August 23, 2015

Calming Pre-Law School Nerves

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Some Perspective on Law Students

In the midst of wading through my readings and notes, I keep being in awe again and again that I'm actually starting this journey. I am actually chasing my dreams. A small anecdote... Last month I was on medication that I was told not to drink on. I thought I could drink on it 6 hours after I took the medicine. Cut to me having a few beers later, and I'm in my bathroom sicker than what I had imagined would be possible. I have hair down to my elbows and of course I got throw up in it. Too drunk to wash it, I wrapped my hair in a towel and slept like that before waking up very pissed at my drunk self and washing out my hair. This girl is going to law school.

Tomorrow I am a Law Student |

I also think about this every time I see a run-down law office around town that reminds me of Saul Goodman of Breaking Bad. It's crazy to think that even shady lawyers once spent hours and hours reading cases taking notes on what does and doesn't clarify as a tort.

Staying Disciplined

I've finished my contracts reading and am about 2/3 with my torts reading, and then I just have to work on my briefs for class. So far, the readings aren't bad. These books are meant to be read like having someone is talking to you and a majority of it isn't even that boring. It's just the fact of trying to stay focused on the same task for hours at end. I keep catching myself wanting to rearrange my desk or clean or just anything to distract me. That's probably my first advice for law school: learn how to limit your breaks. 

My problem is that honestly I'm not so hot at the self discipline. Last night I almost just ignored my reminder to do yoga because I wanted to get more reading done, but I reminded myself that a 30 minute break wasn't really that detrimental and if I skipped today then I would skip just as easily next time. Yoga ended up being a perfect study break because I didn't realize how tight my back had gotten sitting in the same position all day.

I'm hoping that through making myself stay committed in one area of my life, it will slowly improve my commitment to other areas of my life. Hopefully this will all be improved once I get my planner this week. I basically spent undergrad flying by the seat of my pants— waking up right before I had to leave for class and pulling all-nighters to finish papers last minute. I always was weary of being one of those people who plan out details of every day, but I know I have to be more structural to survive here.

My Own Briefing

As I mentioned before, I don't really know what will and what won't work for me yet. Being a perfectionist, I actually got slightly stressed trying to categorize my highlighter colors because I want to be consistent throughout my semester, but also wanted to assign the most-highlighted categories to common colors so that I don't run out, and I just didn't know what would and wouldn't be important. I found this breakdown of color-coding your book, but she had just a little too much going on for me. I used her system to come up with my tentative coding below. I left spaces to go back in and add more to my legend as I need it. I've also been using this free legal dictionary a lot while I wait for my Black's dictionary to come in from Chegg, and it's been very helpful.

Tomorrow I am a Law Student |

Final Thoughts

Also, today I took a study break and watched the first hour of The Paper Chase and it is a really good law school movie. Despite my admiration for Elle Woods, this was a realistic in terms of how law school goes down and the pressures of it. 

Related: Perfect movies for law students

I feel as though studying back then must have been somewhat easier without the temptation of a computer in front of you and a phone besides you. This was definitely my problem yesterday because my sorority at my old school had their bid day so I got sucking in scrolling through pictures upon pictures of our new girls. Also, it has the actor who plays Richard Gilmore in Gilmore Girls when he was young so that's a plus.  Side note: on a Mac, option + 6 is how you type §


I changed how I book brief just a little to make it easier as I figured out the info that I need.

  • words that are defined in the case
  • facts about the parties
  • procedural history
  • examples of other cases
  • the rule
  • important information  
  • holding
  • plaintiff's argument
  • defendant's argument
  • issue being debated
  • expounding rule
  • circle any little numbers that represent a footnote so that I can easily find what the footnotes were referring to 
I also add a mini sticky note with a definition if I come across a word that I don't know and have to look up in my Black's Law Dictionary. The worst thing is when your professor asks what constructive means and you go off in left field thinking of something being made when in the legal use it actually is referring to something that's pretend. Just a head's up. 


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