Gearing up for 3L

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Hello, World.

I start my 3L year of law school tomorrow. As I type that, it feels so weird because I feel like I just started school. Still, at the same time, I also feel like I’ve been in law school for much longer than 2 years. Law schools been a myriad of emotions and experiences, and while I remember many things fondly, I’m excited to enter the final stretch.

I have a few personal goals for my final year of law school, and I wanted to share them here because I’ve shared most of my law school journey and I think it’s only fair to share the final year. As you may have gathered if you’ve followed a long for a while, law school hasn’t been an easy journey for me. Through most of it I’ve suffered from self-doubt and insecurity. However, for the first time in two years, I felt really hopeful and excited about the coming year. I think that may be attributed to changes in my personal life as well as knowing this is the last year. Sometimes it’s easier to enjoy something when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. So, going into this year, I’m going to accept nothing but positivity, light, happiness, and confidence. When I start to doubt myself, I’m going to do my best to rely on faith that things will work out how they’re supposed to and I’m doing my best, which is absolutely enough.

Goals for 3L:

  1. Keep reading for pleasure. I read so much this summer, and I remembered how much reading for fun fulfills me. It may sound lame, but I feel happier and excited when I read novels. I want to incorporate more novels into my everyday routine again.
  2. Do my best and don’t beat myself up. This may seem straightforward but I think it’s easier said than done. In the past, every time I was proud of something, that feeling was quickly masked by being disappointed about something else. This year, I’m celebrating the positives and letting the negatives go.
  3. Maintain a consistent workout schedule. I fell absolutely in love with Soul Cycle during my time in D.C. and I’m so sad there isn’t one where I go to school. I want to try to keep spinning and working out this year.
  4. Have fun. Law school can be so stressful and it can be kind of anti-fun. In the past, I minimized by “fun” activities for a variety of reasons, most of which I won’t discuss on the blog. This year, however, I want to have more fun and just enjoy my last year of school.

I hope your year is off to a great start if you’re starting school! If you’re working, I hope work is going well for you.

Truly,

Callie leigh

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Law Journals: Are They Worth It?

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Hello, World.

When I was looking at law schools, I was a bit uninformed about what made a law good. Naturally, I knew a higher ranked law school made getting a job easier and that some schools’ names were enough. However, looking back I think I was naive and didn’t do my research on what made a law school strong. One thing people kept telling to look for was what clinics and journals the school had. To be frank, I didn’t really know or care to find out what this meant. Today, however, I understand why this was such good advice and could kick myself for not heeding it two years ago.

If you’re like me, you may be asking yourself… what is a law journal? In my own words, a law journal is a collection of scholarly legal writing, typically tailored to a specific area of the law (specialty journals) or a general publication that the law school publishes (law reviews). Most journals are student-run, meaning the students choose articles for publication and they are in charge of the entire editing process. According to Duhaime’s Law Dictionary, a law journal is ” A scholarly or academic publication presenting commentary of emerging or topical developments in the law, and often specializing in a particular area of the law or specific to a jurisdiction.” For the purposes of full disclosure, most people participate in a journal because it’s a serious resume enhancer. At my school, students participating in journal must complete cite checks (checking the sources and format of citations in the articles published) and write a note (an article on a legal topic of the student’s choosing).

So, how does a student get involved in a journal? I cannot speak for all schools, but from what I’ve heard from other students, the process is similar to my law school. Following finals, students must pick up an entry packet. The packet includes roughly 600 pages of material on a given legal issue and five footnotes to edit for correct Bluebook formatting (the Bluebook is the uniform citation system for legal writing). We then rank our school’s journals in order of which journal we would like to join. For example, I ranked Business Law Review second, behind Law Review. Most people want to be onLaw Review because it’s usually the “best” publication and it gives more leeway for note topic selection because it covers all legal topics. All journals are usually a great experience, but often the question is whether to do one. Even more specifically, students often debate whether to participate in journal during their 3L year by joining the editorial board.

When I was working during the school year, my boss repeatedly told people not to do editorial board, as most people were miserable when they did it. I also have some friends who didn’t compete to join a journal at all. If you’re wondering if journal is worth all the hassle and commitment, I’m here to say that I think it is. Sure, some journals have more intense publication schedules and more issues per year (which translates to more work), but journal was the first thing I participated in during law school that made me happy and made me feel like I really belonged. I loved my journal experience. I thoroughly enjoyed writing my note and cite checks didn’t bother me so long as I planned for them. I have friends who didn’t really enjoy the experience and are glad to be done with it, and that’s a common experience. I have friends who were indifferent and are now finished and moving on, and that’s also a common experience. I think I’m an outlier in my love for my journal and the experience I’ve had. Still, I think 90% of journal is what you choose to make it. If you go into journal thinking it’s terrible, it probably will be. If you didn’t like journal and then join the editorial board, you may feel like it’s a constant nuisance and burden. However, if you pick a note topic you love, manage your time effectively by planning ahead for cite check periods, and choose wisely as to whether to join the editorial board, I think journal is definitely worth doing while in law school!

Truly,
Callie leigh

2L Wrap Up: Reflections on My Second Year of Law School

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Hello, World.

Today, I’d like to reflect on my 2L year of law school. For those unfamiliar with law school, we refer to the year we are in as #L (1L – first year; 2L – second year; 3L – third year). As many of my longtime readers know, 1L wasn’t the best year for me. The first semester was rough but I seemed to get the hang of things by the end of the year. I entered 2L hopeful and excited. Coming back to school after my summer job, which I loved, I felt invigorated and with more purpose than the naive version of myself who entered law school the previous year. I took mostly business classes in the fall and found myself loving them more than I ever expected. For the first time, law felt clear and understandable and more black and white than super ambiguous.

Were there struggles? Obviously. In the fall, I received the lowest grade in the history of my academic career. I was a bit shell-shocked and cried into my Christmas cookie as my dad told me that he knew I was disappointed, but he was proud of me. In my other fall semester classes, however, I did well and I discovered a love for business law I didn’t know existed. I also worked on my Student Note for Business Law Review, a journal at my school that I work on. Then spring came, and I did an externship at a local law firm. I really enjoyed the experience and got to know the classmates I worked with better, which made me feel more connected to my law school. I left my 1L summer adamant that I would return to California for 2L summer and that I certainly made a mistake by going to school on the east coast. However, I was pretty keen on developing more of a sense of belonging in law school, which was a feeling largely absent from my first year and a half.

So, I decided to go for the Editorial Board for Business Law Review and was named the Senior Notes Editor of my journal. This means that during my 3L year I will oversee the Note-writing process for 2L members and I will work with the notes editors to ensure their writers are meeting the requirements for note writing. Securing a place on the editorial board was so exciting, and made me feel a bit like myself again. I was so involved in college that not having any leadership in law school felt weird and a bit foreign. As a final comment about my journal experience during 2L, my note was selected as an alternate for publication with our journal. I was humbled by this because, though my note wasn’t chosen for publication, I honestly never expected anything from my note. I decided to write about blogging and copyright law because it was a topic I loved. I do not say this to brag about myself, but rather that it’s extremely important to be true to yourself and write about things that are important to you. In law school, we often hear of people picking note topics they think will get them published and how they have miserable writing experiences because of that decision. Do not let others inform what is important. If you are passionate about a legal issue, write about it, shed light on it, and see what happens.

Spring semester was hard. I will say it was the hardest semester of law school thus far. Yes, even harder than 1L fall. I took classes I knew had extremely tight curves, and I put a lot of pressure on myself, to the point where I think it affected my overall performance. Further, while most of my friends had jobs, I was still struggling to find something. You can read about my job search HERE. When grades came, I was disappointed in most of them. I did my very best, but it still didn’t feel like enough. So, though 2L felt worlds better than 1L overall, it ended on a slightly sour note, which was unfortunate. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed myself during 2L, and felt much more content with my experience and with my location than I ever had. Finally, I am currently working in DC for the summer, and I have to say, I’m really enjoying it. I always feel that things work out how they’re supposed to. In fact, I likely sound like a broken record with that sentiment, but I feel it so deeply. There have been times where I say, “I still believe that, but I just do not understand the reason right now,” as tears create blackened, mascara infused streaks down my cheeks. And yet, someday, often in the near future after such an outburst, I realize, “ah… I get it now.” While crying over grades may seem trivial, immature, and melodramatic, I will say that for me, grades have always been something I can do and when I feel disappointed, all the pressure I’ve put on myself releases like a river, and the weight of that can be crushing. Also, I know that sometimes the tears come because of grades, but the root of them is bigger. Law school breeds self-doubt in ways I never expected, and I am not good at feeling uneasy or unsure or like no matter what I do it isn’t enough. However, I will not let grades define me and I will be a successful attorney in the future because I want it, and the only thing stopping me is myself.

To conclude, I will say 2L, in my opinion, is better than 1L and at the end of the day, you can do whatever you want to do. Also, once you get your first job, the grades you shed tears over will be nothing but ink on a page.

Truly,
Callie leigh

Overcoming Self Doubt

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Hello, World.

For the past year and a half, I have been pretty transparent about my battle with self-doubt and confusion about whether I’m where I should be and doing what I should be doing. For most of my life, I’ve been known as confident, firm in my convictions, and moving toward a specific goal. While the goal sometimes changes, I remain steadfast in my pursuit of it. However, leaving California and moving to a new state, struggling to find friends, and having some other personal issues at play, I’ve never felt more displaced. At the end of this post, I will link to posts that I think expand on the feelings I’ve had, which I encourage you to read if you haven’t already. Anyway, I think a large part of my self-doubt is rooted in the feeling of displacement that was so present during my first year of law school. I never felt smart enough to be here, I consistently felt like my tribe was nowhere to be found (and sobbed just thinking about my college friends), and I generally felt like I made some massive mistake. However, I took specific steps to overcome self-doubt and they really improved my confidence and I slowly felt the feelings of self-doubt being replaced with feelings of confidence or at least contentedness.

First, I was selective about where I invested my time. I was so involved in college, but in law school I decided to be more selective and focus heavily on my classes, adding things to my schedule only when I was really passionate about them. The selectiveness made me feel in control – a feeling I was missing.

Second, if I felt like someone was taking away from my happiness, I minimized interactions with them. I recently visited my college with one of my law school friends and when relaying the details of our visit to my family she said, “those are Callie’s people.” I laughed, knowing it was completely true. When I first got to law school, I wasn’t finding my people. People I was spending time with operated very differently than I did and I felt so drained after spending time with them. That may seem harsh, but in all honesty, they’re fine people, just not my people. So, I asked people I did enjoy spending time with to go for coffee and made a more pointed effort to see them more.

Third, fake it ’til you make it with daily reminders. Something people may not know is, when I was really struggling, I started meditating and I would meditate on confidence or self-doubt. I would try to meditate and clear my head, reminding myself that I am good enough, that I got into this law school for a reason, and that just being me was enough. Small reminders and pointed thinking helped me tremendously.

Fourth, take time to do the things you know you enjoy and are good at doing. Do you enjoy running? Are you good at playing the guitar? Do you enjoy coffee? Do you enjoy reading a book before bed? When you’re feeling displaced or confused or overwhelmed with doubt, ground yourself in the things that make you, you. I started reading before bed, and it’s changed my life. I feel so much happier going to bed and I sleep better, which makes my day better. I listen to music and stretch. I go for walks around my town, getting sunshine and fresh air, and I feel so much better afterward. When you’re struggling, I think it’s helpful to return to your passions and the things you know you’re good at in order to feel like a more confident you. I left college feeling so capable, sure, and motivated. That all faded at an alarming pace and returning to small things that I loved (e.g., reading novels before bed) made all the difference.

Fifth, when small changes won’t do, make big changes. Sometimes what is making your unhappy or unsure about yourself is more rooted in your daily life. This was true for me. I felt like when you’re trying to high five a person and you just keeping missing hands, unable to meet the other person where they are or maybe they’re unable to meet you where you are and you just do not mesh. If this is the case, make a major change. Figure out what is best for you, and take the plunge. While it can be scary and may cause drama, know that making the decision is a heightened version of self-care that we could all use more of in this life.

Sixth, establish a support system. Reach out to mentors, talk to your family, express your feelings to your friends (your real friends, not acquaintances or selfish people). I feel like a bit of a broken record when I talk about support systems, but if the last year has taught me anything, it’s that support systems are invaluable and you want to make sure you have a support system that will last a while. There’s nothing sadder, in my opinion, of seeing people throw away people who care in favor of people who care right now.

Posts you might like if you enjoyed this post:

Read this when … you’re scared to take the risk

When You Can’t Find Your Place, Create It 

Read this when … someone massively disappoints you

1L In Review

Truly,

Callie leigh

 

Thoughts on the Summer Internship Search in Law School

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Hello, World.

I want to preface this post by saying I wasn’t planning on offering advice on the summer internship search that law students go through as 1Ls and 2Ls. However, I did a content survey at the beginning of the year, and one of the questions I received was “what tips do you have for the job search in law school?” I ignored the question at first because I was so frustrated with my own search. However, I like to believe my blog adds some clarity and comfort to my readers’ lives. So, I decided to share my experience with both the 1L and 2L summer job search, some observations I made during and after the search, and provide a general overview of my understanding of how the job search goes in law school. Finally, I will not be addressing post-graduate searches, as I have not started mine and can’t speak with any authority on it.

My 1L summer job search was fairly easy. I started applying for jobs January 1st and I got an interview in early February and an offer a week after my interview. So, my mid-February I had a job doing legal aid work in my hometown. I found job postings through Indeed, Glassdoor, and my law school’s job website, Simplicity. I applied for a number of in-house positions and government/non-profit jobs. The job I took was definitely the right fit and an incredible experience. In general, 1Ls rarely find paid summer positions. I had a friend who worked at a firm, and I believe she was paid, but that was only one person in my class that I know of who had a firm job after 1L. A lot of other people went to work in-house, for a judge, for a non-profit, or for the government. Any job you take 1L should give you (1) transferable skills (2) research experience and (3) familiarity with practicing law. During my summer, I handled a number of cases and did a ton of hands-on work, which made me more confident, a better problem solver, and gave me a better understanding of how legal issues play out in real time. I think of the two summers you have in law school, 1L summer is less important, but it’s important to use the summer to gain experience that will make your 2L summer job search easier.

The 2L summer job search was terrible. By terrible I mean it was hard, long, and at times, deeply frustrating. I started my search in June 2017 and started applying for internships in July. I was working on cover letters almost daily for months. I had a spreadsheet of the places I applied, which was color-coded (red lines meant rejection, blue lines meant I was being considered, and yellow lines meant I was offered a position). I had roughly 90 or so job applications in the spreadsheet at the end of my search and one yellow line. I started my job search with the intention of going back to California. So, for the first stretch of my search, I applied exclusively to California. Then, around December, I opened up to Seattle, Portland, and New York. I also applied to a firm in South Carolina and a few other random states. It’s also important to note I primarily applied to firms until January 2018.  I did networking, calling alumni of both my law school and college, and attempted to make contacts with people who worked at the places I applied.

My inbox sounded like crickets. Rather than a satisfying “ping,” I heard deafening silence. My stomach lurched anytime an email came through and I began to resent any email that came through that wasn’t related to a job. Nothing came, not even rejections. Most firms just didn’t even respond to my application. Some did, but only to tell me that “while impressed with my qualifications, they would not be moving forward with my candidacy.” I was so frustrated. Here is a good time to note something about the law school job search I didn’t know until I was in the middle of it: on-campus interviews, which usually take place in August, are the single most important recruitment tool firms use to hire summer associates. So, if you’re in law school listen up: SIGN UP FOR ON-CAMPUS INTERVIEWS. My issue was most on-campus interviews were for firms on the east coast, so I didn’t participate. I do not regret that decision, as I am very excited for my upcoming internship, but if a firm is what you want, sign up!

The disappointment, annoyance, and frustration ate at me for months. Finally, one Friday afternoon in February, sitting in Starbucks, on the verge of stress-crying, I applied to a few jobs in Washington D.C. through my law school’s job-posting website. I heard back two days later from one of the jobs and was offered the first interview of my search. There was hope. Then, a few days later I got an interview for the second job I applied to. On the day of my first interview, I was offered an interview with a government agency’s San Francisco office (a job I applied to in October). I did two interviews and got an offer from the first job a bit later. Then I did my third interview with the second Washington D.C. place. Leaving the interviews, I knew in my gut which job was the right choice, so I accepted the position and withdrew my application at the second place. The San Francisco job wasn’t offered to me, which was okay because in my mind I knew the D.C. job was a better fit.

All of this is to say the job search can be super easy for some people. My friend who worked at the firm after her 1L year? She’s going back this summer, which she knew in August. My other friends got firms jobs also in August or September. By February, I was just so defeated. Right when I felt the search was futile, however, something came through. So, I want to summarize my observations and what tips I would have wanted to hear when I started my job search (including tips I did, in fact, receive but ignored).

First, do not let geography govern your search. I think if you’re going to a school where you want to practice, you can absolutely apply to the areas around your school and be fine. However, if you’re going to school in a location that you do not ultimately want to practice, you should acknowledge you may have to begin your practice elsewhere. It is important to recognize that you cannot control the job market, and sometimes you go to the job (it does not come to you).

Second, take advantage of your law school’s career services office. I communicate regularly with my advisor and she is a great help. She has great advice and even called me over spring break to help me reason through what to do about a few issues I had during the job search. I will also say most of my friends got jobs that they applied for through our school. Yes, one person I know got his job because he happened to meet a partner at a big firm at a baseball game and they hit it off. Yes, some people applied directly to the job. Yes, some people knew someone who pulled a lot of weight and got the job as a result. However, the people I just listed are outliers from my experience. A LOT of people get jobs by using the career services at their law school.

Third, network, network, network. In real estate, people say prices are governed by location, location, location. In law school job searches (and any job search for that matter), ability to get your dream job is governed by who you know. So, be sure you know someone. If you’re applying for a firm, search their attorney list to see if there is ANY commonality between you and an attorney. Do they practice an area of law you’re interested in? Did they attend the same college/law school? Are they also interested in running? Find something you can latch onto, and introduce yourself. Networking and information interviewing will get your much farther than simply applying blindly to places.

Fourth, and finally, choose an opportunity that will add something to your resume. So, it’s April and your dream job still isn’t yours. You want to get there eventually, but accept that this is the time to just take whatever opportunity you can. If you’re choosing between going backward [to an old job, to doing nothing, to doing something non-legal] and choosing something that sounds like something you’d rather have nothing to do with but will offer new skills, a learning experience, or will allow you to make contacts that will help you get the job you want.

I hope this sheds light on the process for summer internship hunting. This post is largely based on my experience, but I did try to acknowledge that not everyone has the same experience and that sometimes things work differently for different people. So, try to keep some perspective during the job search, don’t get down on yourself, and remember something will work out.

Truly,

Callie leigh

Stylish Academic’s Guide to Prepping for Finals Early

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Hello, World.

Even though it’s only September, the months in a given semester go quickly, so I wanted to offer my advice regarding how to prep for finals early. This is sort of an extension of my post about steps to better grades. In law school, your final grade is solely based on your final exam. So, it’s wise to begin prepping for final exams early. However, if you just start studying for finals, you’ll likely burn out and lose momentum when you should be kicking into high gear (aka mid-November). So, I’m sharing my top three tips that can accompany my three tips to better grades.

  1. Talk about the material with friends and family. Discussing material aloud with other people will allow you to gauge how well you know the material. I had a criminal law TA who said, “I taught the course to my wife. Teaching it to someone who had minimal understanding allowed me to understand the material, find the areas that I didn’t get as well, and solidified my ability to discuss it, which helped the essay portion of the exam.” This advice was some of the best that I received my first year of law school. My sweet mother talked to me for five hours on the phone as I walked through my torts outline. This process was long and tedious, but I knew which areas I needed help with before the exam. Discussing the material with others throughout the semester will kick-start finals review.
  2. Take “reading notes” and “class notes.” Some people do this, but some people only really take reading notes or rely primarily on class notes. Personally, I find having reading notes that I take based on what I think is important from the reading and separate class notes based on what the professor thinks is important allows me to see where I’m missing points or if I’m pulling out the right highlights of the reading. If I’m not, there’s a chance I will miss points on the exam because my professor and I aren’t considering the same facts important. Ninety percent of a law school exam is issue spotting (they make you think it’s analysis. Let me just say: if you don’t spot the issue, you cannot do the analysis). Recognizing how your professor reads or addresses legal issues is key to getting a high grade on the exam.
  3. Outline beginning at the end of October. You’ll hear a lot of different things in terms of outlining. You may even wonder, “what the hell is an outline?” An outline is just what it sounds like — an outline of the course. You go through major concepts, tests, etc. and outline the course as it is taught to you. I prefer outlining later rather than earlier. Some people disagree, which is fine, but I find that whatever I outline last is what I remember most. If you begin too early, it’s not as fresh because you probably won’t look at the beginning of your outline until a week or so before the exam. Outlining later forces you to review early concepts and understand how and where they fit in the whole course (spoiler alert: sometimes outlines are best ordered different than how you learn the material).

How do you prep for class or finals?

Truly,

Callie leigh

3 Steps to Improved Grades

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Hello, World.

As the school year is now in full swing, and our social media feeds become riddled with fall-inspired photos, I figured this is an appropriate time to talk about grades. For those of you just starting your academic program, you may be thinking, “but it’s still so early.” Well, it’s honestly never too early to think about grades. I’m sharing my top 3 steps that will lead to better grades, whether in college or law school or some other academic career. The steps worked for me and I believe they will work for you as well if you follow them! To give you my perspective, I did very well throughout college. I did not do as well as I wanted my first semester of law school. So, I implemented the three steps I’m about to share, and my grades improved drastically.

Step One: Do Not Study with People Who Make You Feel Dumb8d1f223a-7dd3-43c3-8556-2f25086c3fe6_text_hi.gif

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This may seem straight forward, but I think a lot of people encourage study groups and as a result, people feel pressured to study with people. Most people don’t really care who they’re studying with, they just want to be in a study group. While it is completely okay to study in groups, who are in your study group is actually what is most important.  My first semester, I studied with people who made me feel inferior or as if I was really dumb for not getting a certain concept. Let’s just say by the second semester, I’d said my goodbyes to them and no longer studied with them. My confidence increased immensely.

Step Two: Review at the End of Each Week 

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In college, you get a lot of review days as you learn and it’s a lot easier to cram. However, to truly perform well on a final, it’s good to take time to review throughout the semester. Additionally, some professors move very quickly and if you don’t understand a foundational concept, you’ll be lost later. Even if you feel like everything is cake, review!!! I spent my Friday afternoons my second semester of law 1L reviewing, typing up my handwritten notes, and re-reading areas that I thought I understood while reading but was confused by in class discussion. This small change greatly helped me understand how each concept fit together by the end of the semester.

Step Three: Find a Non-Academic Hobby and Take Time to Indulge Each Week

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This may seem like the last thing that will lead to better grades, I know. Here’s the thing, though: burn out is very very real. There’s a reason senioritis exists and there’s a reason people who do very well one semester fall by the second. It’s hard to sustain a state of constant work and learning without becoming overwhelmed. The spring semester of 1L I started working out regularly and it transformed my mental state. I had greater focus, more energy, and more motivation. While your hobby doesn’t have to be working out, find something that allows you to take mental breaks and focus on something other than academics.

Do you have your own tried and true tips for improving grades?

Truly,

Callie leigh

 

Stylish Academic’s Guide to Studying in a Coffee Shop

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Hello, World.

When I was in college, I got into the habit of studying at coffee shops. I’m not a library person, really, because I think it’s too quiet and usually too cold. In coffee shops, there’s just the right amount of background noise and I am my most productive when studying at a coffee shop. I have a full routine – get a chai latte, a muffin, unpack my bag, set up my laptop, go over my planner, and work. However, studying at coffee shops can be an art form. There are a lot of things that can reduce productivity at a coffee shop. I’ve heard a few people say they cannot study in coffee shops for various reasons, most a result of failing to properly prepare for serious “coffee shop study” (note: this definitely reminds me of the meme below, just swap “bedroom” for “coffee shop”).

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I want to share my top five tips for studying a coffee shop effectively. Though I now have a very productive rhythm at coffee shops, I used to definitely be the person who was going to “study” with friends, and we ended up just having coffee and talking with books open in front of us. So, if you like the idea of studying in a coffee shop, but haven’t necessarily found a good rhythm yet, this post is just for you!

Bring All Chargers | I have forgotten my laptop charger more times than I can count, which limits the time I can stay somewhere. If you know you need your computer a lot when you’re studying, be sure to bring a charger with you. Tangentially, when you arrive at the coffee shop, try to get a table near an outlet so you don’t have to move if you need to plug in your computer.

Bring a few snacks of your own | Everywhere I’ve studied has never had a problem if I pull out my own snacks, as long as I’ve purchased something at the coffee shop. Usually, if I arrive at breakfast or lunch time, I’ll get a meal and a chai. However, depending on how long I stay, sometimes I need a snack, so I bring my own. My favorite study snacks are veggie chips/straws.

Pack a Sweater | Regardless of the outside temp, I recommend bringing a sweater to a coffee shop. In the spring and summer months, and even early fall, the AC in coffee shops can be intense, so I usually get cold in a coffee shop when studying. I always try to take a sweatshirt or cardigan with me to ensure I don’t get so cold I end up wanting to leave before I’ve made a dent in my workload.

Sit at the Biggest Table that is Reasonable | While I don’t suggest hogging a four person table if the place if packed and people are waiting for tables, I do think you should get a slightly larger table so you can spread out your materials and have a comfortable study area.

Headphones may be necessary | Some coffee shops are very loud and some just play crappy music. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to pack a set of headphones, whether just earbuds or Beats. Having headphones can help tune out some of the noise. While you may be thinking, “if it’s too loud, just go to the library or somewhere quieter.” I’m kind of weird, and I like a fair amount of background noise, but if someone if having a super intense conversation right next to me, it can be distracting. The headphones help me tune out that noise while still giving me enough background noise.

I could go on, as always, but I think I covered my biggest tips/steps for productive study in a coffee shop. I prefer studying at coffee shops because libraries are too quiet for me, and I like to be able to refuel (aka drink chai or coffee by the gallon) and have the option to easily grab a snack if I need one. While coffee shop study trips aren’t for everyone, I do recommend testing it out and seeing if it works for you!

Truly,

Callie leigh

Planner Envy: The Best Planners for Back to School

Hello, World.

I have a bit of a planner obsession. While many people have turned to electronic forms of planners or calendars, I am still “old school” and prefer paper planners to electronic versions. Planners help me keep my life in order and I often tell people, “If it’s not in my planner, it won’t happen.” As a busy law student, I have a lot to keep track of (class readings, job applications deadlines, Business Law Review responsibilities, social engagements, my personal events, my blogging schedule, etc.), so I need to make sure everything gets written down or else it may be overlooked.

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Over the years, I’ve tried a few different planners and brands, and I’ve definitely loved some while I loathed others. The key to a great planner for me is enough space to write everything and having a month/daily view combo. I like seeing my month “at a glance,” but I also want the room to plan my days. In high school, I used a planner akin to the Day Designer, which I loved for that time in my life. In college, I lived and died by the Passion Planner. Honestly, I had so much going on in a single day that the Passion Llanner kept everything clear and easy to track.

In law school, I went from the Simplified Planner to a Lilly Pulitzer Planner to a Rifle Paper Co. planner. I settled on the Rifle Paper Co. planner as the best for law school because I decided to-do lists worked better for me in law school. I also liked the freedom of how I planned my day. I didn’t have to plan by the hour but it had more structure than just a bunch of lines. Though the Simplified Planner works GREAT for a lot of people, I didn’t like it because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I didn’t love that the hourly layout because I had a lot of classes that started at 11:15 then ended at 12:50 and I didn’t like that I couldn’t show that with precision in my planner. The Lilly Planners are great for many of my friends, but I just didn’t like the layout. I don’t totally know why, but it didn’t work for me. I liked the clean cream pages of the Rifle Paper Co. Planner and that I had little check boxes to check off items as I went through them.

However, depending on your needs and preferences, I think all four of the above planners are fantastic options for college or graduate school (and even your first job!).

Truly,
Callie leigh

P.S. This year, I will be using the Herb Garden Rifle Paper Co. planner!

Best Backpacks & Bags for School

Hello, World.

As back to school is in full swing, I wanted to share my favorite bags and backpacks for the school year. I used totes all through college but switched to a backpack for law school because the books were so heavy. However, at the end of the year, I got an LL Bean Medium tote and began using it as my book bag. I attribute my switch back to a tote bag to the fact I had bigger gaps between classes, so had an easier time switching out books. I personally prefer totes to backpacks, but backpacks are sometimes more practical and can be stylish as well.

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Madewell Leather Transport Tote | I used this bag in college and love it. I still have it with me in Virginia, but I don’t use it quite as much because sometimes it feels heavy if I need to carry a lot. You know how some bags you can fill to the brim, but it doesn’t feel super heavy? This isn’t one of them. However, this bag is durable and can hold quite a lot! I have the open top, but I recommend getting the zipped version if you worry about your bag tipping over and such.

Madewell Canvas Transport Tote | I haven’t personally used this bag, but I imagine it’s similar to the leather version. I love canvas for bags because it’s pliable and comfortable on the arm. I’m not sure how the canvas feels when it’s filled, but I love the green canvas enough to consider it!

LL Bean Boat & Tote | I recently got this bag. I’d been eyeing it for a few years and finally decided to bite the bullet. I am so happy I did! The bag is a great size, not too huge, but not too small. It fits a ton. I used it mostly during my finals study period, and I was always amazed how much I shoved in it… and it never felt heavy. Again, I have the open top, but I also think a zipped top is a great option for school! I’ve definitely had my bag spill over in the car, and it’s not ideal!

Longchamp Le Pliage Tote | Though I’ve been eyeing this bag for years as well, I haven’t purchased it yet. However, I know a ton of people who swear by this bag. My Co-Chair on Honor Council in college used the red version and thought it was the greatest thing ever! So while I can’t say it’s worked for me, I know enough people who love it to include it in this roundup.

Madeline & Company ‘Slim’ Backpack | I saw a post about Madeline & Company a few years ago when she first started and thought her backpacks were really awesome. The only thing I didn’t love was the shape! However, she recently released a slim version that I think would work super well for college or law school or another graduate level degree. I love the faux leather version and I really admire the creator!

Hershel’s Heritage Backpack | I saw this backpack all over my college campus! I also see it all over the undergrad campus at William and Mary. I’ve never personally used it, but I know it is a popular brand that is in constant demand. They have so many fun prints and colors!

North Face Women’s Recon Backpack | I use North Face for my backpacks ordinarily and I usually really like them. They always have tons of storage and room, which is great for busy college students running from class to meetings to outings with friends. As a graduate student, their backpacks are great for fitting a lot of books, research, and notes.

What’s your go to bag? What’s your favorite from the bags featured here?

Truly,
Callie leigh