December 30, 2016

Law School Planners Part 2

Comparing and contrasting The Happy Planner, Day Designer Planner, and Passion Planner as law school planners |

Much to my surprise, my post comparing and reviewing Lilly Pulitzer, Kate Spade, Erin Condren, and Plum Paper planners for law school has turned out to be my most popular post of all time (thanks guys!!). If you haven't seen that post, go read it here and then come back here! 

And now at the suggestion of my lovely readers, I have gone out and bought three more planners to talk about! This time instead of going least to most favorite, I'll just go in the order that I bought and tried them :)  PS: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure by clicking here.

law school planners part 2 |

Happy Planner planner review |

The Happy Planner ($23.50

This planner is what I imagine a Plum Paper and Jumbo Lilly Planner would make as a baby. I specify the jumbo Lilly because this planner is much bigger than my Plum Paper, but oddly all three planners are about the same height (like a notebook).

The Happy Planner review |

One downside to this planner is also similar to one downside of a Lilly planner in that you always end up paying for an extra 6 months that you never use because it's an 18-month planner, which also makes this a little thicker. Another thing I'm not a fan of is that although the binding for the planner is cute with its little cutout hearts, it's kinda hard to turn the page on a plastic circle.

The Happy Planner review |

Each month starts out with this cute dashboard that shows you a little calendar, a section to jot down what your interests currently are, a section for birthdays, a section to plan out your goals, and a section for important dates. This is very similar to what you can do in a Passion Planner (more on that later).

The Happy Planner review |

The Happy Planner review |

My biggest grievance with the Lilly planner was how the weekly layout wasn't useful enough for me and that problem is solved in the Happy Planner in the same way that it's solved in my Plum Planner. In the Happy Planner, each day is divided into 3 sections but left blank so you can label them as "Morning, Afternoon, Evening" like I have in my planner, or any other three sections that you find useful such as "Class Time, Relaxation Time, Study Time." These boxes are pretty big so you shouldn't have any trouble having enough room to write out everything that you need. 

The Happy Planner review |

Besides this ideal weekly layout, my favorite thing about this planner is just how pretty it is! I'm not sure if this is because I got the watercolor and gold foil version or not, but every page is so colorful (hence why it reminded me of a Lilly planner). 

Overall, I think this planner could be summarized as being an improved Lilly planner. The weekly layouts are perfect for a busy law school schedule, but it is a very basic planner in that it's mostly just months and weeks without any extra pages for lists or notes. However, it's fairly cheap so if you can get by with just weekly scheduling then this will do just fine. 

*update* you can buy a note&graph paper add-on, a fitness planner add-on and much more

Day Designer planner review |

Day Designer ($22)

Another notebook-sized planner you guys! But this one is at least the thinnest so it doesn't take up as much room. The reason for this thinness is that it's a 12 month planner but also doesn't have any extra pages just like the Happy Planner didn't.

Day Designer planner review |

Day Designer planner review |

I think the goal of this planner is to help you focus on your goals, and does so with a little intro at the beginning. 

Day Designer planner review |

Day Designer planner review |

Day Designer planner review |

The weekly section is basically like the Erin Condren horizontal layout. Each day has 8 lines for you to write out what's on your schedule and beside that another 8 lines for a to-do list. At the bottom of each weekly layout, it also has a motivational quote and sections for the highlights of your week, notes, and what you're grateful for. 

Day Designer planner review |

For law school, I think these 8 to-do's are perfect because you can write down your reading or studying for each class and then check them off as you go. I do this anyways in my Plum Planner, but I like that there's already designated check-off boxes here. 

These weekly layouts were obviously designed with busy people in mind. There's lots of room to write down everything that you have going on in a day. Although this planner has a couple of pages in the back for notes (compared to the Happy Planner's one page), I still wish it had just a little more for the random things you end up needing to keep track of. Which brings me to the next planner....

Day Designer planner review |

Passion Planner ($30)

The Passion Planner has a lot going on, but it's a good thing. 

Passion Planner review |

Passion Planner review |

The Passion Planner is just as big as the other two planners on here, but I like how it does more with the monthly view than just put a calendar. It has a section for the month's personal and work school focuses. It has a section for people to see (I'm guessing you jot down birthdays here?). It has a section for places to go. It has a section for a not to-do list (not sure what even goes here). It has a section for personal projects, split into top and not-top priority with a place for you to list the due date. It has another section just like this but for work school projects. It has a spot for you to create a visual map of what your goals are for the month. #organized

Passion Planner review |

At the end of every month, there's also a monthly refection page with 6 writing prompts to get you thinking. 

Passion Planner review |

Passion Planner review |

The weekly layout is just as jam packet. It has a section for gratitude and a motivational quote. It has a section for your week's focus and even each day has a spot for you to write out your daily focus. It has a spot of "infinite possibility" to draw out goals or jot notes or just doodle. It also has separate personal and work school to-do lists, split into top and not-top priority and another section for errands (that's 24 to-do checkboxes). Every day is split into 30-minute increments so that you can schedule your day from 6AM to 10:30PM (like a Plum Paper hourly layout). I liked being able to write out everything that I have to do each day, but sometimes I have things that I need to get done, just not at a particular time so I ended up just writing them and ignoring the time (which kinda made the time slots pointless).

Passion Planner review |

After these, it has lots of blank pages that are great for notes or anything that you want them to be. It also has lots of pages with gridlines on them so you can graph your: budget, weight, water intake, calorie intake, mood, weather, cleaning schedule... It's a never-ending list

Passion Planner review |

Passion Planner review |

One downside to the passion planner is that the pages aren't colorful at all (which I guess could be a plus if you're a guy or not really in to color), but a lot of people remedy this by using colored pens and markers to mark this thing up. The problem is that 1. I'm not very creative or artistically gifted and 2. even if I were, I'm a busy law student so I don't have time to do this anyways. 

Another thing that wasn't my favorite was how spread out everything was. I'm not sure if this is because I ordered the undated version (I did so that I could start my planner in the middle of the month). My planner ended up being all of the months together, then all of the weeks together, then all of the blank pages and whatever I keep up with on there, and then the same for the grid pages. This resulted in me having to do a lot of flipping around and losing my page. 

I will say that out of all of the planners, this one had the most opportunity for customization and OCD organization!

Passion Planner review |

The Winner

Honestly I couldn't pick a winner. They were all basically the same except for the weekly layouts. So you'd have to decide if you want each day divided into 3 parts, into a schedule and a to-do, or into half-hour slots to know which one is the winner. I will admit that the Day Designer and Passion Planner made me wonder if next year I should change my weekly layout for my Plum Planner (still my personal favorite planner), but I haven't decided yet. 

December 9, 2016

What's In My Finals Bag

what to bring to your finals. day before finals. last day study schedule. studying for finals in law school. law school finals. law school studying. law student studying. law school exams. law school tests. law school blog. law student blogger | |

Well I'm in the middle of finals (currently procrastinating) and I'm sure you are too. I just thought I'd give y'all a little idea of everything that I take in to my finals so to maybe give you an idea of something to bring that you hadn't thought about

I've mentioned it before, but the tote bag really is the Swiss army knife of the adult world. It can be a purse, an overnight bag, or a backpack. I take my purse with me to finals instead of my backpack because it's smaller and I don't always go home right after finals. 

My pencil bag is the biggest thing I use during the actual final. I always make sure to bring pencils and a big eraser for my test. I also bring a highlighter or two to so I can highlight issues when I'm reading long questions. Another thing that's really a must is ear plugs. I never thought to bring ear plugs to my finals until last year they gave us some and holy crap it helps so much being in complete s i l e n c e while you're working on a test. And I know they say to use #2 pencils only on scantrons, but I've been using my click pencils on my tests for years and have never had an issue. So just in case I always keep extra lead in my pencil bag because I promise you if I don't end up needing it then one of my neighbors always do.

I keep lip balm in my pencil bag too so that it can be setting out on my desk ready if I start to get dry lips from the nerves (does this happen to anyone else?). Another weird thing that I like to bring to my finals is a pack of breath mints. They dissolve so you don't have to worry about being stuck with the same piece of gum for 4 hours, but also you can suck or bite on them and I swear moving your mouth while you think helps somehow.

And of course I have to bring my planner to make sure that I'm in the right room and also just because I take this thing everywhere with me. Another bulky thing that I always remember to pack is a water bottle with a good lid. This way, I don't get thirsty during my test but also don't have to worry about it leaking everywhere if I accidentally knock it over at some point. But of course sometimes those 8AM finals require coffee, too.

For tests that allow us to use Exam Soft, I definitely bring my laptop and charger(!!) because I've found that it's faster to type out answers than it is to write them. But for tests that we don't get to use laptops, I always bring my iPad and a pair of headphones with me so that I can last minute cram. And I record my outlines and then can listen to them on the way to the test and while I wait to go in to the exam room.

I always 100% make sure to bring my analog watch. Of course my school doesn't let me wear my Apple watch in to the test, but also some schools don't even let your bring in regular digital watches because they tend to beep and it can be annoying. If if you're not a watch person, I'd still say ask a friend if you can borrow it for a few hours and then lay it on your desk for the test. Time is the biggest enemy for law school tests so it really helps having that little reminder and way to track it right beside you. 

Probably most importantly is make sure that you bring your school ID! At least all schools at least require this but possibly also your drivers license. A good way to not remember these is to attach them to your keys with a keychain wallet. This way you can also add your debit card and grab a snack at a vending machine or like me head straight to the bars after your test.

I also pack my travel makeup bag in my bag because usually my friends and I will go out for a quick celebratory drink before dragging ourselves back to the library. My favorite mascara is Better Than Sex and their travel sized one is great to freshen up and give yourself some confidence to kick ass. I also recommend you try out these makeup remover q-tips that clean off the black smudge that forms under your eye after the stress makes you cry (kidding but not). And make sure that you bring an extra hair tie or two for if you decide to put your hair up out of your way or just in case your current one breaks.

Last but not least, bring a jacket. I've learned the hard way last year that the end of the semester is when the AC/heater is most likely to go haywire. Since it's winter, they might be blasting the heater so if you only wear a sweater you could be dying after 10 minutes. And during my spring final last year, I wore a t shirt to one test and the AC was blasting so I wore a long sleeve shirt to the next test and the AC was broken. It's best to have options.

Good luck to all of y'all still powering through finals! And if you also have something great to pack for finals (wish I would've known about earplugs earlier), please comment below!

December 4, 2016

9 Steps to Sleeping Better

9 steps to sleeping better and waking up refreshed and happy. Insomnia tips. Sleep app. How to go to sleep earlier. How to get a better night's sleep. |

I know that this is a super stressful time because most likely most of your classes will depend on just one grade - your final. It sucks, it really really sucks, I know. But it will be okay and you'll get through this. Remember that it's just as hard to get an F as it is to get an A thanks to the curve. I know like half of my posts have a theme of "everything's going to be alright" because in retrospect I think that's something that I needed to here more often. 

sleep better, be happier |

You just have to get through these next few weeks. And trust me from my own mistakes, you are going to need to control your stress so that you can sleep. Not to scare you, but it's a slippery slope from getting a shitty night's sleep to being brain dead while you study to stressing out because you can't get your brain to work to not sleeping because you're stressing and it just becomes a vicious cycle. So here's how to sleep better.

1. Go to sleep one hour earlier than usual

Trust me, this one extra hour of sleep will help you so much more than one extra hour of studying. And if you really think that you need this one hour to study then I suggest you try to figure out a way to be more efficient in your studying. If you need help sticking to an earlier bedtime, you might your phone's bedtime alarm

2. Lights off

When you're studying in the evening and it gets dark, yes you'll need lots of lights on to read without straining your eyes. But as time gets closer to your (new) bedtime, start turning off the lights little by little. Usually by the time I'm about to call it quits for the night, I have all of the lights off except for my floor reading lamp and some candles. This helps my brain know that it's time to start winding down.

3. Don't fight sleepiness

I know for me at least, if I start to feel tired but then think No just study the rest of these flashcards and then sleep, by the time I'm done with the flashcards the feeling of sleepiness is gone and now I'm wide awake. This is the opposite of what an academic advisor would tell you because you're not being self-dedicated when it comes to your studying, but those cards will still be there tomorrow and most likely this won't make you fall behind in your study plan. This is when I began to realize the true benefits of studying in advance for finals rather than cramming :D

4. Be ready for bed

Normally during my study breaks I'll clean up a little around the house or do a few chores. But once it starts getting within a few hours of my bed time, I'll use these breaks to remove my makeup, wash my face, change in to pajamas... you get it. This way when the feeling of sleepiness does come, all I have to do is turn off the few lights and go straight to bed. If I'm not already ready for sleep, then I end up waking myself up going through my bedtime routine. 

5. Try some sleep aids

This is especially important if, for example, you used to go to bed at midnight and now you're trying to be asleep by 10. Sometimes you just need a little help. You can try a glass of wine, but just make sure that it's enough to make you tipsy sleepy but without being so much that the sugar makes you bloated/uncomfortable or actually drunk (you don't go into the REM cycle like you're supposed to when you're drunk). Or you could try taking a few melatonin pills durning a final study break to help make you sleepy. If you're really stressed and not sleeping or just in general have a problem with falling asleep, you can try something like Simply Sleep to help you fall asleep fast. The only problem that I've had with these are that you really need to get a full night's rest after taking them or you'll wake up feeling groggy. But for the sake of your body, don't try to do more than one at once!

6. Adjust the temp

Here is the coziest way that I've found to fall asleep. Bump your AC down a few degrees colder than you normally keep it. Either turn on a heated mattress pad or warm up a blanket in the drier and spread it out on top of your fitted sheet. Then when you go to bed, you'll have a cool room and a warm bed so it just makes you want to snuggle up and sleep like a baby. To keep from getting sweaty, I always turn off my mattress pad before I sleep. Then when I wake up, I have a cold bed and a warm room so it makes me want to get out of bed.

7. Make it pitch black

The bedroom in my last apartment was so bright from street lights that I could never fall asleep. So my mom bought me some blackout curtains and omg it helped so much. I never realized how total darkness can help you sleep so well. Just be careful with these though. My friend stayed over one night and the next day was a little cloudy so my room was dark all day and she accidentally slept for like 12 hours because her body was used to the sun waking her up. If you don't want to swap out your curtains, I bought this eye mask to sleep on long flights but I also use it for daytime naps because it seriously blocks out some light.

8. Add some noise

While it sounds counterintuitive because noise usually makes it hard to sleep, this could help! If you use a white noise app or machine, your body will get used to this soft sound and your ears will actually start to tune it out. Since your ears are kind of "turned off," they'll be less likely to pick up on the sound of your neighbor's voices through the walls or the slamming of a door. Basically, it just keeps you from waking up in the middle of the night thanks to assholes.

9. Track your sleep 

Ok so tbh after downloading this sleeping app I became *obsessed* with it and tell everyone to download it. You open this app and then you keep your phone nearby as you go to sleep. Then your phone will either track your movement or your sounds. Basically no movement/sounds from you = deep sleep; movement/sounds = light sleep. The app will consider the window which you said you want to wake up during, and will make sure to wake you up during your light sleep so that it feels more natural to you. 

It's so effective that the alarm sound is a quiet strumming since you don't need a blaring alarm to get you out of deep sleep. But if you're not quite ready to get up, all you have to do is nudge your phone a little (not even open an eye to press a button!) and then it'll snooze. Afterwards, your phone will show you how you slept throughout the night and show you the quality of your sleep in a percentage. Just tracking your sleep like this can help you be aware of how well you're actually sleeping.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few steps that have really helped me improve my sleep, but I really hope they help you! School is enough of a stress so you don't need to add more to it by not resting your brain properly at night! 

PS - here's proof that I've actually been putting a lot of thought into this for some time 

sleep better, be happier |

sleep better, be happier |


November 27, 2016

Finals Care Package

What would I want to get in a law school finals care package? School supplies, library necessities, stress relievers, and goodies. Here's a list of 23 things I'd put in a finals survival kit. law school finals care package. law school finals survival kit. law school present. law school gift. what to give your law student. law school supplies care package. law school study care package. DIY care package. cheap care package. law school blog. law student blogger |

My best friend's little sister is in her 1L year and while chatting with him and his parents, they were talking about how stressed she already is over finals. They asked if I would text her some advice but really all I could tell her is that I know it sucks and there's nothing she can do to make it better. Seriously, law school finals are way worse than your worst college finals combined. But after talking to them, I did realize that making a care package to give to her while she's home for Thanksgiving break or to send for Dead Day would be a nice little encouragement from her family, so here's what I suggested they send.

Study supplies

Highlighters - You can never have enough highlighters for law school, but you really start to go through them as you go back through your notes and outlines.

Flashcards - There are so many rules to memorize that these are another commodity that any law student will quickly go through.

Post-It set - These are great for keeping a list on your outline of what you need to know and then marking out topics as you generally know them.

Post-It tabs - I use these to mark important pages in my book, notes, and outlines.

To-Do list pad - Make little goals, check them off as you go, stay organized, and you'll stress less.

Library supplies

Travel coffee mugWhen you study for ten hours a day, you'll need a little pick me up.

Red Bull - For when coffee just isn't enough.

Phone charger - Prevents the temptation of "Oh look my phone died! Guess I gotta go home and charge it."

Water bottle - If you're going to be camped out at the library all day every day, a big water bottle saves you from constantly having to get up and refill it (nice to offset all of the times you have to get up and go to the bathroom).

Noise reducing headphones - For as smart as law students are, some still don't understand the concept of "quiet study area."

Trail mix - The perfect study snack because it's somewhat filling but also has candy.

Stress-relieving supplies

Lavender candle - Lavender relaxes you.

Lavender bubble bath - Bubble baths also relax you, so relaxation x2.

Lavender bath salts - Have I mentioned that lavender relaxes you? If you're taking a law school final, you need all the relaxation help you can get.

Chamomile tea - Relaxes you and also has antioxidants in it because what's worse than law school finals? Being sick during law school finals.

Advil - For when you get a headache from reading for 6 hours straight, lack of healthy food, lack of sleep, stress, or E) all of the above.

Other nice things to have

Leggings - You can never have enough leggings and these keep you comfortable and warm during study sessions.

Fuzzy socks - Again, comfortable and toasty but also you can't be upset when you're in fuzzy socks.

Cable knit blanket - Whether you're studying at home, in the library, or at a coffee shop, chances are that it's going to be pretty chilly no matter what time of the year it is. You might as well be comfortable while you're camped out studying.

Travel pillow - I got this pillow for study abroad and am convinced that it is the perfect pillow! It starts out as a neck pillow which is perfect to support your neck while you study. But then it turns inside out into a regular square pillow which is perfect for when you want a little study-break nap. 

Bag of coffee or coffee gift card - You'd be surprised at how boring it can be trying to memorize the Rules of Federal Civil Procedure and most other laws. Caffeine is really the only way to stay awake while studying them.

Dry shampoo- We've all been there so I'll be the last to judge if you forget to shower and have worn a baseball hat for a week straight.

Wine - Trust me on this. Wine is a necessity. Honestly, probably vodka too. But wine will do.

Wine glass - See above.

Basket - A reusable basket like this one can hold everything for your finals care package and then can be re-used to store school supplies on a desk.

If you've received a small gift that you really appreciated around finals time or just in general, please feel free to share below! 

November 20, 2016

Finals Posts Round Up

November 6, 2016

Finals Tips

the keys to law school finals are to point chase by using buzzwords, organization, and supporting your arguments |

Good news! It's now time to start cracking down and studying! Yep, in law school you study for finals 6 weeks in advance. If you're freaking out it's ok no one even told me this until my second semester last year. Now after going through two finals, I'm here to share what I learned when I went back and reviewed my finals with my professors and the advice they gave me.

You can't get all of the possible points

Remember those game shows where they put the person in a wind tunnel that has money flying around and they get to keep whatever they can grab? Yeah that's what essay questions are like because it's literally impossible to talk about all of the issues. Even the person who gets the best grade in your class will miss an issue or two.

The takeaway from this? Don't waste too much effort trying to make sure that you talk about everything you learned that year. If you do, you'll end up spending a ton of time getting your first essay perfect and then by the time you're on your last question you'll only have enough time left for a meh answer. Also, don't freak out when after the final you hear sometime say that they mentioned a rule of law that you forgot to write about, because chances are you wrote about something that they didn't so you should be fine.

Buzzwords are your friend

This is true for finals and for the Bar, too! With so much going on in one answer, professors don't have time to go searching to see what all you talked about. So if you mention how Joe never handed over the deed of the house to Jane, but never actually use the word delivery, you just screwed yourself. A nice professor might give you partial credit, but more likely your professor well be like Well, she never talks about delivery in that whole answer and not give you any points for that. 

This is where your short outline will come in handy because it is basically just a list of all of the buzzwords that you need to make sure you're using. You want your professor to scan your paper and notice these so he can start throwing out points like Opra giving away cars.

Point chase

Do everything you can to rack up as many points as possible. You don't have a lot of time so don't worry about having the most elegant answer. Hit it hard and it hit fast, and don't worry too much if it's a little sloppy. In my example above, that analysis of delivery will get you some points, but you'll get even more points if you can throw in a sentence with the definition of delivery or with a quick one or two sentence analysis on whether the exception for constructive delivery. Again, your short outline will help you remember all of this so you don't miss anything.

And just because a professor says that a question is worth a certain number of points doesn't necessarily mean that's all you can get. On one of my short essay questions for my first contracts class, my professor actually gave me 13/10 points because I had talked about everything that he was wanting me to, but then luckily I made and supported a relevant argument that he hadn't even thought of. This isn't super common, but you'll want all of the help that you can get so really try to mention a little about a lot in your answers to quickly rack up points.

Support your arguments

For one of my finals, my professor asked us what was one philosophy that we learned in class that we disagreed with. I went on this rant that I thought was actually pretty good. Turns out that I got 2/8 points on that one. My professor let me see the 8/8 answer and it was obvious that the philosophy she was arguing against wasn't any worse than mine, but she had mentioned what the book had said and why she disagreed with it. She also mentioned briefly a case that we had read and said that she would have had a concurrent opinion on it if she had been a judge and why.

Using cases, the book's author's opinions, or your professor's opinions to support your arguments are always going to be much stronger than just stating your own opinion. I'm not sure if you'll get a question like this, but if you do I promise you it'll help to throw in whatever you can remember and then make it work for you.

Be organized

Ok so earlier I said that it's ok if your answer is sloppy but I need to clarify. Simple sentences are ok but being all over the place is not. Remember that just because you get all of the answers right doesn't mean you'll get the highest grade because of the curve. So when it comes down to the difference between a B- and a B, organization can help you out. Again, your professors are going to be looking for certain words, so it's to your benefit to point them to these buzzwords. So by saying the issue is this; the elements to a rule are this; the majority view is this; you're making it easy for your professor (which they appreciate).

Remember to pick out one issue, state that issue, then do an analysis by stating the rule and applying it to your fact pattern (like what you had to do in your memo). Discuss everything relevant to that rule and then move on to a new paragraph and repeat. Also, keep in mind that the conclusion is the least important part of an issue-spotter answer. Think of yourself as a judge, you can rule either way and it'll be correct, but the most important part is your analysis

Final Thoughts

Wether you end up with a C or an A on your finals, meet with your professors to review your answers. There's always something good to keep/perfect and something to improve on. If they'll let you, reading a "model answer" from a top grade receiver of your class can be really helpful to show you how small changes can make a big difference in your grade. 

Just remember that the first goal is to pass and then the second goal is to improve on yourself. I know these tips are a lot to consider when you already have so much to remember to put in your answer to begin with. Don't stress too much if you don't point chase enough. Think of these as the sprinkles on top, not the main dish. 

If you've gotten other feedback from your professors that I haven't mentioned, feel free to comment below or email me so that other students can benefit from your words of wisdom :)

finals tips |

Also, check out my Finals Posts Round Up post for more tips to help with your finals!

October 28, 2016

Should You Go to Law School?

Should you go to law school? What to consider before applying to law school. |

Law school application season is upon us, so I wanted to take the time to give some perspective to anyone out there who is on the fence about law school. Law school is the hardest thing I've ever done, but that doesn't mean that I regret my decision one bit.

It's nothing like the LSAT

Or anything you've ever done before. So just because you got great grades your whole life doesn't mean it'll be easy. On the flip side, if you struggled with the LSAT or thought it wasn't real-world realistic, that's okay because law school is literally nothing like that at all. In one of my classes we're already doing practice Bar questions and thankfully there are no logic games involved. 

It is time consuming

Ok let me do a quick breakdown for you.
  24 hours in a day
- 8 hours sleeping
- 1.5 hours getting ready/getting to class
- 2 hours cooking/eating (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
- 4 hours of class
- 5 hours of studying
-1 hour working out
-1/2 hour doing chores around the house
2 hours of free time

Now I'm not saying that's how little free time you have every day, but it isn't uncommon for you to spend 5 hours reading or writing for a class. The one down side to law school is that during the busy parts you're really busy.

It isn't crazy competitive

And people aren't rude savages trying to get ahead of the curve. Everyone's suffering through this together so you kind of bond with your classmates because of this. That's why people study in groups because at least it's y'all together against everyone else. But after two schools, I've found that people are always friendly enough to offer old outlines or whatever to help you along. 

It's not like debate team or mock trial

Two things about this. 1. If debate or mock trial weren't your thing, or you didn't even like it, then you can still go to law school. Not every lawyer spends all day arguing in front of a jury. That's a litigation lawyer. There's also transactional lawyers who write wills or file companies for bankruptcy. 2. If you were super into debate or mock trial, that doesn't necessarily mean that you're ahead of the game.

Sure you have the opportunity to join a mock trial (or moot court) team and occasionally a professor will have you debate a side in class, but that's not what this is about. Mostly all you'll be doing that first year is sitting in class learning about how a contract is formed or what the term "delivery" means for property. Remember, it is law school.

It is expensive

Another breakdown, this time of my costs through my first semester as a 2L.

1,200 Kaplan LSAT prep
180 1st LSAT attempt registration
180 2nd LSAT attempt registration
50 1st school application fee
45 2nd school application fee
45 3rd school application fee (I got waivers for the 2 other schools)

20,500 government loan (FASFA)
900 interest on government loan from Aug. 2015 - Aug. 2016
1,300 interest on private loan from Aug. 2015 - Aug. 2016
200 Declaration of Intent fee
(these two loans covered my tuition, housing, books, and living expenses)

20,500 government loan
13,000 private student loan (because I transferred to a cheaper school)
$33,500 (so far without interest)

$85,875 approximately because I've been rounding

should you go to law school? |

The Law School Bubble has popped

You might hear stories from people about how law school isn't worth it. This is because from like 2005 - 2013, the law school market was flooded and the economy was bad. This means that a lot of lawyers were super in debt and were having a hard time finding jobs. Some people even argued it wasn't worth it unless you received a great scholarship to a Tier 1 school and graduated in the Top 10% (although I think this is a little extreme). 

But thanks to this bubble, right now there are not as many law graduates as there used to be and the economy is slowly getting better so our job prospects are more optimistic and it isn't as big of a financial risk to go into debt getting a law degree.

It isn't like what you see

As much as I love Legally Blonde and HTGAWM, those don't accurately portray what you'll be doing as a 1L. There are professors who still have a practice (called adjuncts) but I almost guarantee they're not going to pull people out of your class to help them with a case. Criminal Procedure and Evidence are 2L classes so you wouldn't even know how to help a professor. 

That's like teaching a 5th grader how to make a volcano out of baking soda and vinegar and then a scientist taking that kid along with him to Hawaii to collect lava samples from a volcano. If anyone is going to work with a professor it's going to be a 2L or a 3L and they'll probably be helping them research and publish a book.

You don't have to know what kind of law you want to practice

It's always weird to me when people ask me what kind of law I'm studying because truthfully, I'm studying all the types of law. What's weird about the bar exam is that it's not like a normal comprehensive test because you end up being tested over subjects that you haven't even taken classes for. So you have to take as many different subjects as possible to learn a little about a lot in only 3 years.

Because of this, you can end up figuring out what kind of law to practice. You might take a class and realize that you love it and want to do that for your career. Or by process of elimination you can find what you absolutely don't want to do. I'm a 2L and still don't know what kind of law I want to practice, so don't think you have to know either.

It is a challenge

That's about how your 1L year feels, especially during that first semester. There's really not much you can do to prepare for law school before you experience first hand. I mean, no book you read or class you take can prepare you for how helpless you feel when you aren't understanding a topic a few weeks before the final or stressed you feel reading for 4 classes every night. Eventually you learn to swim and then it starts to be more manageable. And after dedicating so much time and effort into law school, you have immense pride in yourself each time you pass a class.

There is a "law school game"

When you get here, you'll hear people refer to law school as a game. Think of this game as like Monopoly. As long as you don't break any rules, you can do whatever it takes to win. Just like Monopoly, a few people interpret this as sabotaging others to make so they can finish higher. But other people just are smart about it. You have to learn how to prioritize what's important, how to find and take advantage of help that's offered, how to strategize and plan to be successful.

Just one example is learning how to multitask really well. Sometimes the professors slide says one thing and he's talking about something else, but because I can multitask I can mindlessly copy what's on the slide into my notes while still listening to what the professor is going over and write down a summary of what he said when he pauses. Because I can do this, I don't miss out on as much information as someone else who either focuses purely on the slides or purely on the professor. 

Other ways to work the system is to visit office hours and get a sense of what the test is like, or to take advantage of a program that your school offers to help make you a more competitive applicant once it's time to fight for a job. The law school game is all about taking advantage of your strengths while either strengthening your weaknesses or at least not letting them slow you down. 

It is fun

Despite all of the "law school sucks" tweets and texts law students send to our friends, we actually love it here. To me, college was mostly just blow off classes or classes that I didn't really care about. Even the ones I liked, I still wasn't passionate about. But I am passionate about all of my law classes. Sure, I might've fought to stay awake through the Dormant Commerce Clause during Constitutional Law, but then I was wide awake when we began to talk about First Amendment rights. 

And even though you read a lot of cases, they're interesting! Torts is full of examples of people just being complete idiots and Criminal Law is like reading a real CSI case. Literally my favorite part about my Wills class is reading about people's dirty laundry, like the wife finding out her husband had a mistress when he left her half of his money. So, at least it's not completely terrible.

should you go to law school? |
Stole this from my friend Jordan