August 7, 2017

Get Your Sh*t Together for a New Semester

7 things to do to get your shit together for a new semester; law school planners |

Well hello, again! In just a few weeks I will be starting my very last first day of school EVER!! (for those of you who don't know, I'll be doing work for school credit my last semester, read about that here). So now would be a very good time for me (and you!) to get our shit together before school starts. A great little helper for this is the Get Your Shit Together Planner

Look over your syllabus

Double check what classes you're in, when they meet, where they meet, and who is your professor and put this all in your planner. My school changed the room for one of my classes over the summer before my 1L year but changed it the last week, which I didn't know because I didn't double check online before the first day. Writing it down will also help you with your first-day-of-law-school nerves when you start to get times and classes mixed up. 

7 ways to get your shit together for a new semester |

Another thing to put in your planner is anything major from your syllabus. Make sure you know the dates for your finals and any due dates for midterms or big papers that are due. I have used these academic stickers for the past two years and love them because I can request that the colors match my planner. While you're being productive, it might not be a bad idea to go ahead and find your book requirements and order those so you're not waiting for books to come in even after class starts.

Related: Law School Books: Buying New v. Buying Old v. Renting

Color coordinate

Now that you actually remember what classes you're going to, pick a color for each class to keep your planner organized. This way when I saw random page numbers written down, I could just remember what class sounded like the color and then know what I was supposed to be reading for each class. This works best if you also make sure that any notebooks or folders match the colors as close as possible. My 1L year I did purple for property, turquoise for torts, khaki (brown) for contracts, pink for civil procedure, crimson (red) for criminal law, cyan (blue) for constitutional law, and light blue for legal research and writing. 

Clean out your inbox

Go through all those junk emails and get rid of what you don't need. I use to unsubscribe from basically all email lists except theSkimm because I still need my little news briefings. You need to get out of the habit of ignoring a full inbox because you're about to be getting lots of emails about reading assignment changes, hopefully some "class is canceled," and eventually emails about OCIs. 

Speaking of OCIs, pay attention to these dates! There are deadlines for mock interviews, deadlines to have your resumé and information uploaded, and deadlines for bidding on an interview. Put these in your planner ASAP so they won't slip your mind. I have these reminder stickers that are great because they're attention-grabbing and you can fill it in with what's due that day so you for sure can't miss it.

Make a schedule

In your planner, block out at least three hours to read. Add another hour to workout. Of course you'll need to block out school time, but then...everything you haven't blocked out is free time 😃 Two reasons for this— one, if you don't block out time to study then you'll procrastinate hard and two, you will thank yourself later for preserving time just to relax. And I know it can be hard to motivate yourself to use some of your precious free time to workout, but keeping that in your schedule will really help you burn off some steam when school starts to feel overwhelming.

Clean and organize your house

I am a firm believer that coming home to a dirty house is just an added stress trigger that you really won't need in law school because the readings themselves will do enough triggering for that. I am also a firm believer that after 3 hours of reading law after law after law, suddenly hand-scrubbing the grout sounds like more fun than reading. Don't stress yourself out more than necessary, don't give yourself an excuse to procrastinate and go ahead and clean while you have the time and energy.

Make a budget

TBH, this was not something that I wasn't very good at my 1L year but I'm getting better. Make a page in your planner to keep up with your expenses and your balance. Yes I know you're probably thinking ew that's what my mom does but honestly it really helps. Having to write down everything you spend your money on will show you all of the pointless crap you're wasting money on. And having to see your account dwindle will help you think twice about whether you actually need something or not. Putting these bills reminder stickers in your planner will also help you avoid wasting money paying late fees just because you forgot that a bill was due. 

Surround yourself with happy thoughts

I'm not going to lie, there will be several times in the first two months of law school where you'll feel like all you do in life is read and outline yet will also feel like you're not doing enough. You'll for sure have one of those find a happy place! find a happy place! moments. The trick to keeping these little speed bumps from turning into full on meltdowns is to be your own little cheerleader. I do this by keeping motivational quotes on the wall above my desk, writing motivational quotes on sticky notes and hiding them in random places in my book, and using these motivational stickers like crazy in my planner.

The GYST Planner

Paige from GYST on Etsy recently sent me this planner and it's been a great help as I wrap up summer classes and get ready for the Fall semester. For those of you who are trying not to spend too much on school supplies, this planner is only $25! Plus with the code GETMOREGYSTON3 you get 15% off any order over $9 and this counts for the planner and stickers so it's a really cheap option. What keeps it so cheap is that the only add ons that you can do are either a planner cover or stickers

The cover that it comes with is a really thick, laminated plastic and is super durable, so you don't have to get an extra cover. Really the point of the extra cover is to just pop over the standard cover to make it personal. Here's the cover that I got and I thought the watercolor feathers was really cool.

GYST planner review + coupon code |

One of the very first pages is a year-at-a-glance page, which is one of my most important pages. Instead of writing down birthdays, I use these pages to keep track of my absences for each class all in one place. This is important for law school because usually your grade will be docked if you miss more than like 5 classes. And since I miss so few classes, this page works out great for this purpose even though there's not a lot of lines.

GYST planner review + coupon code |

Each month starts with a month-at-a-glance page. I left this one blank to take pictures of but to be honest I know that I won't be needing these pages too much. Most of the classes that I take only have one grade the whole semester, which is the final, so I don't really need to write that much here. Mostly all that will get put here are my graduation countdown stickers and later this semester finals stickers.

GYST planner review + coupon code |

The weekly part of the planner is really what I go for. These are set up in a morning-afternoon-evening layout, which is what I've had for the past two years because it essentially breaks up my day into class, studying, and down time. Not only that, but it has a spot for your accomplishments, focus items, daily water intake, daily fruits and veggies intake, daily active minutes, savings (it starts at $1 a week and ends at $52 so that equals $1378 of savings in a year! I think this is such a smart idea), a countdown (lol I'm always counting down for something), three daily to-dos, and a reminder box. It gets a lot in it!

GYST planner review + coupon code |

I'm in summer school right now so this has actually been really handy because I'm crazy busy. I keep track of my work schedule, my work outfits, my workouts, dinner plans, plus all of the million little things that I have to do for my two online classes.

GYST planner review + coupon code |

At the end of every month, it has a page for you to take a little timeout and reflect on the past month. I love that it has a spot for the previous month's highlights, your goals for the next month, and action steps to achieve those goals. It also has a spot for happy thoughts which I think is really important because I swear if you don't take a step back from the wow this is getting kinda hard right now you'll feel overwhelmed, so this can really help you keep some perspective. The last part that's handy is it has a notes section which is really great for taking notes during a meeting that your school has or for that time you forget your notebook in a laptop-banned class.

GYST planner review + coupon code |

Because it doesn't have any added sections, it's a lot thinner than a Plum Paper or Erin Condren planner. Instead of adding a section for working out you can use these weightloss stickers, instead of a bills tracker section you can use these bill tracker stickers, and instead of a to-do section you can use these to-do stickers. Honestly after trying out so many stickers I kind of like this idea better because you're not having to flip back and forth through sections.

Other stickers that I got were these graduation countdown stickers for the light at the end of the tunnel, these vacation planner stickers for weekend getaways, dinner night stickers for meal planning, football game stickers to keep up with gamedays, and this watercolor sticker set which has just about every sticker you could ever need. What I did was get matte finish for the vacation, football, and watercolor stickers since I'll be writing on them and glossy finish for the graduation and dinner night stickers since they won't be written on. I made a little blogger blunder and got too excited to use these stickers that I didn't take a picture of them to show y'all before I added them to my planner, but you can check out what all you get with them in my unboxing video.


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