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

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How to Handle People with a Superiority Complex

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Hello, World.

Have you ever met someone knew and remember thinking, “wow, this person must know everything?” Or “wow, this person clearly thinks highly of themselves?” Or even, “wow, this person obviously thinks they are better than me?” We all know that person who barely smiles, whose nose is always slightly upturned, the person who acknowledges you when it benefits them but acts as though you’re a random stranger on the street when it doesn’t.

We all have encountered, at one time or another, people who have a bit of a superiority complex. In fact, some of us may have been that person at least once. One of my best friends, upon first meeting me, commented that I was aloof. I used to blame this on being taller than most women (standing at 5′ 11” in flats) and therefore it was easier to shift my gaze than stare down at the person I was talking to, feeling like staring down would make them uncomfortable. It turns out, interestingly, that eye contact is preferred by most people. Regardless, this post is not about my aloofness, but rather about how we navigate those moments and interactions when we feel that someone is treating us like we don’t matter or that we’re beneath them or that we can’t offer than anything they want.

I was recently at a networking function, and a friend of mine commented on how a particular person at the event wasn’t talking to people she knew. Any by not talking, I mean flat out ignoring, pretending like she didn’t know our face from the wall behind us. I was un-offended, as this is not the first time this person has blatantly ignored me, despite us knowing each other. But then, a few days later, another person who attended the same event commented on this person’s behavior. She said, “it’s very clear that this person only talks to people who they feel will offer them something.” I nodded in agreement and basically said that if I’m not worth this person’s time, then they aren’t worth mine.

Upon reflection, however, I think that’s a bad outlook. The whole “if they can’t be bothered, I’ll ignore them just as ferociously,” is actually the weaker approach. People who think they’re better than others are similar to bullies in so far as when you call “bullshit” they often scare. Can you imagine how bad it would look if Miss Uppity, with her nose raised high and her eyes cast through you, blatantly ignored your pleasantries? For example, if you are attending an event and you never interact with the person, no one really knows if you know each other or not. But if you casually say, “hello, Miss Uppity, nice to see you again,” and then you go on your merry way to work the room, what then? In law school, when we give fact patterns the question is often “what result?” So, what is the result of being kind to those who act superior? Either harshness, which speaks volumes about them or a simple “oh hello, insert something artificial here.” Regardless, neither reaction is particularly fulfilling in the sense that you won’t get something from the person. However, you will get something from yourself because you are not allowing someone to look through you and cast you off as they would their used cocktail napkin after a long night of schmoozing “the right people.”

My mom always tells me to be humble and kind (yes, the Tim McGraw song… I am from rural California so can appreciate a country song). When I complain about someone who treated me poorly or made me feel bad, she reiterates that long-held rule: kill ’em with kindness (yes, this was a rule before Selena Gomez made it a song). I always find that what makes me feel better in the moments that someone tries to bring me down is to treat them better than they treated me. I don’t want to sink to their level because, at the end of the day, someone’s upturned nose or ability to see through me does not prove anything to anyone. Are they better than me? Maybe at something, but just generally? We’re all humans who should treat each other with respect.

Additionally, something I’ve learned over time is that the ability to work a room, truly work a room and climb that ever-raised social ladder, should have an effortless quality. If people notice you’re trying to social climb, that isn’t a good look. Obviously, networking, making contacts and moving up in the world is a goal for many young ambitious people, but again, you never know who someone knows. That person that Miss Uppity ignored? Their dad is a congressman and she wants to work on the Hill. That other person Miss Uppity looked right through? Their friend worked for a major company that she’s trying to work for. And that other person? Their cousin’s friend is the CEO at Startup. Obviously, these are extremes, but hey, you may know your network intimately, but you don’t know someone else’s

So, remember to be kind to people and remember that if someone acts better than you, it just shows they aren’t.

Truly,
Callie leigh

Moving Across the Country

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Hello, World.

I recently received a request for a post about moving across the country and setting up an apartment from far away. I’m not sure why it hadn’t occurred to me to do a post on this, but once a reader suggested it, I was eager to sit down and write it. I’ve done a post about apartment hunting, but that was more how to find the perfect place. I’ve also detailed the best way to make a new place home by decorating it to fit your tastes. But the logical place to start when you’re moving far away to a place you may not be familiar with is starting big picture and then narrowing your scope.

First and foremost, if you need to decide if you’re living alone or with roommates. If you want roommates, which will save cost, find your roommates. I recommend finding roommates who are looking to move somewhere new or are, like you, moving to the city for the first time. Coordinating your apartment hunt with another person can be super helpful, so it’s fun to look for a place with your future roommate. If you are hunting with someone, try to make “must have” lists. Honestly, it’s a bit like an episode of House Hunters.

If you’re moving to a smaller town or city, like I was, it’s not as difficult to pick a location. I wanted to be close to my law school, so I picked addresses to check out based on proximity to the school. However, if you’re moving to a city, like New York, San Francisco, or Chicago, the neighborhood is important. So, I would start by choosing a neighborhood or area that you’d want to live. For example, if I were moving back to San Francisco, I’d want to live in Noe Valley or North Beach (probably). If you’re unfamiliar with the area, I recommend trying to figure out who you know that’s lived in the place you’re moving to or researching to see what neighborhoods are like, how safe they are, how close they are to public transportation and what the general vibe is (is it a younger area with gyms, restaurants, bars, etc. or more residential and quiet?).

Figuring out where you want to live in your new city is the best first step because from there, you can start apartment hunting. I would say gather a list of places that you think you’d like to see. If you are able, go visit them. If you cannot do that, see if there’s someone who can send you photos (a friend, family member, etc.), if you don’t have someone, it may be best to have the realtor send you photos. I recommend going through a management company or realtor agency rather than craigslist or something. If you’re unable to see the place before your move-in, going through a more formal company may save headaches. I never saw my current place other than in photos before move-in. If I had questions about measurements (like what size the laundry room was) or how large my bedroom was, I asked my realtor. I will say, so long as you have done your due diligence and made sure the place is in a nice area and you’ve seen photos, it’s pretty easy to pick a place. Something to note, however, is asking about parking (if you have a car), street access, building access, etc. Nail down as many details surrounding the apartment as possible because you won’t be seeing it before you arrive to move in.

Once you’ve figured out where you’ll be living and have begun the process of signing a lease, my next advice is to pick what items, if any, you plan to take with you. I basically only packed clothing and some books and photos for my move. I bought everything else, furniture, decorations, kitchen supplies, etc. one I arrived or I ordered it and had it delivered after I moved in (look at shipping ranges, I ordered things roughly 5 days before my departure date). For my car, I shipped it. Some people drive to their new place, my family and I flew, so we shipped my car. If you can use a moving service, like PODs, then you may want to buy things in your current city and then ship it all. I see a few cons with this option. First, if you haven’t seen the place in person it may be hard to really plan furniture and decorations. That chair you thought you had room for may not fit! Second, if you buy everything in your new city, you won’t have to pay to ship it all. You would save the cost of using movers and spend money only on the items. Further, if you plan to use a moving service, do a purge of your stuff before you begin packing. It’s amazing how much stuff we collect throughout college and post-grad, so make sure what you’re taking is stuff you want to bring to your new city, and not just stuff you’re putting in boxes that may ultimately get tossed upon arrival. If you haven’t seen your place in person, and don’t have much furniture or bulky items, I’d recommend furnishing the place once there.

This brings me to my next point: I planned out all my furniture and design plans prior to moving in, which made my trips to Target and Homegoods pretty easy because I knew all the stuff I wanted to get. I had a spreadsheet with all the items I would need (couch, bed, bed frame, etc.), my target price, and then an item I liked from a website with its price listed and the name. Some items I ordered online, like my bed frame and dresser, desk, bookcase, and side table. Some items I went to see in person then shipped, like my washer/dryer and bed. Other items I picked out but waited to buy, like accessories for my room, etc. Some things I bought as soon as I saw them, others I swapped for things I liked better once I started shopping. The flexibility I had with decorations worked well for me and saved money because I wasn’t shipping things, then returning them, etc.

I recommend keeping a running checklist of things you need to do prior to your move. Setting up utilities, if not included in the space, is important. I would recommend trying to find a place where laundry and utilities are included, but obviously, this doesn’t always happen. For laundry, ask if it’s in-unit or if you have to go to the basement or another location. If you are flying, coordinate your flight details. If you’re moving to a city, coordinate whether you’re going to get a rental car or take public transit. I would recommend a car, as you’re moving your life across the country so will likely have multiple suitcases. However, ensure there is parking (street or garage) near your new place. Again, there are a lot of small details and choices to make, so keep a list and try to plan your trip from the moment you leave your door to the moment you arrive at the new one. What possible things could come up? How are you getting from point A to point B to point X? Everyone’s move is a bit different, but trying to anticipate potential problems and nailing down as many details as possible is ideal. I recommend beginning the process as early as possible. I worked out logistics of my move, or at least planned my decor, almost daily in the few months leading up to my move. Not only did it make the move easier, it made me excited about the move.

I moved from California to Virginia, almost as far as you could get. So, when all was said and done there were two hiccups I recall: (1) my bed wasn’t delivered on the correct day and (2) my car was a week late, but the company I used set me up with a rental for the interim. Everything else when off basically without a hitch. Planning and preparing are key, in my opinion. I also spent a lot of time reading articles and blogs about moving and kind of picked and chose what I felt would work well for me. I know it probably sounds nerdy and very Type A, but I had so much anxiety about moving so far away that I wanted to be as ready as possible so I could just be excited and not stressed about the moving logistics.

I hope this post helps answer any questions about the move! If you have other questions or need clarification, comment below!

Truly,
Callie leigh

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

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Hello, World.

When deciding what to read this summer, I looked for books that were popular among readers whose opinions I admire. This worked well for the first two novels I read this summer (Little Fires Everywhere & The Great Alone), so I hoped I’d continue to have luck with my next pick: the highly anticipated The Female Persuasion, Meg Wolitzer’s 11th novel. Hailed as the “#MeToo novel” that we all need, I expected a female-centric, feminist expose of sorts in novel form. What I got, however, was a bit different. I’m going to preface this review by saying I really enjoyed this book. The writing kept me engaged and I honestly expected it to take me a long time (it’s 454 pages!), but it took me just over a week. I liked Greer, the protagonist, and related to her in many ways. I, too, was once the shy, self-doubting young woman who entered young adulthood as one person and became much more empowered during my college years, and began finding “my outside voice,” as Greer would say, in recent years.

Now, what I also want to start with is the fact that I disagree with the notion this is the “#MeToo” novel. In fact, I don’t really feel any single novel can be the Me Too novel because each experience is legitimate and different and personal. No two experiences are identical, so how can one voice speak for them all? While the novel opens with an incident involving shy, unassuming Greer and a belligerent fraternity brother touching her boob, the novel does not tackle sexual assault in a fleshed-out way. In fact, the incident serves much more as a catalyst for Greer to find her voice and invest in a cause and care more about feminism and the female experience than she had ever even thought about. The incident sets up Greer’s future endeavors and is the foundation upon which the awe and admiration grows for Faith Frank, an old wave feminist who comes to speak at Greer’s college following the encounter with frat guy who believed he had license over Greer’s body. The real focus of the novel, in that sense, is not about sexual assault or the Me Too movement, but rather about female relationships, mentorship, and what causes us to admire certain people, to hold them in such esteem we forbid ourselves from recognizing their faults until their faults smack us in the face almost as palpably as unwanted caresses from men as we navigate the roads of being female in this world. So, while I don’t think this book is the next great american novel on sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and holding men in power and men in general accountable for inappropriate and damaging actions, I do think it says a lot about where we are with feminism.

And by where we are, I mean the muddled, unclear definition of feminism that attaches to so many encounters and choices and lives. I will say, this novel is marketed as having tackled feminism with a capital F, but I don’t think it does that and that by not tackling Feminism as a whole, it is actually a better read. This story is much more personal than feminism with a capital F. It’s about Greer’s relationship with feminism, and Greer only begins to explore what feminism is and get involved with the feminist movement after being assaulted at the frat house in college. That’s what made this book work: it’s one person’s experience with feminism and her discovering what kind of feminist she wants to be. I’ve read some reviews that chastise the story for being too much “privileged white girl” feminism. I think that’s a fair assessment in some ways. Did it annoy me when Greer complained about going to a “sub par” college when some women do not have the opportunity or access to attend college at all? Yes. Did I hope that women of color would be better represented? Yes. But I think part of my disappointments with the shortcomings I sometimes felt while reading were rooted firmly in the marketing of this book. I was expecting the expose on feminism, modern feminism specifically, and I expected the novel to tackle all that feminism encompasses. However, had I gone into this book expecting it to be more about mentorship, finding your voice, and young womanhood, I would have been satisfied and not as critical at points.

I will say, discussing feminism can be a bit daunting. You don’t want to say the wrong thing or inadvertently imply something that’s incorrect. That’s why I appreciated that this novel showed that feminism and the methods through which to achieve equality for women is a personal journey and the reasons that women become more assertive about female issues are unique to each woman. Further, female-ness and femininity is also personal. Also, with the stigma about feminists being man-haters, I think this book begins to address how a woman asserting herself more forcefully and demanding to be heard can affect her relationships with men. In one story, however, the affect is more internal to Greer and she ends up isolating herself. Cory, Greer’s high school boyfriend, suffers a terrible tragedy that sends him home to assume traditionally feminine roles. Greer, a now self-proclaimed feminist seems to believe that in doing so Cory has swerved severely off-track and lost his way and is no longer “good enough.” Though this isn’t explicit, it’s heavily implied. What I liked about this was that it shows that even women who hail themselves a feminist sometimes miss the mark. If equality is what we want, we should not be baffled by men who assume traditionally feminine roles just like we should not be baffled when women occupy traditionally masculine roles. I wanted a bit more from male-female dynamics in this book, but I was still content with what I got.

I would prefer to classify this book as a coming-of-age story that uses various relationships to illustrate Greer’s journey into womanhood and NOT the “Me Too Movement book of the year.” Another important note that I learned about myself as a reader is that I often reach for dialogue driven books. I like to learn about characters through their actions, their words, etc. This book is written much more as a decade-spanning story that is being told through the eyes of a third person narrator. So, it almost feels as if you’re sitting down with a strong woman, say your grandmother or female mentor, and she’s recounting people’s lives to you. There is minimal dialogue and you are told how the characters are much more than you are shown. This bothered me a bit, but honestly the writing kept me so engaged that I just kept reading. I rarely reach for a pen to underline the fiction I read (surprising for an English major? maybe, but I prefer to keep my books pristine when reading for pleasure). However, with this novel, I felt like a few lines just had to be underlined, and I kept saying “yessss!” to myself about certain observations made.

For those who want to pick up this book, I would say go into with no more expectations than you do for other novels. Do not assume this book holds all the answers about feminism because it doesn’t. The book itself doesn’t end with an answer about what we do with feminism, but rather ends by merely observing there is more work to be done to achieve true equality. And that seems appropriate, as there is always more work to be done.

I do recommend this read and I’d love to have a discussion with any of you who have read it! It gave me a lot to consider, and I need to discuss!

Truly,
Callie leigh

June To-Be-Read (TBR) (and why there’s overlap with May)

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Hello, World.

May was not the best reading month. What I read was great, but how much I read was less than I wanted or expected. I think in the chaos of ending finals and trying to move to DC and then start working I just wasn’t in the mood to read all the time. I also, admittedly, was spending a lot of time binge-watching Riverdale, which is so addicting. So, I only got through Little Fires Everywhere and The Great Alone. Had I chosen a smaller second book I may have gotten further on my list, but I wanted to tackle the clunkier books first, so as to get them out of the way early. I don’t mean to imply they are lesser or not as good. The Great Alone was a great read (review is here), but at 430-ish pages, it’s a bit heftier than the other books. Right now I’m working through The Female Persuasion and it’s addicting. I find myself needing to read as much as possible because I love everything in it and I’m enjoying the style of writing. This is another monster book, however, at 450-ish pages. Still, I’m 100 pages in after about 2 days of reading, so hopefully, I find some good reading time soon.

Because my June TBR is more realistic than my May TBR, the list is essentially the books I didn’t get to in May. July and August will hopefully have 3-4 books each. I figure if I can get through a book a week, then it’s manageable. I want to read more and I’m loving the reading I chose for myself. Last summer I tackled a very long novel that was a slow read, so I didn’t read as many books as I would have liked. I want reading novels to be an active part of my life and so I’m trying to watch less TV and read more. I figure binge-watching shows are easier when I’m in school, so I should use the summer downtime to read rather than watch shows.

So, in case you missed my May TBR, June will consist of the leftovers:
The Female Persuasion
An American Marriage
Educated

Truly,
Callie leigh

Read This When: You Had a Rough Week

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Have you ever had a rough week? A week that you just couldn’t wait for it to end so you can stop feeling like everything is going wrong? Sometimes rough weeks just happen. Whether it’s the weather, combined with bad juju at work, combined with feelings of frustration or just a general feeling of frustration and feeling like things are just working against you. You know, like for some reason you’re trying to wade through some invisible current and an external force is pulling you in the other direction. Rough weeks, when they happen, are not fun to deal with and can be pretty defeating.

I overheard someone complaining on the phone recently about having a terrible week. Something about no one sticking up for her when a guy at her job was yelling at her about something that she did. Something about laundry being messed up. Something about her boyfriend canceling their dinner plans that Friday, the one thing she’d been looking forward to. For the record, she was sitting near me at Starbucks, and talking loudly. I promise I wasn’t purposefully eavesdropping on this woman’s private conversation. Anyway, I felt bad for her and definitely recognized the feeling of being defeated by a week where things just aren’t going well. It’s kind of funny how hit or miss weeks can be. We go week after week with nothing particularly bad happening, and then suddenly, as if the universe conspires against us, all the bad stuff hits in a single week, making the Monday to Friday week feel eternal and uncomfortable.

The thing with rough weeks, though, is sometimes it’s better to just embrace them. Embrace that things aren’t working for you and that you’re frustrated. Don’t keep fighting it, just accept that it’s not your week and make the best of what you can. I also think it’s beneficial to take a step back. Breathe. Try to remember that not every week follows this terrible formula. Take time for yourself. Go to a yoga class, meditate, do something that’s low key but will help bring you back to center. I think it’s important to not push yourself to make things work during rough weeks. It’s okay to be frustrated and want to just take it easy. So, embrace the things aren’t working, find your center, and wait for a new week and a new start. Hopefully, by then, the bad vibes will be gone.

Truly,
Callie leigh

Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone

ACS_0375Hello, World.

I recently finished reading Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone and I loved it! I will admit that I had a very slow start to reading this book. I had just finished Little Fires Everywhere, and I think I had a residual book hangover and picked up this read a bit too soon. However, I always give a book until page 150 before I decide whether to stick it out or not. Right around page 100, this book really picked up speed for me. Initially, this is one of those books that when I started reading, I was hooked and engrossed in the story, but starting wasn’t always at the top of my priority list. However, right around page 100, I was hooked and thinking about this book nonstop. I found myself getting to work early, reading outside of Starbucks before heading to the office, and then hurrying home after work to read a few more chapters before bed.

Similar to Little Fires Everywhere, this book was highly recommended and read by a lot of readers I admire. What I love about this story is that it’s epic. It’s epically tragic, epically forgiving, epically real, epically raw, and just epic. Every aspect is large and proud and in your face, but it’s all sewn together so seamlessly and the closure you get at the end gives you chills. As per usual, I wanted to share the description of this book that is on the book because I think it’s important to see how the book sells itself, and then discuss whether that description is accurate. The dust jacket reads:

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska—a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

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As the niece of a Vietnam War veteran, I was hesitant to read about the PTSD that resulted in so many vets (from every war), but particularly following Vietnam. However, this book made me want to know more and more and more about the 70s, the political climate, and what caused the war. I’ve spoken to my uncle a few times about his experience, but, understandably, it’s hard for him to discuss. However, this book was so interesting in how it handled PTSD and the War. For one, I do feel that Ernt would have been abusive (this is a spoiler, but honestly it’s so apparent in the first few chapters, you won’t lose much knowing ahead of reading that abuse is present), regardless of the war. I think, however, he was suffering badly from undiagnosed PTSD. I will note, however, that sometimes it felt like his experience was the sole reason he was abusive, and that bothered me slightly. Maybe I’m being too harsh or idealistic, but I just felt that his experience as a POW would not lead him to be severely abusive to his loved ones. In many ways, the details and treatment of the abuse imply that the abusive side of the father was always there, if only dormant before his war experience. Still, this debate would make an entire essay in an English class.

The other thing I will say about the abuse is that when I first started this book the abuse sometimes felt a little like a trope or too “textbook” domestic violence. The signs too clear. That probably sounds wildly insensitive and I do not mean for it to. What I mean is that oftentimes abuse is layered and complicated and not boiled down to “he didn’t mean it,” “I egged him on,” or “he loves us too much, that’s why he hurts me.” HOWEVER, (and I shout this because it’s very important), it is important to remember that this book is set in the 70s, when domestic violence was not as recognized and prevented and the law did not serve victims justice. Further, I loved Leni’s story arc in relation to the abuse. She transforms from a young, naive child who is told what to believe into an independent, strong, won’t-take-the-unhealthy-behavior shit from anyone. I will say, the abusive scenes were hard to read and I had to set the book down a few times just to calm myself.

While this book is being touted by many as predominantly about abuse, I felt it was much more about love and survival and the power we find within ourselves to go after what we want, stand up for ourselves against all odds, and the sacrifices we make to keep those we love safe. It’s a story about motherhood and the responsibility that both daughters and mothers feel toward each other. Also, I just adore Matthew and Leni’s relationship. I don’t want to spoil anything about them because their storyline gave so much and was so fun to read and watch develop! But… I will say, I love them. Their love story is both endearing and heart-wrenching. It’s a bit of Romeo and Juliet if Romeo and Juliet lived in a wild, unforgiving landscape. There is a bit at the end where some things are left unclear, and we get a handful of chapters before we ever get closure. While reading that handful of chapters, I was so annoyed. I just wanted to know what happened. However, once you know, you feel the epicness of a love that shouldn’t survive but does, in whatever form it takes.

Finally, I loved how Alaska was its own character, but also served, in many ways, as a representation of Leni’s home life and her parents’ marriage. The land, much like her parents, could be beautiful and loving and enchanting, but also wild and dangerous and unpredictable. The similarities between tip-toeing around the cabin so as to not upset Ernt and tip-toeing over frozen-over bodies of water left an uneasiness as I was reading. The tension, when relieved in the home, was often still present in the landscape.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am very glad I read it. It isn’t a book I’d ordinarily pick up, but I’m thankful I listened to the recommendations!

Next up, The Female Persuasion. What are you reading?

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

My Advice: “Prepare to be Humbled”

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Hello, World.

I recently started my summer job and I am working with some law students from other law schools, and we regularly swap “war stories” about our law school experiences. It’s funny to compare notes and see what is consistent and what is not. When we were talking about advice given or received about law school, I said my advice to incoming 1Ls is “prepare to be humbled.” I usually laugh after this, often trying to lighten the mood of the rather dark sentiment I’ve just relayed, especially when I see the person on the receiving end of this advice either attempt to roll their eyes in an undetectable way or look at me with wide, fearful eyes. The thing is, I don’t say this to be cruel or mean and it isn’t meant as a scare tactic. However, I do mean it.

The reason I say this is simply because law students are, in many capacities, the highest achieving people from their respective colleges. We likely graduated with honors, were leaders in our extracurricular activities, maybe worked in the legal realm between college and law school, and are, if nothing else, academics, logical analysts, and deeply successful people. It is common that Type-A personalities end up in America’s law schools, so it is unsurprising that when you put all the very intelligent, diligent, hard-working Type-A students in an environment grounded in grades done on a curve we start to feel … humbled. Maybe we’re no longer the smartest people in the room. Maybe we struggle with torts or criminal law in ways we’ve never grappled with the subject matter before. Perhaps our writing is suddenly receiving grades previously only known as part of the scale and not where we fell on it. I’ve had people who I’ve given this advice to excel in law school classes. However, I do not mean “prepare to be humbled” to apply only to the grades received in classes. In some way, law school humbles the human spirit. If you’re excelling in classes, maybe your social life is not what it was in college. If your social calendar is full, maybe your grades are slipping lower on the curve, unable to move up the slope. Maybe you applied for the job you were confident you had, only to be rejected from it. Maybe you applied for 80 jobs only to receive 20 emails, 18 of which were rejections and the other 2 were botched interviews.

So, in law school, and in life, prepare to be humbled. Being humbled is not a bad thing. In fact, it is more grounding than anything. There is a reason people say “she’s so down to earth” as a positive compliment to people. Humble people, kind people, always get further in the long run. The people who are not this way may be wildly successful, but my personal belief is that it is better to be humble than the inverse, which is arrogance, aloofness, or just outright condescension. Sometimes you are the smartest person and the room, and others you are not. A good rule of thumb in law school is this: act equally in either scenario because people will likely not respond well to you telling them, informing them, or implying to them that you are the smartest person in the room!

Truly,
Callie Leigh

A Note to My Residents Who Graduated This May

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Hello, World.

On May 27, my first group of residents that I had as a resident advisor graduated from Saint Mary’s. If I was in California this summer, I would have tried to go, but sadly, I was unable to make it. Still, seeing all my residents in their caps and gowns, toasting champagne and concluding their years at SMC made me emotional. For one, I was so proud of them. Second, I saw them when they entered SMC and it’s been fun to watch them grow and find their voices and become who they are now. Naturally, there are residents I keep in better contact with than others. Still, the thing about being an RA is this: you make an impact on them, but they make an equal, if not greater, impact on you. So many of them have grown immensely, have become leaders, have become writers, activists, and some will go on to graduate programs. Obviously, this happens with each college class, but it feels different when you met them at the starting line and now they’re crossing the stage, diploma in hand, cheering loudly at the finish line.

I probably sound sappy, and maybe I am, but it’s also fun to see where your residents end up. When I was in California over spring break I visited my alma mater and ran into some of the residents who just graduated. One of them told me he changed his major to English (my major) and he became an RA to first years, which was so exciting and fitting. Another resident told me she got a full-time job post-grad at a major San Francisco accounting firm. The accomplishments of my residents make me so proud of them and I love to see how they’ve blossomed into the young professionals they are. Perhaps it makes me happy because I remember how I felt and who I was my first year in college and then how I felt and who I was leaving college. Saint Mary’s is named one of the colleges that change lives, and I know that was true for me. Saint Mary’s, in many ways, is home for me. I am so appreciative of the time I spent there and the change and growth it fostered in me, and so to see the college have a similar effect on my residents is incredible.

To my residents who graduated, and to anyone graduating college, I say this: the next year will be hard. You may love it or you may find it challenging, but you’ll likely experience a sense of change. You won’t be in Moraga come August like you have for the last four years, but you are starting a new chapter, and in that there is excitement. Know that while you may struggle, may feel displaced, and may miss college so badly it causes a physical ache, you have memories that can never be forgotten and people who will be with you for life. Transitioning from college to real-life or graduate school has a steep learning curve, one much steeper than between high school and college, in my opinion. BUT, the College has prepared you and you are ready to tackle the world and make a new start for yourself. When adulting sucks, remember the feeling you had on graduation day. The one that is equal parts “so glad I’m done with this f*cking place” and “gosh, I’m going to miss this.” You know the feeling. Remember it, and remember that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to.

Forgive me if that sounded a bit like a graduation speech, but I honestly have always, since the day that first group of residents entered Assumption Hall, wanted the best for them. So, go out into the world and build your empire, cultivate a legacy, and remember, GO GAELS.

Best,
Callie leigh