Success is a Mentality

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Hello, World.

I once saw a woman walking down the streets of San Francisco in a beautiful outfit — a wool coat that stayed the same shade as freshly fallen snow despite the debris of nearby construction sites swirling through the air, her hair shiny and straight and in place, not succumbing to the cool breeze coming off the Bay, and a elegantly tailored navy suit peeking through the coats, perfectly hemmed to accommodate her small, but newly shined pumps. There’s a look on her face that’s determined. She walks with purpose, a crisp copy of the Chronicle tucked tightly under her arm, a blue bottle coffee cup in one gloved-hand, and her briefcase held firmly with the other. She takes a left on California Street and heads toward her office which she left mere hours before her morning routine started. Yes, she is someone with a morning routine… she does have coffee, a newspaper, and a briefcase after all.

The person I saw was me… but a future me. A future me I wanted to see. This is what I call daydreaming between networking meetings about the person I want to be one day. It sounds weird, right? Looking put together doesn’t translate directly into success, but we all, to some degree, assume that people who look put together have it all together. However, if we apply a little logic to this assumption, it’s thinness is clear. In actuality, success is a mentality. Success is something we tell ourselves, its something we create by our own actions and drive. When you google a definition for “successful” the definition spit out is “accomplishing an aim or purpose.” So, in order to be successful, you must have an aim or purpose.

In college, I was a facilitator for a leadership retreat, and as a “thank you” gift (I suppose), the women I worked with gave me a book entitled Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Essentially, the book advocates for figuring out why you’re doing something before doing it because if there is no passion…no reason…you won’t achieve what you intend (because what you intend is unclear). This message pops up for me again and again. When I’m feeling lost or aimless, I usually go back to why I started or why I’m doing what I’m doing. Ultimately, if there is no purpose or aim success cannot exist. If you don’t have a clear mental image of what you wish to accomplish, you cannot possibly measure how you’re doing or how close you are to achieving that.

So, if you want to be successful, the best thing to do is come up with an aim or purpose. Figure out what you want to achieve. There are a lot of people who will define success differently than you and there are plenty of people who will tell you what you should do to be successful. I say ignore all the voices and listen to your own. Imagine the life you want to live, cling to the image, and pursue it with all your strength. Don’t settle; don’t become so discouraged you become convinced its impossible. Persist.

How do you measure your success?

Truly,

Callie leigh

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Winter Reads: Two Books I Read Recently

Hello, World.

I’m sorry for my hiatus toward the end of last semester. I had a terrible finals schedule, which meant I was studying from about November 4th until I went home for the holidays. The holiday season flew by, and before I knew it I was back in Williamsburg for the spring semester. Honestly, I had so many blog posts planned for November and December and they just didn’t happen. As most of my planned posts dealt with the holiday season or were more relevant in the past months, I’ve decided to start fresh with a new slew of posts in the new year.

First and foremost, I wanted to share two books I read while I was home in California over the holiday break. One book I picked up with the intention of reading post-finals and the other I had on my shelf for a while before picking it up. One of my goals for myself this year is spending less money, and that includes not purchasing new books. I have quite a few books on my shelves I haven’t picked up, so I’m hoping that if I’m not buying new books it will force me to reach for books I own but haven’t read.

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Anyway, onto the books I read recently. First up is The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Lousie Miller. I picked this novel up after seeing it on Carly the Prepster’s Instagram stories. I was also sold by the Bon Appetit review on the cover that reads: “Ok, it’s Gilmore Girls.” Anything with Gilmore Girls on it is something I will purchase! So, I ordered the novel from Penguin and allowed it to gather dust on my shelf until finals were finally over and I packed it in my tote bag to head to the airport. Once I started the novel, I loved it. For reference, the book’s summary is as follows:

When Olivia Rawlings—baker extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club—sets not just her flambéed dessert but the entire building alight, she takes a much-needed weekend break in the idyllic leafy town of Guthrie, Vermont. A weekend soon turns into something more permanent when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, needs to recruit a new baker who can help her reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest. On paper, at least, Livvy seems to be just who she was looking for.

Livvy’s love life’s a mess and so she does what she does best: relocate. Along with Salty, her gigantic, uber-enthusuastic dog with almost too much personality, Livvy, as the Sugar Maple’s new baker, brings her mouthwatering desserts to the residents of Guthrie, home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend, Hannah. And when Olivia meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from New York to nurse his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought. With the joys of a warm, fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Olivia Rawlings may finally find that the life you want may not be the one you expected—it could be even better.”

I loved the storytelling and cozy vibes that leaped from the page. While it may not have been the most well-written book I’ve read, I appreciated the pacing and development of the story. I adored the cast of characters, and I had a hankering to uproot to small-town Vermont by the book’s close! This was the first book in a while that I thoroughly enjoyed cover to cover. While there was a plot twist that took me by surprise, I ended up appreciating the decision. I highly recommend this read to anyone who needs a cozy story with great characters.

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Second, I read Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. This book sat on my shelf for a while before I finally picked it up. I think I bought it last summer because it was showing up everywhere on my Instagram feed. I love a good family drama, and I was excited to start this. Though I wish some of the storylines lasted a bit longer or were delved into a bit deeper, I enjoyed the book. The writing was very good and it was easy to keep the characters straight because they were written so distinctly. I would recommend this book to people who like family dramas, who are interested in how family dynamics change and impact our lives, or to someone who just loves a well-written novel that makes us reflect on our own lives.

For reference, the inside flap for this novel is as follows:

“One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly – thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.

When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.

Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.”

So, what have you read lately? Any books I should add to my to-be-read list?

Truly,
Callie Coker

2018 Goals

 

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Hello, World.

My apologies for my absence in recent weeks. With finals and traveling home for the holidays, my blog posts suffered. However, I’m back and I hope to have a consistent schedule in the new year. I wanted to begin the year with my goals. I’ve never been a huge fan of resolutions, mainly because I usually pick things I won’t stick to or I won’t make time for, which sets me up for failure. This year, I am choosing to have some goals for myself that I hope I can work toward slowly but surely until next New Year’s Day.

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Healthy Eating \\ I’m not one to heavily diet because the minute I restrict something, I crave it. I also love sugar and crave it when I’m stressed. Given I’m in law school, restricting things that I crave while stressed will only mean failure down the road. Therefore, instead of restricting, my goal is to eat healthier foods. One of the biggest changes I noticed when I moved to Virginia was the lack of easily available healthy options. So, this year I plan to cook for myself more, eat more greens, fewer carbs, and get back to my roots!

Yoga \\ I used to love yoga in college, and almost got a membership at a studio in my college town, but decided against it because of cost. However, I really miss stretching and moving my body and feeling more… zen, if you will. So, this year I’d like to get back into yoga, whatever that may look like. I don’t want to put a ton of pressure on myself, but I’d like to see yoga more visibly in my daily life.

Fitness \\ Along the same lines as above, I was really into working out last spring, then kind of waned off of my routine in the summer, and never fully got back into working out much in the fall. This year I’d like to push myself and make working out more visible again. I feel so good when I work out daily, I’m less stressed, and I am generally happier. So, I’m hoping to make fitness a part of my weekly routine.

Stress-Management \\ Last semester I didn’t necessarily feel stressed until November-ish when finals got closer. However, I think I was subconsciously stressed well before November. This year I’m hoping to get my stress management under control. I’m not sure how this will look, but my initial thoughts include a solid morning routine, meditation, and music.

Friends \\ It’s so easy to let relationships and friendships slip through the cracks when you’re stressed. I, however, want to make a point to grow my friendships this year. I also want to see all the people I didn’t get to see over the last year and a half (this includes seeing my college friends more (even if only through FaceTime) and spending time with my law school friends doing things other than studying).

Financial

Spending \\ Spend less. That’s it.

Saving \\ I think saving is important, so the less I spend, the more I can save.

Academic

Grades \\ Work hard, do the best I can, and not let grades define me.

Job \\ Obtain a summer job doing something I love in my home state. I’m still in the process of looking, which is unsettling, but I’m ready to hit the ground running and secure a summer position.

Obviously, my personal goals are the biggest goals I have. This stems from a desire to feel more relaxed but also because I think it’s easy to lose sight of who you are and what you want in a high-pressure environment. This is the year I figure out what I want, I go for it with all my strength and resources, and don’t allow myself to get to the end of the year and mumble, somewhat disgruntled, I guess I’ll try again next year.

What’re your goals for the year?

Truly,

Callie leigh

Fall Outfit Inspiration with AUrate

Hello, World.

The temperatures are dropping, the fireplaces in homes are being used, and it’s officially cold enough to wear sweaters and boots without overheating. Fall is a great time for fashion, but as busy students it can be hard to look cute and put together while rushing from meetings to classes to the library. I know for me, comfort is key when studying hits its peak in the weeks leading to finals. Today, I wanted to share my ideal fall outfits, which are all complemented by AUrate earrings.  AUrate is a jewelry company in New York City that creates beautiful, dainty jewelry from ethically sourced materials because doing good is ingrained in the company’s DNA. Speaking of doing good, for each piece of jewelry purchased, an economically underprivileged child will receive a book! How cool is that? Reading is SO important, and I love the mission of this company.

Now, on to my ideal outfits. I wanted to create two looks that I would wear regularly during fall months. The second look is something fancier, for nights out with friends, meetings with college alums, or heading to a holiday event.

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Layering is SO necessary at the temperatures drop (at an exceedingly rapid pace). I also hate when my feet are cold, so rain boots and thick socks are a must. I love how this casual look is immediately stepped up when you add the half-moon earrings from AUrate! While the outfit looks simple at first, the earrings add a delicate, sophisticated touch

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I love vests, and skirts are my go-to for fall months. I love delicate, feminine details in my fancier outfits, so the pearl earrings from AUrate were the natural choice to accompany this outfit. I love that only the pearls are visible when the earrings are worn, so you have a great pearl detail. The pearls look like they line the bottom of the earlobe, which is classic and chic all at once.

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Is it even fall on the east coast if you aren’t wearing Bean Boots and LL Bean vests? I don’t think so. Classic cream sweaters, skinny jeans, fuzzy vests, boot socks, and bean boots are the quintessential fall look, so I felt it was appropriate to include as one of my favorite seasonal looks. I also love the simplicity of the ‘A’ earrings, which add the perfect classy detail to an otherwise cozy outfit.

What are your ideal fall looks?

Truly,

Callie leigh

 

Stylish Academic’s Guide to Avoiding Drama in College

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Hello, World.

Remember when Gossip Girl sent a blast announcing the Upper East Side crew wasn’t done with her upon high school graduation and that she would be following them to college? I think we all inhaled and exhaled so sharply in that moment. Bummer for them, but that meant we had more seasons of Gossip Girl! When you think about one’s first year of college, it’s hard to remember that in August, after moving into your dorm room, you’re really only three or four months away from high school.

Some behavior that’s sometimes normal in high school isn’t always welcome in college. The first being drama. Everyone’s life becomes a lot easier when the drama is stuck in a TV show and doesn’t permeate a person’s real life. Note: though this post is focused on college, I will say that in all stages of life minimal drama is desirable. If I notice someone loves drama and does whatever possible to create it, I quickly side-step interactions with them and minimize my exposure to them. So, I think it’s relatively easy to avoid drama in college, but sometimes it can be difficult because everyone is living in close quarters and if you’re at a small school, most people know each other.

I remember when I moved to my college, I thought it was huge compared to my 300-person high school, but others who went to much bigger high schools thought it was too much like high school [pro tip: size of college is something to really consider when choosing where to attend]. College gossip is real and college drama happens, but I want to share my top tips for minimizing drama:

  1. Surround yourself with positive people. Negative people brew drama like it’s a house roast. Whether intentional or not, negative people tend to create drama because their negativity either rubs off on others OR people vent about the negative person, thus brewing drama.
  2. Keep venting to a minimum. People will annoy you most likely, at one point or another. However, if you’re having issues with someone, either vent to someone you really trust, like your closest friend or your friends from home, or keep it to yourself. The more you vent, the more drama will form.
  3. Acknowledge issues as they happen. If someone annoyed you or hurt you, tell them. Handle your problems with people with them directly. There is no worse thing to do than telling everyone but the person that you’re upset. The more you do this, the more you send two messages: (a) you create drama and (b) you aren’t mature enough to handle your issues responsibly, quickly, and effectively.
  4. Focus on individual friendships. Some people believe the best way to live is to be friends with everyone all the time. That may work for some, but it didn’t work for me or many residents I had in college. When you nurture and develop individual friendships, they tend to be longer lasting and more genuine. I’ve never been someone who could hang out with 5 people at once all the time. Sure, I had “friend groups,” but I always made a point to schedule one-on-one time with all my friends. Whether it was coffee dates, study sessions, shopping outings, etc., I wanted to get to know the person as an individual and not just as a component in a larger group. This way, you know what each person is offering and adding, and you can discern if someone fits well in the group, but isn’t someone you want to seek out one-on-one. This also clarifies who the trustworthy friends are!

Four easy steps to an as-much-as-possible drama free college experience. I think the biggest thing is remembering that people talk. You don’t want to build a reputation as someone who talks negatively about people or stirs drama. Additionally, if you realize someone isn’t a good fit for your life, you can slowly step away from them. This may be difficult, as sometimes they’re very present in your life, but I think minimizing interactions is a great start. That way, it’s not some huge dramatic blowup, but rather a mature departure from the relationship. Drama can come about in ways you weren’t expecting, but it’s always best to be the bigger person! Or, if that doesn’t work, you can do as one of my duty partners did in my RA days: ignore it away!

Truly,
Callie leigh

 

 

Handling Rejection with Grace: Jobs, Relationships, and Life

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Hello, World.

It seems only fitting the banner image for this post is a street in New York, a city that can eat people up and spit them out. New York City isn’t for the weak, but it is somewhere many people go with a dream that may or may not come to fruition. At the end of the day, some people will inevitably fail while pursuing the dream they so desperately want. Inevitably, we all fail in some aspect of our lives. We won’t just fail once, either. We will fail multiple times in different aspects of lives. However, how one handles that failure says a lot about their character. On the same vein, some failure results from rejection. The rejection that rears its ugly head at the worst, most earth-shattering times is the most damaging, but rejection in any form, even the insignificant, can impact us.

When we want to succeed so badly it hurts, someone telling us, “no, now is not your time,” stings a bit extra. It’s like getting lemon juice in a papercut. So, how do we handle rejection with grace while also subtly saying, “that won’t deter me, but nice try!” to our nay-sayers? Well, I think the biggest thing we can do is not let people in our heads. Don’t let someone’s comments or “not good enough,” insinuations get to you. You can take constructive feedback, but if the comment is just flat out hurtful and beyond the nature of constructive, it’s perfectly fine to disregard. I was scrolling through Twitter the other morning, as so many law students who aren’t ready to face mergers and acquisitions reading do, and I noticed a thread from the author of The Nest, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney that immediately caught my attention and made my thumb lift from the lit-up screen. Her tweet said this:

“When I heard When I heard an agent say a ‘middle-aged woman in a writing class’ was not a client he wanted & I thought I’LL SHOW YOU #misfitsmanifesto”

When I read this, I wondered what had spurred it. There wasn’t anything in particular that preceded this in her feed that indicated it was a response to something. However, following this tweet, there was another:

“So don’t listen to dummies and don’t be discouraged. Just make your manuscript the best you can.”

I liked the sentiment of the tweets because the author is encouraging people to ignore those that say such rude, condescending things, and keep pushing forward. The agent who said this was rejecting D’Aprix Sweeney as an author, belittling her work in the process, but D’Aprix Sweeney, rather than curling up and crying, said, “hm. let me prove you wrong.” She may not have said it to the agent’s face, but she took action to become a successful author whose novel is the topic of book clubs and Goodreads threads around the world. This is, of course, just one example of someone handling rejection well. However, handling rejection isn’t easy…handling it well is even harder.

Rejection is just part of life, unfortunately. Whether we’re working hard in law school to get that big firm job, or on every dating app in search of something, or trying to maintain friendships we can feel are failing, we set ourselves up for someone to tell us “now is not your time,” over and over. However, success is kind of like lightning in a bottle. You’re not always sure what’s going to happen, how you’re going to get X, but once you hit it just right, it’s pure magic. So, we have to put ourselves on the rejection chopping block time and time again to see if this time we’ll hit it just right and find success. Handling rejection with grace isn’t some equation or perfect step-by-step process. If anything, handling rejection with grace is saying, “thank you for your time,” walking away and trying again tomorrow. While someone can say no to you, they can’t rob you of your gumption. So for every “no” uttered, remember you only need one yes to get somewhere.

I grew up in an environment where I was told, “the worst they can say is no,” every time I was hesitant to do something – talk to a romantic interest, apply for a leadership position, go after a job, apply to law schools I knew may not take me, etc. It created a less scary aura around everything I wanted to do – if they said no, bummer but I could move on. If they said yes, well, I got what I wanted! Being fearless but realistic is important in handling rejection. We cannot be so scared of rejection that the fear alone is the biggest roadblock in our lives. We have to keep going, putting ourselves out there, and remember that we will get what we want if we work toward it strategically. If you can’t get X immediately (I know, hard to believe in the instant-gratification world we live in), maybe try getting to X the long way around, by starting with Y, moving to Z, and attacking X tangentially.

I’m not going to tell you rejection gets easier or that you become immune. Rejection is discouraging as hell and by the fifth or so “thanks, but no thanks,” you can feel your ego bruising. However, if we stop putting our name out there and let the few rejections push us so far down they become the end game, we’re letting ourselves down.  So, how do we handle rejection with grace? We say, “I understand,” take the night to drink a glass of wine [or a scotch, neat], take a bubble bath, listen to some James Arthur before getting up in the morning, putting on our big-girl pants and showing the world it cannot shake us.

Truly,
Callie leigh

 

Why You NEED to Watch The Handmaid’s Tale If You Haven’t Already

Hello, World.

In high school, I had to do a project called an “extended reading.” They were sort of the worst things ever, but alas, I was in AP English and they were required. Extended readings were used to make sure we knew a broad range of literature that we could write about/needed to know about for the AP exam come April. So, each student in my class would choose a book to read and then give a spoiler-ridden presentation on to the class. The presentation was supposed to offer an in-depth summary of the work, themes, motifs, character biographies, etc. Basically, people should felt that they actually read the book by the end of your presentation. I hated public speaking in high school, so I got hives everytime I stood at the front of the room to give my presentation. So, what does this trip down memory lane have to do with Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale? Well, my senior year of high school, my AP English teacher recommended I read it and present it to my class.

So, I read the novel. It was one of the first books, besides maybe To Kill A Mockingbird, that I read for class that I loved. Honestly, I loved the way it was written, I found the storyline fascinating, and I just could not put the novel down. I built a reading schedule, but quickly surpassed all of my goals and finished the novel in a matter of days. When Hulu decided to come out with a TV version of the book, I was hesitant. I was scared it wouldn’t live up to my impression of the book and would fail to capture the essence of the Atwood’s words.
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In September, I finally sat down to watch the show. I was hesitant but had been told several times it was amazing. The show also won a ton of Emmys, so I decided maybe it was worth watching. I sat down in bed to watch one episode and was hooked. I ended up watching three in a row. I finished the show within a week but re-watched portions a second time, just as I had re-read portions of the book years before. The show tweaked some aspects of the book, but I felt most tweaks were appropriate and didn’t detract from the overarching message and themes of the book.

Elisabeth Moss did an incredible, incredible job playing Offred/June. Honestly, I think she brought emotion and rawness to the character that was even better than the book. Due to the clinical nature of the world created by Atwood, sometimes emotions didn’t come through as well in written form, but the acting of the Hulu cast was powerful. The subtle emotions, the complete outbursts, the debilitating fear an uneasiness…the cast portrayed that well. I heard someone complain the acting was too mechanical. Ironically, it’s supposed to be mechanical. It’s supposed to feel cold and detached while highlighting small moments of hope and integrity and resistance.

I particularly enjoyed seeing the build-up to how Gilead formed. I think when I read the book, as a somewhat naive seventeen-year-old girl, I thought, “Oh this could never happen.” Today, I’m not so sure. Quiet movements led by enraged, blame-focused groups seem real. The stripping of women’s rights doesn’t seem far off as we, women, have yet to receive all the rights we should. I think watching people walk through the beginning of Gilead thinking, “oh, it’s fine. They’ll never get their way,” and then watching those same people struggle with the fallout, the rights-stripping, and the dehumanizing behavior of Gilead leadership is uncomfortable in the best way. At the end of the day, “that would never happen,” is the wrong mentality to have when you think someone problematic is gaining traction. “That would never happen” is essentially a call for the unimaginable, the seemingly impossible to make itself realized. I think if the TV Handmaid’s Tale gives us anything its the message that passivity is detrimental. We shouldn’t need our world to become Gilead to push change or resistance to problematic movements and ideologies.

Offred is strong as hell and though she’s inherently feminine –  seeing as her driving force is getting her daughter back, which is maternal – she pushes boundaries, she questions her Commander, she pushes back in the slightest ways that seem insignificant at the moment, but provide hope to those of us clinging to the edge of the book or sitting tense on our couches watching Elisabeth Moss say, “is this bullshit life enough for you?” Because it’s not enough for her. Though Offred is in the worst situation, she convinces herself that Gilead is temporary… that the wrongs of the leadership will be corrected, overthrown, people will gain their rights back. However, this is important insofar as it reminds us that all of this was absent when Gilead leadership bulldozed the country into submission.

I don’t want to spoil the show, as I think it’s a must-see, but I will say there were moments that made my stomach turn. There were moments when I wanted to scream at characters (specifically Serena Joy, who helped create the society that then stripped her dignity and belittled her intellect). I think shows like this, however, are uncommon, and I think the writing is just as powerful as Atwood’s novel is. So, if you haven’t watched The Handmaid’s Tale… I encourage you to do so!

Truly,
Callie leigh

Stop Apologizing: Curbing the Need to Apologize

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Hello, World.

I had a professor once who would say, “no need to apologize,” to me all the time because I would say “sorry,” too much. I didn’t even say it because I did something wrong or I was sorry, I would just say it…like a reflex. I think part of this comes from the fact that to apologize is polite and when you bump into someone or do something to make a person uncomfortable you apologize. But then, there is definitely a line we cross where we go from polite to simply apologizing too much. When apologizing becomes a reflex, each apology loses its weight. Now, for the purposes of avoiding criticism for telling people not to apologize, I would like to put a general disclaimer on this post that you should apologize when one is warranted. If you hurt someone, do something wrong, seriously mess up, an apology should occur. However, I think because some people feel like we’re supposed to apologize, or we apologize out of habit, true apologies are ruined. It’s like ‘boy who cried wolf,’ but we’re crying remorse when we actually feel nothing.

Anyway, due to societal norms, women, especially, often feel we should apologize for being who we are. We feel like we should apologize for coming on too strong or questioning someone else. We should apologize when we like something that is deemed “uncool” by the powers that be. We should apologize for saying, “I don’t like that current trend,” or “I think that’s wrong.” We lead with “sorry, but…” because the thought of offending someone is too much to bear. However, when sorry is used with the same frequency as “hi,” the ‘sorrys’ become less and less meaningful. R.M. Drake once said, “maybe one day we’ll finally learn to love ourselves and stop apologizing for the things that make us who we are.” I think sometimes “sorry” becomes a filler. We bump into someone in the coffee shop, we say “sorry” instead of “oh, excuse me.” It’s not necessarily our fault we bumped into someone, but here we are apologizing as if we were at fault. I’ve had someone hit me in the face accidentally, and I said, “Oh, sorry…” as if apologizing for being hit in the face. Talk about ridiculous.

With so many pressures that our society breeds, it’s only natural that we feel the need to apologize for our actions that others deem wrong. Maybe our actions are wrong, and in those moments we should be held accountable and apologize. However, there are too many times to count when we feel pressure to apologize, even when we’re not. Even now, with Harvey Weinstein’s career blowing up because brave women are shining a light on his abhorrent behavior, apologies seem insincere. We have Weinstein saying he’s “sick” and will “be better” one day. I’m not contesting that he’s sick, but I am contesting that he’s sorry because of the trauma and pain he’s caused to women. I feel he’s sorry because his career, marriage, etc. are dying a little more each day. If women hadn’t spoken out, his disgusting behavior likely would have continued because he wouldn’t feel the pressure to apologize. He should apologize, but he should mean the apology. On the same vein, Ben Affleck received a ton of flack for, finally, speaking out against Weinstein when Affleck himself had sexually assaulted celebrities and has yet to speak against his brother, who multiple women have claimed sexually harassed and assaulted them. The frequency with which we see pressured apologies makes us feel like “sorry” is the answer. If we say, “sorry,” and move on, all is right in the world. This is likely because it’s worked for many public figures who, after an apology, fade from the headlines and move on with their lives as quickly as the story broke.

I understand that apologizing for sexual assault and apologizing for bumping into someone at a coffee shop are not on equal footing, but I do think a quick, yet thought-out (mostly toward personal branding) apology from powerful individuals who are facing really big issues gives us a green light to be even more careless with our apologies in everyday life. We apologize with such frequency that we don’t realize, often, what we’re even apologizing for in the first place. When someone said, “that was rude,” and we respond, “sorry,” then move on it doesn’t solve anything. I think we should stop apologizing in some instances because the situation (a) doesn’t warrant an apology and (b) if we’re apologizing just to go through the motions of doing so, we shouldn’t apologize until we can mean it. If we can never mean it, maybe an apology shouldn’t come. In the case of Weinstein and Affleck, an apology is most certainly warranted, but not until both men understand what they’ve done, understand the pain they’ve caused, and are apologizing not because they feel they should, but because they are actually sorry for the pained they’ve caused.

In our everyday lives, we shouldn’t be apologizing for the things that make us…us. We shouldn’t apologize for liking a certain band or wearing a certain outfit or being a certain way. If we find ourselves apologizing all the time, perhaps we haven’t found our niche. I find myself constantly apologizing for being so sarcastic because some people think poking fun at myself and others is “rude”. However, I’ve also learned that I surround myself with people who appreciate sarcasm or are also sarcasm. I don’t need to apologize to those people because they understand this quirk that is part of my personality. If I joke with someone and they are offended, I do apologize because I didn’t mean anything malicious or mean-spirited by my joke. But I also make a mental note that the person and I may not be the best of friends. 82f5dedf4a0734148ba1b3075bed4474.jpg

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What’re your views on apologizing?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Revisiting Law School Admissions: What You Should Know, How to Approach Applications, and How to Decide Where to Attend

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Hello, World.

Now that we’re into October, I thought this would a good time to discuss law school admissions again. I’ve discussed the various aspects of law school admissions before, but I always think it’s a good idea to revisit topics, rather than just refer you back to my old tips. Given that I’m currently in my second year of law school, I also feel I have a different perspective on law school admissions. There are questions that I didn’t ask that I now wish I would have. There are factors I didn’t consider that I wish I did. You get the idea. So, today I wanted to share with you my thoughts on law school admissions now that I’m two cycles removed from the process.

When I was applying to law school, I was so sure that law school was the logical next step for me. I went through the process thinking I was on top of it, asking all the right questions and doing all the right things. However, hindsight is 20/20 and I know now there were things I would have done differently given what I know now.

In terms of what you should know about applications, I say this: I’m becoming more and more convinced admissions at any level is random. While schools say they have an objective method of choosing students, some admissions officers may see something in an application that others wouldn’t. I was watching some YouTube videos the other day when I was bored and had been in the black hole that is YouTube browsing far too long. The videos were current high school seniors or college freshman talking about their experiences with admissions. After the fourth video of someone being denied from top universities — Yale, Harvard, etc. and then getting into Stanford and Columbia, or being rejected from Harvard but admitted at Yale and waitlisted at Princeton– I decided admissions is random. There’s no “hard science” as to why students do or don’t get into a school. I also watched a video from a former Stanford admissions officer, and the process of how they look at applicants is intense. While this is all for undergrad, I will say I believe the methods carry over to graduate level admissions as well, but I do recognize that the applicants may be more diverse (people who took a gap year, people who have legal experience or have none, etc.). So, apply where you want to apply, but know that if you don’t get into a school, it is nothing personal. You will get into a great school and you will be happy.

To continue on to how to approach applications, I say this: you have been creating your application by making the choices you made in college and beyond. Your application consists of the following: general information, personal statement, LSAT score, letters of recommendation. The general information is easiest, obviously, because it’s simple data: name, address, sex, family information, etc.

The personal statement is trickier. I read book after book of “successful” personal statements. I wanted to get an idea of what makes an application stand out in this realm. However, the most important thing is that the statement is well-written. The admissions committee wants to know you can write concisely, coherently, and effectively. You should pick a topic that explains who you are as a person and why choosing law is logical and a clear choice for you. You don’t necessarily have to explain why the law is the right fit, but I do recommend folding it in somehow – even if it’s subtle. I also recommend bringing out character traits you possess that will 1) contribute something unique to the class and 2) make you a successful lawyer. Law schools want people who will make strong alumni, so they want to be confident you will succeed in law school.

In terms of LSAT scores, they’re important. Depending on where you’re applying, they may be more or less important. I say choose your reach school and aim for their median score. It’s always better to aim higher than lower. However, know that you can get into a school with a lower-than-their-average score. You can also not get into a school that you have a higher-than-their-average score. So, just know that you want to get a competitive score, but know that the score will not make or break your score. I recommend taking a prep course that is in-person. I also recommend studying more than you think you need to. Take as many practice exams as possible, and take them in exam-like conditions (timed, quiet room, etc.).

Finally, the letters of recommendation are important. Honestly, what people who have had the chance to teach your or work with you have to say is informative and important for admissions officers. I had three letters of recommendation for each application and I know that the people I chose wrote strong letters. It’s important to think about who you want to write your letters and what they will say. I, like most, recommend asking professors, supervisors, etc. At the end of the day, letters of recommendation may sway admissions officers one way or the other. Sure, you have great numbers and credentials, but maybe the letter is generic and could easily be about any student. However, there is a student with similar numbers and credentials as you, but who has personalized, amazing recommendations form important figures on her campus. That student, if I had to guess, is more likely to stand out in a pile of applications.

So, once your applications are in and you get your decisions back, it’s time to consider where you want to attend. I decided fairly early where I wanted to go. There was one school that may have changed my mind, but as luck would have it, I was waitlisted there. When deciding where to attend, I recommend choosing a school that has great, welcoming faculty. This, on the surface, may seem to be offered everywhere. However, attend admitted students days, go to presentations, do research to see how many lawyers teach courses in the areas of law in which you’re interested. You should also consider the courses available – is there a lot in your area? Another important note: look at clinics available and see if there is one that you want to do. I didn’t look very in-depth at clinics, and now I kind of wish I would have. You should also consider how many externship opportunities are available. Externships are a great way to get experience on your resume during the school year while earning class credit.

Another important consideration is the student body. You’re going to be spending three hyper-intense, stressful years with people and you want to be sure that you’ll enjoy the company of your peers. Talk to current students, talk to students who plan to attend with you, and talk to alumni from your undergrad who now attend the school. If you’re out of state, ask people who moved from your state to that school how they like it and if they’d recommend it.

I think there are four questions I would have asked that I didn’t in terms of career services.

  1. How many people did you place in x state at a firm job?
  2. How many people spent their summers in x state at a firm?
  3. Of the student who summered at firms their second summer, how many were outside the top 20%?
  4. What resources do you have on-campus for people conducting an out-of-state job search?

There is a surprising amount of confusion when it comes to searching for jobs. While jobs may seem super far away during the application stage, it’s something important to consider because the point of going to law school is to get the job you want when you’re done… and a large percentage of people get their post-grad offers at the end of their second summer. So, jobs are important and you want to make sure that you’re applying and getting into schools that have the resources to make getting your dream job early easier!

While there is a lot more I could say, I recommend doing thorough research and figuring out where to attend based on your gut. I know it sounds cheesy, but sometimes the right decision comes down to a feeling. You feel it’s right and you go with it. I should say: if you get to school and feel you made a mistake, transfer after your first year. You should weight whether transferring is right or not… but if you decide to transfer, do so after your first year. If you transfer any later your degree is from your original school and you get a certificate from the second institution! A few transferred from my law school, and I think sometimes there is a stigma that transferring is bad. However, I think it’s worse to stay somewhere that isn’t the right fit.

What is the worst part of applying to law school?

Truly,
Callie leigh

My Favorite Fall Candles

Hello, World!

My favorite part of fall is finding the best candles. There are so many great scents that sometimes it’s hard to choose! I usually go into Bath & Body Works because they always have great deals on candles, and year after year I find a few scents I love. Last year I got salted caramel, which was to die for, and caramel woods, which was smoky, but caramel-y and sweet.

This year, Bath & Body Works had all their candles marked down from $24.00 to $12.50, then a few weeks later they had a deal where you bought one and got one free, which was great. My favorite scents this fall are…

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Bourbon Maple is delicious. I like candles that you smell and immediately think, “yes, that’s the smell of x season.” This candle is woodsy, warm, and sweet all at the same time! I prefer deeper, woodsy scents, so I was happy to find this one. 367A8131-601A-466B-92BC-E44DC92332B1.jpg

To be honest, Leaves is my absolute favorite. It’s the candle I get every year because, to me, it perfectly captures the smell of fall. I usually burn Leaves until winter, then I switch to ‘Tis the Season, which is more apple and Christmas scented. unnamed.jpg

This is a subtle candle but smells amazing. I think anything with ‘donut’ in the title would have to be subtle because it could become overpowering quickly! Excuse my chipped nails… law school doesn’t leave much time for primping.

What are your favorite fall scents?

Truly,
Callie leigh