Finding Time to Read for “Pleasure” as a Young Professional

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Hello, World.

As longtime readers know, I was an English major in college. During my senior year, I said to a friend, “being an English major has made me so tired of reading. I just need a break from reading critically all the time.” Looking back, that was a dumb thing to say. I may have felt stressed or tired, but I still kick myself for uttering “I just need a break from reading.” With the case law reading in law school, I often find myself yearning for a good novel. Time to read something creative, some fiction that makes me think about the world, and see into a person’s life, get comfortable with a character, and watch a story develop. I sometimes hear law students mention they begin or end their day with a novel, just to break up all the legal reading. By the end of the day, I often prefer TV to a novel. However, I recently started following some “bookstagram” accounts (book Instagram accounts), and I see so many books that have gotten rave reviews, and I find myself wishing I had more time to read.

I’ve heard a few bloggers say they now rely on audiobooks because it makes it easier to stay up on their “to be read” list, and they read actual novels on their commutes. My commute to law school is roughly five minutes (on a slow day). I go to the gym to relieve stress and take a mental break. I watch TV before bed. [Side note: there are some great shows out right now. I recommend Rise, For the People (wildly unrealistic, legally, but still entertaining), and The Good Fight.] Anyway, I recently watched the movie Call Me By Your Name, and the film left me wanting more of the story between the two main characters. I was thinking about the film nonstop for roughly twelve hours. So, I picked up the book (with a gift card! one of my 2018 goals is to not buy new books unless I use a gift card). Last night, I skipped TV and read the novel. It was like returning to your favorite vacation spot or an old friend. The prose enveloped me immediately and I felt so content. I usually only read on school breaks, but it felt so refreshing to just take an hour or two and read a novel. Something beautiful, creative, and foreign.

I think reading is food for our souls. Reading novels used to be my life. Literally… I read novels constantly for class. Now, I’m lucky if I read four books in the summer and three books over Christmas. I have no one to blame but myself for that because I’m in charge of my time. But still, I want to ensure that I am making time for the thing that’s been a constant in my life: novels. Reading was always my first love, and I’m hoping to make more of an effort to make time for it because I miss it. I know I’ve said in the past that I intend to read more, and I do read a fair amount, but I want to make sure that I read more in the future because I haven’t really been able to read for pleasure recently. I will say I was trying to get through Hillbilly Elegy, but I just couldn’t get into a nonfiction at the end of long days. So, I’m shelving it for now and hope to pick it back up after spring semester finals.

Ways to make more time for reading? Get up earlier, go to bed and forego TV and read a few pages, or read during your lunch break if time. Obviously sometimes life happens, but if we strategically choose reading over other things when we can, I think it’s easier to find time to read.

How do you find time to read for pleasure?

Truly,

Callie leigh

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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

Read this When… You’re Scared to Take the Risk

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Hello, World.

Life lately is so hectic and all over the place and full of surprises and time is passing quicker than I want. However, something heavy on my heart recently is the concept of risk. I suppose this is on my mind because I recently committed to working in Washington D.C. this summer, an idea that used to scare me. But, sometimes we just have to take a risk and dive in head first and see what happens. I will share more about my summer job situation in a separate post, but for now, I want to stay with the idea of risk-taking. In many ways, most major decisions I’ve made thus far in my life were risks. I recently spoke at my high school’s Career Day and today I mentioned that to one of my law school friends and she said, “it’s impressive really, that you come from a small town in California and now you live across the country and are going to law school.” I brushed the comment off and thanked her, but the concept stuck with me the rest of the day.

The truth is when I was in high school I wanted nothing more than to ditch my little town the first chance I got (i.e. College).  I was eager to escape the small town and go experience the world at college. It sounds naive and it probably was, but I wanted more. So, I chose to go away to college. Then, at the end of college, I wanted to get out of my home state and experience something new, and that seemed right because the law school I felt was the best fit was William and Mary (in Virginia, which is, quite literally, about as far as I could go while still in the U.S.). Then, in Virginia, I wanted to go back to California. So, I did for the summer following my first of law school. All of the decisions, at the time they were made, were risks. There was a chance I would fail, or end up hating my choice, or return home battered and beaten down by the world. But I didn’t. I questioned my decision to move so far from home at times, but with each passing month it gets easier and I get more confident that I’m exactly where I need to be.

When I spoke at my high school, I spoke with my former college counselor, and as I was heading out she said, “let me know what happens! You’ll make it work. You always seem to.” I laughed and said, “I guess so!” Frankly, I don’t think I make it work. For some reason, things just seem to work themselves out. When I want something really really badly, and I do not get it, it’s usually because something better is coming. So, I usually just take the plunge and trust my gut. The other day I told a friend that my gut told me the job that was going to work out was the one in D.C. (I was unsure if an opportunity in California would pan out). She looked me with a serious face and said, “If law school’s taught me one thing, it’s to trust your gut.” Well, about two hours later, I sent an email confirming I would be working in D.C. this summer. A wave of nervous, excited energy washed over me at that moment. I was taking yet another risk, and as of now I’m not sure whether it’ll work out, but here’s what I know: this summer I’m working in Washington D.C. (honestly that’s still odd to say, but I’m very excited).

When we think about taking risks, we obviously think about the possibility of failure. We also think about the possibility of success. Typically, we’re not sure how something is going to go and we just make a decision that we think is best and see how what comes. As someone who likes to analyze a situation before making a decision, risk-taking doesn’t always come easy. In fact, many people struggle to take the plunge. Sometimes, though, we become so caught up in the analysis we don’t do anything and then we’ve missed the chance and the risk is gone and we’ve gone the safe route by default. So, how do we prevent having choices made by our own mental paralysis when we’re scared to take the risk? We either don’t take the risk and accept whatever regret or double-guessing follows… OR we take the risk and figure the rest out later. There are so many times we can play it safe and go with the safe option, but sometimes in order to get where we want to be or become who we want to be, we have to take the risk.

Something that I wrestle with regularly is “what if I don’t do it, will I regret it? What if I do it, and x result doesn’t occur, and then I feel like I made a mistake?” Well, mistakes are part of life. So is failure. So is success. So is sadness. So is joy. Sometimes, in order to get what we want or find out what we don’t, we just have to risk it. I know that seems scary if you’re a planner like I am, but I will say the times I felt the most scared to do something, but did it anyway, are the times I felt the biggest reward. Things don’t always make sense right away, and you may feel like it was a massive mistake in the interim, but honestly, you’ll learn something from taking the risk. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll learn what you don’t want or that you shouldn’t repeat that decision in the future. If it works out, well, then you’ve created your own magic and you can bask in the success or joy or happiness, whatever it is!

Truly,
Callie leigh

Movies I Loved

Hello, World.

Today I am back with some movies I HIGHLY recommend. My roommate and I went a bit of a movie bender and watched so many movies over the last few weeks. I recently shared my thoughts on The Greatest Showman, Darkest Hour, and The Post. The next movies on our list were Lady Bird, I, Tonya, and Fifty Shades Freed. I’m not going to share an in-depth review of Fifty Shades Freed, but I will say if you saw the first two films, I recommend seeing the final. However, I personally liked the second movie best. Also, my roommate and I were reading excerpts of the books and were cracking up at how terribly written the books are. Still, It’s an entertaining film.

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A movie I do want to share a full review of, however, is Lady Bird. I absolutely adored this film and if I wasn’t watching with another person I probably would have been sobbing as the credits rolled. I cannot say enough about this film other than I recommend everyone see it. I think it perfectly captures the dichotomy between being a teenager and hating everything and being yourself and loving people without knowing how to show it. If I had a dime for every time my mom and I fought when I was in high school, followed closely by tears and comforting I could pay for my law school education. Being a parent is hard, but being a parent to a teenage girl has to be the worst job ever. Honestly, high school feels like eons ago and I can’t even really see the person I was anymore, but I do remember feeling like I just wanted to get away from my small town and arguing with my mom and crying in a car because some boy hurt me before jumping right back into a relationship with someone equally terrible for me.

I liked that Lady Bird was tough, smart, witty, but also frustrating and mean and imperfect at times. Hello, teenage life. As a northern California native, the setting of Sacramento also got me. This movie resonated with me because I know what it’s like to be an angsty teenage girl who desperately wants to escape her small town only to discover, some 3,000 miles away, that she really loves the small moments and the people who make it home. In short, this film was incredible and got me all kinds of emotional.

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I saw the trailer for I, Tonya months ago and I kept telling my roommate I really wanted to see it. I didn’t live through the scandal between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan (it happened the year I was born), but I was intrigued by how much attention it got and the narratives told. I thought a movie from Tonya’s perspective was bound to be interesting. What I loved about this film is that I walked away still not knowing who to believe or what to think. So many unreliable narrators and so many questions. I heard people criticize the movie for trying to make Tonya look like the victim. I disagree. I do not think there is a question who the ultimate victim is. However, I do think the movie tries to humanize Tonya and illuminate why she reacted the way she did to the attack. Further, Margot Robbie killed it. Honestly, her acting was incredible. Sebastian Stan (who will forever be the creepy, but also hot guy from Gossip Girl in my mind) also did an incredible job.

Ultimately, Tonya was a victim of terrible abuse from her mother and husband who wanted nothing more than to skate and be the best. It’s gutwrenching at the end to see her banned from skating for life at the age of 23 (my age!). Part of me wonders if the narrative would have been the same pre and post attack if this happened today. I don’t think it would be portrayed the same way, but its also hard to say because the media loves to pit women against each other (hello, Jennifer Anniston and Angelina Jolie… more than ten years later).

What movies have you seen lately that you recommend?

Truly,
Callie leigh

5 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care Effectively

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Hello, World.

Self-care is one of those things I had never heard of before college. Then I got to college and everyone was preaching self-care. Self-care can look different for different people, but I think self-care is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life. I feel like everything in my life improves when I take time for myself and do things that make me feel like my best self. So, today I’m sharing my top five tips for practicing self-care.

  1. Listen to yourself. Seems straightforward enough, right? Well, it’s not always easy to stop and just ask yourself, “what do I want?” and allow whatever comes to mind to control. I used to ignore what I wanted and put what everyone else wanted first. Now, I ask myself, “do you want to do x?” and if the answer is no, I don’t do it. Whether its a social gathering, the gym, a movie, a function, if it’s not what I want to do, I don’t do it. Now, obviously, we have to do things we don’t want to do occasionally. Still, if you can control something, and it’s not what you want, you have the power to say no.
  2. Make time for your hobby. Whether its yoga, the gym, hiking, reading for pleasure, getting coffee and reading The Post, find time for it. The best thing you can do for yourself is really stressful seasons of life is take time to enjoy something you love. For me, I take time to read from “for fun” novels or nonfiction. I miss reading novels and talking about books, so I try to bring a daily reading practice into my routine.
  3. Let go of failures. Did you get a low grade? Did you get turned down for that job? Did you get blown off for a networking call? All of that sucks and can easily cause all types of self-doubt and annoyances. However, a way to practice self-care is to let it go. Don’t let those things, that seem so major right now, define you. You can be successful, and you will be successful, but you have to let the things that don’t work out go.
  4. Quick Spa Night. When I’m feeling really stressed, I will put on a face mask, paint my nails, light some candles, and relax. It may seem too easy, but it can rejuvenate me and give me the extra motivation I need to check more items off my to-do list.
  5. Take a Walk. I go to school near Colonial Williamsburg, and when I’m really stressed or just need a break, I go for a walk around the area by myself. It’s great to get outside, get fresh air, gain some perspective, and just walk around. Taking a walk can give you distance from something that’s stressing you or will allow you to think clearly as you walk around. Taking walks is vastly underrated, in my opinion!

How do you practice self-care?

Truly,

Callie leigh

Body Positivity: Let Go of Food Guilt

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Hello, World.

You know a phrase I say that I hate? “If I eat x, I definitely HAVE to go to the gym.” Honestly, few phrases irk me more than expressing guilt for eating something. You know what else this phrase does, aside from letting everyone know you eat responsibly and care about your figure? It makes you feel like you cannot eat sweets or carbs without feeling guilty. This is wrong and I’d like to proffer the suggestion that we, as a society, let go of food guilt. Kelsey Damassa, of Boston College, writing for HerCampus, wrote an article entitled “The New Eating Disorder You Might Not Realize You Have: Food Guilt.” The article chronicles what food guilt is, address the origins of food guilt, and offers solutions for combating food guilt. It’s a good read, and I suggest you read it once you finish reading this post.

What I’d like to talk about is more how I’ve seen food guilt manifest in my own life, how I’ve recognized it, how I’ve exacerbated the guilt, and how I’ve been working to overcome guilt associated with eating a few extra sour gummy worms or cookies. To begin, I’d like to say I’ve always struggled with my body.  I’ve never been overly thrilled with my body, and I’ve spent countless hours beating myself up over the way my body is. This is only natural given the unattainable standards of beauty we see daily. In college, I lost a bunch of weight really quickly (by cutting out gluten and dairy, both of which do not react well with my body). I felt good about my body for the first time. Then I got to law school and gained all the lost weight back and then some. Enter punishing thoughts and despair as my clothes started to fit tighter. But here’s the thing: intense stress makes you gain weight. I’m a stress eater, and when I’m stressed I crave sugar and carbs, which do not nourish my body.

Anyway, as I reached for a bag of M&Ms or ate the dinner rolls while out with friends, I could feel that voice, you know, the one that tells us we shouldn’t eat that or we’ll get fat, creeping back in. So, to combat my eating shifts, I started going to the gym. Then, in conversation, I would hear myself saying, “Oh, yeah, let’s eat ice cream, but we have to go to the gym tomorrow.” Why did I feel the need to say, out loud, that if I had ice cream I had to go to the gym? I know some people say they do this to remind themselves to be healthy, but I think it creates an uncomfortable, often uneasy feeling. Even if the “we have to go to the gym,” is meant as a personal reminder, think about how the other person perceives it. This essentially means that the other person can eat that and not go to the gym, but if they do that, they’re making a bad choice, being unhealthy, the list goes on. Watching what you eat, making healthy choices, and avoiding things that don’t nourish your body is all totally fine. However, when guilt seeps in every time you make a choice to eat a given food, that’s no longer healthy. Restricting your food or having a negative relationship with your food is a cause of eating disorders.

If you begin seeing food as the enemy — you know, thinking that cookie will make you fat or that the candy bar translates directly into minutes at the gym — you’re not helping yourself. I know this because I’m a veteran of food guilt. Every time I eat something “unhealthy,” I feel the guilt. I know I’ll have to put extra time in at the gym, I know it’ll go straight to my hips. BUT, the thing is, feeling guilty doesn’t stop me from enjoying a cookie in the moment. It’s the guilt that comes after that sucks. Still, one cookie is not going to change much. I’ve told some of my friends this many a time. “One cookie, piece of pie, a bag of popcorn, etc. isn’t going to kill you.” The issue is my response mirrors the all or nothing mentality that their “I have to go to the gym if I eat this” carries. The way to combat this is to let go of food guilt. Make decisions based on what makes you feel good, but if you want the cookie, eat the damn cookie, and let it go. That doesn’t mean you can’t go to the gym after, but it means you hold the power, not the cookie.

Body positivity is one of the hardest things to embrace. We all have things we wish were bigger, smaller, better, stronger, etc. However, you only have one body and it’s important to treat it well. Stop telling it that one cookie or dessert will always mean two hours on an elliptical. The best way to embrace body positivity is to aim for healthy, but refusing to let one indulgence give you so much guilt.

What are your experiences with food guilt and how have you combatted it?

Truly,
Callie leigh

3 Movies I’ve Seen Recently

Hello, World!

With awards season in full swing, my roommate and I are trying to see the nominated films. Each weekend we go to see a movie. It’s a great break from school and forces us to enjoy the movie. When we watch at home we end up on our phones or computers or generally distracted. Our town has a Movie Tavern, which is essentially a restaurant inside the movie theatre, so the food is delivered right to your seat! Anyway, I wanted to share three movies I saw that I highly recommend. In the coming weeks we plan to see Lady Bird, Fifty Shades Freed (obviously NOT a nominated film) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

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We just saw Darkest Hour and it was so well done. Gary Oldman did an incredible job and I would be surprised if he doesn’t win the Academy Award. The film is long but worth it. I feel like I need to brush up on my European history. Still, it’s so well done. I love a good historical film and I felt like I was actually watching Churchill at work! I’d give this film 4/5 stars because I felt the length a bit, but other than that it was a great film!

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I LOVE this movie. Ugh. On so many levels I just loved this film. It focuses on the intersection of free speech, free press, and national security. Meryl Streep, of course, did a phenomenal job. Tom Hanks was equally great, and their chemistry was strong. I took my roommate that was the first movie I’d seen where two people had great purely platonic chemistry. I highly, highly recommend this movie. I also want to read Kathryn Graham’s Personal History.

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This is such a good movie. The soundtrack is amazing and I listen to it a lot while studying. I was hesitant about the circus theme because I like the idea in the abstract, but sometimes it feels like a con. I also felt, at times, like P. T. Barnum was a bit of a jerk… his treatment of the performers at times was troublesome, but by the end, I was happy with the storyline and enjoyed all the performances! I highly recommend if you want a great musical.

What movies have you seen recently?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Creating Your Place In the World: Thoughts on Finding Your Tribe and Building Your Empire

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Hello, World.

I recently participated in Hilary Rushford’s How to Make the Right Dreams Happen in 2018, which was a workshop she put together designed to empower people to work hard and reach intentional goals in 2018. I also came across a post on Carly the Prepster where she talked about the beginning of her blog and the somewhat wonky road she took to become who she is today. After participating in the workshop and reading the post, I was thinking a lot about the uncertainty that is all too familiar in the life of a student. Being a student is difficult because a lot of life seems temporary and unclear. For example, I chose to go to law school in Virginia. This was a choice that I made. Yet, after one and a half years in Virginia, I know I don’t want to build a life here long-term. I would say I don’t have anything against the state, but I miss the west coast and I’ve realized I prefer the northeast (hello, New York!). Still, I know that this chapter of my life is so important.

But… uncertainty remains. It’s hard to know what’s going to last and what’s relevant right now but may be less relevant in a month, six months, a year, five years. I read a book recently that said something along the lines of, “you tell yourself it’s temporary. But then you get a job, and you meet people, and you love where you are, and you become a regular at the coffee shop down the street and know the names of the cashier at the grocery, and suddenly your life is here. It’s not there.” As a student, life is often up in the air. So, how do we create a firm place for ourselves in a pliable world? Well, we create it.

You may then ask: how do we create our place? I believe that finding your place happens when you feel secure, confident, and comfortable in your life. So, this involves the people you surround yourself with, the places you live, and the way you approach the day. When I got to law school, I felt really lost. I’ve discussed this at length previously, but essentially I was not one of the people who immediately fell into a rhythm and felt like I fit perfectly in the environment. So, I took steps to figure out why. I realized part of the issue was I wasn’t finding my tribe (this is ironic, since my school’s mascot is, literally, the tribe). I started being strategic and selective about who I surrounded myself with, which meant finding people who built others up, who supported me, who made me laugh, and who I felt a connection to. It took time but I finally felt fulfilled when I hung out with people and not sad or drained.

So, how do we find our tribe? Hilary Rushford’s brand is built on community and the idea of finding your tribe. I love that concept and I think it’s so important that we find people who complete our lives by adding value to it. I’ve had many friends over the year who were fine, but never really added to my life. That’s not to say they weren’t great people, but I think it shows why they ended up being temporary. My closest friends are the ones who I can text or call and it’s easy and we’re there for each other and we support each other and we laugh and feel like something is missing when we haven’t heard from them in a while.

Creating your place can look different for different people, but I think the crux of it all comes in the form of being strategic, selective, and confident. If you know the person you are and who you want to be, and you feel out of place in certain contexts, that implies a lack of fit. That’s not your place, so don’t get discouraged because there’s another one waiting for you. Finding your place in life is similar to finding a good college. You need to feel it in your very being that it’s right for you. Some campuses are pretty and offer good opportunities but don’t feel right for you. If you can’t find your perfect place at the present time you can focus on yourself. Read novels, go to yoga classes, run outside, work on yourself. Work on being happy and confident in yourself. The better you know yourself, the easier it will be to recognize the people, places, and things that complement you.

Truly,

Callie leigh

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

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