May 25, 2016

1L in Review

1L in review | brazenandbrunette.com

It's Been 1L of a Year

It's crazy that I'm already 1/3 a lawyer. Well I guess technically 1/4 because I still will have to pass the bar, but that's wayyyy off in the future and I'm channeling my inner Scarlett O'Hara and simply not thinking about that :) This year has been nothing like what I expected, but actually in a good way. Before I came here I'd heard stories of malicious students trying to sabotage you so that they can get ahead and professors who treat law school like an intellectual boot camp. I was pleasantly surprised that these were just my worst nightmares, and not actually a reality. And if I can do it, then you can too!
1L in review | brazenandbrunette.com

First Semester

My Property professor perfectly described that first semester of law school -- It's like you're running a race blindfolded. You have no sense of where exactly you're supposed to go, you don't know how fast you're supposed to be running, and you have no clue how the other runners are doing compared to you. It sounds stressful, but it's mostly frustrating. For every time you get the hang of something and think "hey this isn't so bad," there's another time when you just kinda look around with a dumb look on your face and think "wtf is going on??" 

My first semester, I drove myself into panic attacks because I kept comparing myself to everyone else. Don't let yourself do this! It made me miserable. Also, don't overanalyze what people mean when they say law school is so hard yada-yada. Law school is hard because you just spent 4 years being social and putting in minimum effort to get decent grades, but now you actually have to put forth effort. 

Related: Dealing With Self Doubt in Law School

When I tell my friends that skimming through my readings still takes me over 2 hours, they always go off about how law school is too hard and they couldn't do it. But the thing is, that they could and you can, too! You just get used to it and then it's no big deal. One of my friends is starting law school here in the fall and asked if I thought she'd be too busy to be able to take her dog with her, and I almost laughed at her because although you don't have as much spare time as you did in undergrad, you still have a good amount.

You've probably seen my post about how I was told to study from 9-5 and then have my evenings off, and that's true! If you're thinking, "lol there's no way I can do that," think of it more as breaking your day down into 8 hour increments - one for sleeping, one for studying, and one for you-time. It doesn't matter when or for how long you study at a time, as long as you just get that study time in. Remember that some of that time is for class, so you won't actually be reading for that long. I guess what I mean by study is actually mostly just class/reading cases. Really, you will have plenty of time in your days. One girl from my section made the Dean's list and she goes home a raises her kids every day after class. A few people from my section even had small part-time jobs on the side that they managed to juggle.You just have to learn how to plan out your days to be productive. I even had time to watch all 7 seasons of Californication on Netflix. That's how law school is hard, it's not like that time your algebra teacher decided to throw in letters out of nowhere kind of hard. So take comfort in that.


Second Semester

I'm sure you've heard about how the first year of law school they scare you to death, the second they work you to death, and the third they bore you to death. I'm not quite sure how true that will be these next two years, but as of right now it's a load of bull. At least for me at my school, my professors weren't the kind to do the whole "look to your left, look to your right, one of you won't be here next year." In fact, they were the OPPOSITE! After we came back for our second semester, every single professor gave us a little pep talk about how if you didn't do so stellar your first semester, don't give up and instead go visit them and see where you can improve. 
That was probably the best part about having the same professors for two semesters in a row, because I was able to go to their office hours and review my final. Most of my professors were even so kind as to show me what the A answer was from my class, so I could see how to improve. My contracts professor even showed me where I was on the curve, and I was only three people away from a B+! So close, Nikki. So close...

Another great thing about law school once you really get into it, is that your classes will overlap. We talked about warranties for property in both my Contracts and Property classes, and I was assigned to read the same case for both classes on the same day (which turned out to be a huge relief when I realized that I was done with my readings earlier than I expected). And both my Property and Torts professor talked about the same incident when we went over nuisance laws. Even with my friend who is taking business law in undergrad was talking about a case he had read and I literally screamed OMG I know exactly what case you're talking about!! I really like how everything that I learned is relevant and relates to one another.

However, there is a downside to this. In undergrad, my classes would go from Astronomy to Spanish to Persuasion, but here I leave one law class and go to another law class which is basically the same thing but with just a different theme. It can get pretty monotonous when all you do for every class is read cases, make briefs, and talk about rules. It's kinda like how for the week after Thanksgiving, every meal you eat is either turkey sandwiches, or turkey soup, or turkey pot pie. You just get tired of having the same thing every day even though it's always a little different. Eventually, you get over this because you literally have no other choice.

So yeah, overall, the second semester is a LOT better! You finally take off the blindfold of this little metaphorical race and know what you're supposed to be doing and how you compare to everyone else. And by the second semester, you know your study style and your professors and your subjects well enough to know what material you need to read thoroughly, what you can skim through, and what you can skip altogether. It cuts down on your reading time a lot and makes you more efficient overall because now you also know what needs to go in your notes and outlines and can spend more time getting that together. 

1L in review | brazenandbrunette.com

How I've Changed

I'm not going to lie, in undergrad there were a few classes that I would skip quite often to work on my tan or just be a couch potato. I never had perfect attendance before, but now for some classes I had perfect attendance for two semesters straight! Really, I never though that would happen, ever. And for the other classes, I missed one or maybe two classes during the whole year. The reason why I ended up with perfect attendance is because law school is really not the place where you can just get the notes from a friend and be fine. There's just so much you'll need to know, so hearing it from my professors and thinking about it as I type was crucial for me to not get lost. 

Admittedly, a few times I did plan to skip. What would happen was that I knew if I didn't go to class, I at least had to do the readings so I wouldn't get behind. But then the next morning when it was time for class, I always realized that the hard part of reading 20 pages was already done, so I might as well get my butt out of bed and sit it in a desk for 50 minutes and type down what I needed to know. That's right my friends, I can't even slack even when I want to (which is definitely a good thing though).

Related: How to Skip a Law Class Without Falling Behind

And now when I am in class, I pay attention a lot more. I think part of this has to do with the fact that my classes are no longer the kind where you just copy the slides and then sit there bored until the slides change. Thanks to the feared Socratic method, classes are more of an engaging conversation, so they're a lot more interesting and I end up paying attention. Sure sometimes I do end up messaging from my laptop, but I only do this during times I know I can zone out for a bit, like when another student is just going over the facts of the case that I already know. But I never message my friends when a professor is talking anymore, and for some classes I don't even check my messages until after it's over.

Related: What a Law Class is Like, The Difference Between College Classes and Law Classes


Mostly how I've changed is just that I've become more responsible. This turned out to be not as bad as I thought it would. For the most part this is just common sense stuff that I should've been doing anyways, like writing down in my planner what I need to do and actually doing it. Having loans also made me mature a lot. I'm trying to take it in strides and not think so much about all of these new responsibilities, because that's when I get overwhelmed. 


1L in review | brazenandbrunette.com

Would I Do it Again?

I'm sure you already know, but YES! I think even if you're kinda teetering on the fence about maybe considering going to law school, it's worth it. Yes it's hard, but because you're working so hard for something the reward is amazing. You should've seen how I danced around in my living room after I got a full B on my Civ Pro final. My sister looked at me funny because to her it was just a B, but to me it was a sign that I'm not totally incompetent and it turns out that all along I kind of knew what I was doing. Seriously, you will be so proud of yourself after each semester because you didn't give in to the temptations to give up and just go get a job; you rode out the storm!



PS -- if you're Panhellenic and going to/interested in law school, send me your email address because I found a great resource for you!

21 comments:

  1. I'm still obsessed with reading your blog everyday. Even though I'm just now starting undergrad, my decision of wanting to attend law school is so much more confirmed due to your positive outlook on it. Thank you!

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  2. Sydney, thank you so much for making my day! I hope I can also inspire you and other readers to begin blogging about the journey to law school from undergrad, because I do regret not starting Brazen and Brunette earlier as a way to document my trip and try to convince more people that this is a realistic and very obtainable goal. Have a great day!!

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  3. I've been a total creep and living vicariously through your blog the last few months! I'm a sorority woman who just graduated this week and I'm going to law school in the fall. Your blog has definitely eased some of my worries for the next three years :)

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    1. Hi Sara! Lol no worries, one of the reasons why I started Brazen and Brunette was because I had no clue what it would actually be like and I didn't want other people to feel that way too, so I'm super excited that I could help. If you don't mind, can you comment back with your email or send it to me through the Comments and Suggestions box on the right? Thanks!

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    2. Omg sorry! Also, congratulations on getting into law school!! It really is a feat getting to this point so it deserves some recognition.

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  4. This blog has been seriously so amazing! I'm also a sorority woman who is starting law school in the fall! I cannot thank you enough for starting this blog because it has been amazing and sooooo helpful with calming my nerves and giving me more of a plan as I enter law school. It's really helpful to be able to refer back to the posts when the time comes for me to do the same things! At this point, I don't know what I would do without Brazen and Brunette!

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    1. Whoops forgot to give you my email: hannahdprice@yahoo.com

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  5. Hey Hannah thank you so much! I felt like I had a little bit of a bumpy start at first so I'm glad that I could give y'all a little confidence in yourself before you start, because I know that would've helped me. And congratulations on getting into law school! You're going to have a great year :)

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  6. Hi Nikki, I am in the same position as Sara and Hannah! Your blog is so easy to read and always has the best tips! My email is shelby.stansberry@gmail.com and I would love all the advice you have to offer! Thank you!!

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  7. Great read! I just wrapped up my 1L year as well and you hit the nail on the head. This has been an extremely challenging yet rewarding year. Best of luck to you Nikki over the next two years!

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    1. Thanks Taylor! I hope you have a great 2L year this fall! Hopefully it will get easier for us :)

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  8. Nikki, your blog is a huge blessing to me right now! I am starting law school in August and so many of my concerns and questions have been answered by your blog. My first law school purchase was my planner last week, and I totally used the tips you mentioned in your planner post to help guide my decision. I look forward to reading your posts over the next 3 years and somehow knowing that I'm not alone in all of this. Thanks for taking the time to keep up with this blog in spite of your busy law school student life :)

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    1. Paloma, I'm so excited that Brazen and Brunette could help you in any way! I'll absolutely be here for you as you adjust to law school this fall. I hope you have a great 1L year!

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  9. I love your blog! I am planning on going to law school next year and I am a Delta Gamma from Texas too! here is my email: aalauren@aol.com

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    1. Thank you Lauren!! I added you to a Panhellenic Lawyers Facebook group so watch out for that email!

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  10. Hi Nikki, love your blog! I'm a senior Tri Delta at the University of Vermont - applying to law school this semester! My email address is kenkamansky@gmail.com

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    1. Hey Kendell I added you to the Panhellenic Facebook group so hopefully that can also be a useful resource for you as you go through the application process!

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  11. I'm starting law school in August and I love your blog! I am also a Panhellenic woman and my email is amber.benzinger@yahoo.com

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    1. Thank you so much Amber!! I added you to the Panhellenic Facebook group :) Good luck this fall!!

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  12. Just found your blog today and I'm obsessed! Hoping to start law school in 2019 :) I'm a Panhellenic woman and the email that is linked to my current disaffiliate FB is unfpanhel.vprecruitment@gmail.com but the FB I will be using when I run home in Sept. is linked to abbie.e.walsh@gmail.com

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    1. Hey Abbie! Are you being a rho gam?? I was a rho gam my senior year and had to be disaffiliated for two weeks! I'm glad you found my blog and hopefully it will help you as you prepare for law school :) I added you to the FB group!

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