm making a study spreadsheet for each class to hold me accountable on working on my outlines, flashcards, and practice problems. I'm still not sure if I'll end up having an outlines day one week and a flashcards week another, or if I'll have a banking day one week and a tax day another, so we'll see which works best after I experiment a little!

Stay on top of life schedule

Speaking of schedules, this semester's going to be a toughie for me. This will be my first semester working while in law school so I'm super nervous about making sure that I don't overcommit myself. On top of class and work, I've also got to make sure that I block out time to participate in all of my mediations for my clinic and be a good law school senator at my university's SGA (which is separate from SBA). 

I also always have post ideas in my head so my goal is to at least keep up with 2 posts a week but I'd really like to squeeze in 3 posts if I can. This is my last semester being able to live-blog my struggles so I got to get it all down while I can! My plan for this is to think out realistically how much I can get done in each day and put that in my planner, because I've realized that if I have way to much on my planner, I just end up ignoring it all completely.

Stay on top of procrastination

Y'all this one is a biggie for me. I always aim to do a load of laundry a day but then end up pushing that all until the weekend. And I mean to write my papers a little each week so I can have time to revise and edit, but I always end up waiting until the weekend before it's due. I'm right at the edge of being in the real world so I know I have to rein this is in quick before I end up blurting "my procrastination" when I get asked "what's your biggest weakness?" in an interview.

To get this habit started, my plan is to first make a general to-do list of everything that I need to get done in my life and then break that up into lots of little manageable tasks. I set an alarm in my calendar for every Sunday evening to update my planner and throw a few of these little tasks in throughout my week. The goal here is to just stay mindful of what I can start getting done now.

Stay on top of relationships

If law school has done one thing, it's made me a terrible friend. I end up ditching my friends way more than I should simply because by the time hanging out with them comes around, I'm exhausted and just want to do nothing. I'm also really bad at responding to texts because I'm such a procrastinator. 

Luckily for me, my friends are understanding and don't hold this against me, but I know that I could be a better friend. It sucks when I finally do meet up with them and realize how much I've missed out on. Even if I have to put it in my planner to text one different person a "hey what's up!" text each day, I'm going to try. Law school is a very good excuse to get a little sloppy with your friendships, but it's no excuse to be a neglectful friend!

August 18, 2017

What's in My Law School Backpack

law school backpack essentials, what I keep in my law school backpack, what to take to a law school class, what to carry in a law school backpack, what to keep in your law school backpack, law school back to school, law school tips |

I officially start my last day of school on Monday 😱 but that hasn't stopped me from getting all packed and ready now (I'm that person who is completely packed 3 days before the flight). As I was running around my apartment trying to find all of my supplies and pack them just right, I just was so giddy I figured I should write a post about it!

The big things

Every single morning, I make sure to throw my laptop in my bag. I've had my MacBook Air since college and it's my whole world. It has my notes on Evernote and my case briefs on Quimbee. I love how light and thin it is so it doesn't take up much room in my backpack.

The next important thing that every law student always needs is your books! I seriously can't stress this enough because I know in undergrad I rarely took my book to class, but in law school if you don't have your book then you might get kicked out of class. To save my back, I only keep the books for my next one or two classes. My 1L year I kept my spare books in my car and made a quick trip between classes, and my 2L year I kept the extra books in my study carrel.

I personally prefer to take notes on my laptop, but I've come to find out that it's common for law professors to ban all electronics for their classes. If I get more of my notes information from class than my book, I'll bring a Cornell Method notebook and usually I'll write down the black letter law on the small side and the rest of the class notes on the big side. If I get more of my notes information from my book than my class, I'll just bring my padfolio because it's just enough paper for me to keep my quick notes and has slots for handouts.

And of course I always have my planner in my backpack. Law school has seriously turned me into a planner addict and I'm always finding new ways to use it to keep my life organized. TBH, sometimes when a fellow student is going on a long-winded rant, I'll get out it out and start writing down to-do's that I need to get done after class!

Related: Law School Planner Reviews Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 (was not kidding about the planner addict part)

The little things

One thing that I use the most in every single class is my pencil bag. I always keep a set of pens in there, a few pencils with a giant eraser and extra lead, a small set of highlighters, page markers, a flash drive and of course an EOS egg. Truly I think this is all you need and I definitely use all of these at least once a week.

Because I always end up referencing my book in class, I'm extra and keep this bookstand in my backpack at all times. It actually frees up a lot of space on your desk and really helps your neck. The one I use folds up completely flat and takes up practically no room in my backpack.

I also keep a GridIt full of chargers for my laptop, iPad, and phone, and a pair of earbuds. This is sooo handy to keep everything from falling to the bottom of my bag and I've noticed that a few of my classmates have gotten some mid-semester after they notice mine.

I always bring a water bottle to class because True Life: I'm Addicted to Water. It's not uncommon for me to go through 24 ounces in one class, so I have to have a reusable water bottle that's big enough to keep me from having to leave class to refill it. My favorites are Tervis, S'well, and CamelBak.

I have a keychain wallet that is on me constantly that keeps my car, apartment, and carrel keys, student ID, driver's license, and debit card all together in one place. Since I have my whole life in one place, it'd be absolutely terrible if I lost this so I make sure that there's a Tile on there.

I used to keep a little makeup bag in my backpack, but once I got a carrel it just made sense to keep it in there since I usually don't touch up my makeup mid-class. I have this makeup bag that I keep full of ColourPop lip stain, Better Than Sex travel mascara, a few hair ties, a travel hairbrush, travel lotion, a Tide to-go pen, and Advil. I also keep a minimergency kit in my carrel just in case I need something quick.

The backpack

One thing I learned my 1L year is that you will need more room in your backpack than in college. I actually had to buy a bigger backpack in the middle of my first year because my undergrad one could only fit one or two books and that just wasn't cutting it for me. I don't worry about having a "professional" backpack because the only people who see my backpack are other law students and idc about impressing them. I've seen some people use a small backpack for their notebooks/laptops and a tote bag for their books, but I just can't do this because putting the weight of 5 books on one shoulder kills me. Another big plus for my backpack is that it's waterproof. Literally the worst thing that could possibly happen to you as a law student would be that your books and laptop get water damaged. I can't stress this enough to consider rain when getting a backpack.