2L Preparation: Preparing for my second year of law school

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Hello, World.

I am heading back to Virginia to begin my 2L year. While I’m sad to be leaving California, I am excited to get back to law school and my academic-year routine. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my summer job and have learned an immense amount (mostly on the fly!). As 2L approaches, I wanted to share what I’m doing to prepare for my second year of law school. I’ve heard from many people that while 1L is the hardest, 2L is still difficult but in different ways. For example, if you serve on a journal you have an extra commitment that is time-consuming and important. I don’t want to be stressed this semester (or at least not really stressed) so I would like to prepare as much as possible.

This semester I am taking Federal Income Taxation, Evidence, Business Associations, and Mergers and Acquisitions. I am also on the William and Mary Business Law Review. This semester feels very full because all of my classes are relatively new information. I’m a bit nervous about the quantity of new information, but I think the key is studying consistently with weekly review sessions. I personally find figuring out how all the parts of a course work together is the key to succeeding in the course. In Torts, my professor would constantly say “it’s a seamless web, see?” And I would think, ‘no, I don’t.’ However, the more review I did and the more I studied for the final, the more I saw he was actually correct. While I don’t encourage outlining super early or trying to “study” for the final from day one, I do think reviewing new material at the end of each week makes studying at the end of the semester much more seamless. You will have already built a strong foundation from which to study!

So, to prepare for my classes, I’m setting the goal of spending Friday mornings reviewing the previous four days of material. I am also going to buy the Acing supplement series for Federal Income Tax, Evidence and Business Associations. I may end up buying for Mergers and Acquisitions, too, but we will see. One of my close law school friends showed me the Acing series and so I got the Property course book. It was a game changer! Honestly, I had an older professor who has taught property for a long time and didn’t take a ton of questions. The course was designed to mainly learn on your own. The Acing Property book saved me and I ended up with a fairly high grade in the course. I also found this supplement easy to follow and I appreciate that it is designed with test taking in mind. It doesn’t just tell you the information, but rather it shows you exactly how to approach a problem once you spot it in a fact pattern.

Additionally, I am hoping to get back into a regular workout routine. Being home this summer I haven’t worked out as much as I would have liked. I was really into working out last spring, but then I came home and started working and just couldn’t figure out a time to make workouts happen. I’m definitely putting my health first this semester, though. This means I will work out regularly and I’m hoping to eat healthier (one too many cookies have been consumed this summer). I miss the way I ate in college – greens, protein, and more greens!

Another way in which I am preparing for 2L is by trying to lay a lot of the groundwork for my 2L summer job search while I’m not in school and while I’m home in California. I’m hoping to return to California (but I cannot control the job market), so I am trying to send out apps and network while in the state. I’m hoping the more work I do now, the sooner I can figure out what my 2L summer job will be and then I can check a major item off my ever-growing to do list.

The final big preparation I’m doing is spending time with my family. There is a huge possibility I won’t see my family again until December. Last fall I really struggled with not seeing them and homesickness. This year, I’m putting all my energy into focusing on wellness and classes. I want to make sure I’m physically and mentally healthy. I also want to make sure I’m excelling in my courses! I never quite thought I’d say it, but I’m excited to get back Williamsburg. I think that’s just a testament to the friend group I’ve developed there, though! I’m looking forward to a good semester with my two roommates, one of my good friends (who was a former RA, obviously), my wonderful Texan friend, and all the other people who make Williamsburg feel like home!

Though I’m naturally a little nervous about my second year of law school, spring semester of 1L went so much more smoothly than the first and I feel ready to tackle my courses. I also finally feel like I mastered the best study habits for myself and that really grew my confidence as a law student.

What are you doing to prepare for the upcoming year?

Truly,

Callie leigh

 

What I Wish I Knew Before Law School

What I Wish I Knew Before Law School

Hello, World.

By now you’re probably well acquainted with the phrase “hindsight is 20/20.” I recently chatted with a co-worker, and he asked me if I was gearing up to return to law school. I made the joke I should be but wasn’t quite on the “I’m ready to go” train yet. He laughed and said he missed school, but then said, “maybe it’s our nature, but as humans, we tend to remember experiences much fonder than they actually are.” I laughed and returned to stapling my copies of client documents. However, in the time between that conversation and now, as I write this, I cannot help but think he’s right. I sort of loathed one of my previous jobs, but after ending my time in that position and having a little distance from it, I realized it was the best job I’ve had and it was a huge learning experience. I’ve had this experience of being totally unsure about something, almost to the point of dislike, the whole time the thing is happening, but then I love it by the end.

The experience is like reading a book that has a very slow middle. The beginning gets you interested and grabs your attention enough to keep going, but the middle has you doubting whether you’re using your time effectively, then suddenly the end delivers and you’re so happy you stuck it out! Well, my first year of law school followed this same trajectory. You can read all about my 1L experience here. As a blogger, the questions I get emailed about the most often are how to prepare for law school. How to prepare for law school is a hard question to answer sometimes because everyone is different. Some people adjust so well to law school and some people (myself included) find it excruciating at first.

I am here to offer my advice by exploring aspects of law school I didn’t expect. I want to look at law school somewhat candidly and explain what I wish I would have known. I will say, I don’t think knowing any of the things I plan to discuss would have changed my mind about law school, but it would have eased my transition from undergrad to law school.

ONE || You’re surrounded by the best and the brightest. Law school attracts type A people, so be warned that you will be surrounded by a lot of people who have been hard workers and highly successful for most of their academic career. Therefore, because you are no longer the smartest or most hardworking in the room, things can get competitive. I picked a school that I didn’t perceive as very competitive. Everyone seemed friendly and I felt like it would be a great place to learn the law. My school remains mostly non-competitive, but just remember most law students are a little competitive by nature, so the competition rears its ugly head in various ways, and doesn’t’ always come in the form of academic competition.

TWO || It’s okay to study alone. I spent the first semester of law school buying into the idea of a study group. Study groups work for some people, but they don’t really work for me. I prefer to learn on my own then review with people. I don’t ever rely on others to learn information then teach it to me. I have friends who did study groups and loved them, but it’s completely okay if this method of study doesn’t work for you!

THREE || Some people are rude. This is by no means law school specific and I’m not implying I was ignorant to this fact before law school. However, I think I assumed (I know, bad idea) that by the time people got to law school they would be nice or at least have the grace to be kind. Stress can turn some people into different versions of themselves, and sometimes that means they become a little mean. If you’re new to law school and you notice someone being rude for no reason or they make you feel uncomfortable, unhappy, or inferior, just go ahead and run in the other direction. You don’t have to be friends with everyone. Treat people with respect, much of law school is working to build a professional network, but if you know someone isn’t your cup of tea, spend minimal time with them. One of the toughest adjustments for me in law school was how polite, but not friendly people were. Yes, everyone was polite, but Californians are pretty friendly people so I wasn’t used to people coming off as regularly uncaring or disinterested.

FOUR || Law School habits vary and it’s unclear which are good and which are bad. I used to have a bad mentality about school. I thought I knew how to do things best, and if someone had a different way of studying, they weren’t going to do as well as me. This mentality ended in high school, but it still astounds me how many people don’t have to study or work hard and still excel. I’m someone who always has to spend a few extra hours studying something. Once I “get it,” it’s committed to memory and I won’t have to re-learn it, but the learning process hasn’t been something I’ve just floated through. You may be tempted to get annoyed by people who you feel aren’t studying enough, but just know everyone works a little differently and it’s not your concern.

FIVE || You’ll probably feel unsure more than you feel sure. Very few students feel sure all the time. Maybe the top 10%-ers feel like they have a firm grasp on law school, but most students feel tired, unsure, and laugh at the utter misery that is law school. Now, when I say misery I don’t mean law school is miserable. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s tiring. Yes, it’s a lot of work. However, most law students bond in the sort of amped up agony we endure in a semester. When you’re walking to class and groaning about the huge cup of coffee you need or how complicated a case was or how tedious a writing exercise felt. Law school is hard but part of the bonding experience is bonding over how hard law school is.

SIX || Forming strong relationships with professors may require work. This may vary based on law school, but at my law school we have blind grading, which means how much you participate in class won’t affect your final grade. The blind grading aspect allows many students to fall victim to the social media browsing in class or falling behind on the reading. While cold calling is still a factor, most students only participate when they are called on. If you raise your hand a bunch, you risk being deemed a gunner. It’s really a lose lose. However, there are ways to build relationships with professors out of class. If your professor offers semester lunches, sign up for one! If you have questions, go to the professor’s office hours. Seek your professor out outside of the classroom. I think becoming a person, and not just another face on the seating chart is the best way to ensure you’re building rapport with the professor.

Okay, I could give even more items of things I wish I had known, but I think I covered the areas I was most surprised by in law school. I expected cold calling, I expected it to be hard, and I expected to meet people I really liked. While you cannot anticipate every curve ball law school will throw your way, I hope the areas I covered will offer a bit of insight into what’s coming.

Truly,
Callie leigh

Law School Pedigree

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Hello, World.

I remember when I used to spend hours pouring over books about various colleges. Then when it came time to apply to law school, I spent an embarrassing amount of time researching law schools. A large part of looking at schools was trying to find the place that was the best fit. After all my research, I landed on the right school and started there in the fall. However, when the new law school rankings were leaked, and my school dropped a few spots, you’d have thought a war began with how much buzz and administrative attention the new number received. I couldn’t help but think, ‘Is this really that big of a deal?’ But at the end of the day, law school rankings exist and they seem to matter to some people. However, I asked Camille of the Tumblr blog Lawyering in Lilly to write about law school rankings after I realized she decided to keep her law school private because she was receiving hateful messages regarding her law school. She’s written for Bottled Creativity before here. Below are her thoughts on rankings.


Law school pedigree. If you’re a law student or are planning on embarking on the law school journey, you’ve probably heard the term. Is it really true that where you go to law school determines your future rate of success or that going to a lower ranked law school isn’t worth your time? I suppose that depends on who you ask, but as a third-year law student at a lower ranked school, I would say that that couldn’t be further from the truth.

While there is no doubt that higher ranked schools have their reputation for a reason, an education from a lower ranked school can be equally as fulfilling. One important note about legal education is that it is widely the same across the country. Most students finishing their first year of law school will have a similar experience, whether they attend Harvard or Yale, or a school with a less reputable title. They will likely all have taken the same courses – Torts, Property, Civil Procedure, Contracts, and Criminal Law (with some exceptions, as some schools choose to teach Constitutional Law during the first year instead). They will likely all have a war story to tell about a cold-call session gone wrong. They will all likely be able to recall several sleepless nights before a major legal writing assignment was due, or the clammy palms and cold sweat before their first oral argument. They will all likely know what it feels like to venture into the unknown, to study for finals not knowing what to expect, and to drastically change the way they think about life.

Attending a higher ranked school comes with a great deal of opportunities and an inherent reputation. For big law positions, law students attending lesser-known schools might be glossed over, their resume tossed aside in favor of one with a GW, Columbia, NYU, or Stanford label. Working hard at a top 25 law school could mean that the world is your oyster upon graduation.

But there are benefits to attending a lesser-known, lower-ranked school – a less competitive atmosphere and more opportunities to do well being two benefits that I have found. I am first to admit that while graduating college with honors and multiple degrees, scoring decently on the LSAT, and having a well-rounded resume, I don’t think I would be as successful at a top school as I am at my own school. I have had opportunities to become a member of the Law Review Executive Board, the Moot Court Board, and have my writing published, things that probably would not have been possible at a school that is much more competitive.

More importantly, I found myself to be better prepared for my summer position than my other peers who attend a more well-known school. While I had experience writing motions thanks to my first and second-year legal writing courses, my peers had only written memos. I also learned that, while I would spend my third year working out in the field through my school’s externship program, my peers would be responsible for getting into the trenches and finding their own externship, leaving many with little to no practical experience upon graduation. My point is not to brag or put myself above my other brilliant legal colleagues, but to gently remind those who may feel defeated that the grass is not always greener.

Not everyone is able to score in the 170’s on the LSAT, or graduate college in the top 5% of their class, or afford a top 25 law school education. It is important for those who cannot to know that it is certainly still worth going to law school. It is a rewarding experience that will open many doors for you, that will teach you the value of hard work, that will place you among some of the most wonderful people you will ever meet. At the end of the day (or, more accurately, three long years), you will still hold a piece of paper with “juris doctor” imprinted on it. You will still be an attorney, no matter where you chose to go to law school.


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Thank you, Camille! I think her thoughts are great, and I appreciate her reassurance that if you pick a school because you feel it’s the best fit for you, and not because of its pedigree, you’ll thrive. Don’t pick something that isn’t right just because you think its name will bring you more ease in finding a job. Finding a job is important, but so is being happy and loving where you are!

Truly,

Callie leigh

A Day In My Life

Hello, World.

I thought it would be interesting if I shared what a typical day in my life is like. I get a lot of questions about law school, and what it really looks like. I know a lot of people watch movies about it or have heard the horror stories, but I think its hard to know what law school is actually like until you’re in it. I will also give a general disclaimer – law school can vary based on school, location, and personality type. All students handle law school a little differently. While this is my “daily life” as a law student, it looks different than both my roommates and most of my friends. We all have (slightly or very) different routine. I don’t really think there’s a best way to law school. As long as you are doing well, you’re doing something right.

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So, let’s dive into my day:

Anywhere from 6:00 am – 8:00 am: Wake up.

I realize this is  a large range. I will say I usually get up around 7:15, but some days I get up a bit early to do reading and other days I sleep in a bit later if I need to. I will often wake up at 7-ish, and lay in bed, checking my email, looking at Instagram, and reading the Skimm.

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7:45 am or 8:00 am to 8:45 am: Shower, get dressed, do makeup and hair, make bed.

This also probably seems like a while. While I get ready, I often watch Youtube videos, listen to makeup, make a to do list for the day.

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8:45 am – 9:30 am: take final notes, plan my day, and eat breakfast.

I listen to music, eat my breakfast (usually avocado toast, sometimes oatmeal with banana), and fill out important things in my calendar. I also double check my calendar, and update it if needed.

9:30 am – 10:00 am: go to law school for class.

I try to leave the house at a similar time each day, and everyday my first class is at 10:00 am. The rest of my can vary a LOT, depending on what classes I have that day. I tried to pick the schedule that tends to be most consistent, though.

10:00 am – 12:45 pm: Classes.

On Wednesdays I have my writing class and Constitutional law in the morning.

12:50 pm – 1:50 pm: Lunch Hour

William and Mary Law doesn’t have classes during this hour, so there are a lot of lunch meetings. Sometimes I will go see speakers, sometimes I will get work done in the cafe, and sometimes I will run off campus to get a coffee and lunch. My lunch hour tends to vary.

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm: Class

In the afternoon, I have property. Last semester I had torts at this time. I’m not a huge fan of afternoon classes, but unfortunately they are very common in law school.

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm: change, go to gym.

I usually spend a good portion of the afternoon getting in a good workout. I bike and use the elliptical most days. Some days I do squats, lunges, crunches, etc. I try to mix up my routine everyday because I get bored when I do the same sequence.

5:15 pm – 6:30 pm: cook dinner, eat, do some email management while I eat or watch Gilmore Girls (or whatever else I feel like watching).

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6:30 pm – 7:45 pm: read/do work.

This time is usually spent reading for my classes, outlining if its later in the semester, or working on a memo for my writing class.

7:45 pm- 8:00 pm: get snack/dessert.

Usually lactose free cookies and cream ice cream or popcorn.

8:00 pm – 9:30 pm: read/do work

See above!

9:30 pm – 11:00 pm: call home, watch Netflix, browse social media.

At the end of a long day, I light candles in my room, get into bed, and will usually begin winding down by calling my family. I talk to them for a bit, then watch Netflix while browsing social media (usually Instagram).

11:05 pm: lights out.

There you have it! I tend to try to stay pretty consistent, so even if my days don’t look exactly alike, my weeks are all pretty similar. I have a slightly altered routine for each day, depending on course schedule and meetings.

I hope this was interesting!

Truly,

Callie leigh

Getting Formal

Hello, World!

With prom and formal season approaching quickly, I thought it would be helpful to share my hints for making the most of your night! I believe that the key to a successful formal or prom night is feeling amazing in what you’re wearing. When I was in high school, prom season was always a bit scary. I wanted the perfect dress, complimented by the best jewelry, a pretty hair style, and effortless, red carpet ready makeup.

After high school, formal events weren’t really on my radar. My college didn’t have greek life, so we didn’t have sorority formal, and we also didn’t have “formal” dances. Interestingly enough, law school has a prom type event. Last weekend was Barrister’s Ball, an annual event held at law schools in common law countries. It was a blast, and it was the first time I really dressed up since my sister’s wedding!

It was so fun to get all glam. My normal glam squad (aka my sister and mom) are all the way in CA. Luckily, my roommate helped me apply some fake tan (I use Josie Maran; I was wearing black and my skin hasn’t seen the sun since September). We went and got mani-pedis, and I got my makeup done at Ulta (more on that to come in a future post). Getting super fancy is so much fun, but sometimes its hard to know the right thing to wear for different functions. For example, there were a lot of mixed messages about how formal the Ball was supposed to be. Here are some examples of what my friends and I wore:

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I have four commandments for formal wear that I want to share!

  1. Get a dress that you feel incredible in. Try on as many dresses as you need to until you find the one that makes you feel like Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn or your personal style icon. Loving the dress will mean you wear it more confidently.
  2. Treat yourself to the royal treatment. In preparation for a super formal event, I usually light candles, put on a great playlist, and wear my favorite robe around. I feel a little more glamorous, which makes the getting ready process more fun.
  3. Wear the makeup you want to wear. I think with formal wear there is pressure to really amp up your glam. If this is what you like, you should totally go for it! However, if you love subtle makeup, don’t be afraid to wear less. Or pull an Alicia Keys, and don’t wear any!
  4. Jewelry is like icing on a cake – too much can make you unhappy and too little can leave you wanting. I usually go less heavy on jewelry, especially as I get older. In high school, I wore bracelets, earrings, a necklace, etc. Now, I figure out what I think will most compliment the dress and myself in the dress. With the above look, I only wore large, fun earrings!

I think girls sometimes have it easier – I know, I know, don’t object yet – because there is such a plethora of input (go read Seventeen or Cosmo or any website), and you can easily figure out what is appropriate. However, menswear is a bit trickier. There isn’t the same amount of access to information for menswear that there is for women. Additionally, to be completely transparent, most men just ask their date what to wear. I don’t know about you, but when my dates would ask me, I would just give them a color (to match my dress), but leave out any real detail, or any real answer for that matter. Luckily, The Black Tux put together a detailed but quick cheat sheet for proper menswear for various events.

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Next time your date for prom or formal asks what to wear, you can be more specific. Or, if you’re having a formal date night with your boyfriend, you can help him dress accordingly. For those of you with brothers, you can help him be fashionable and make the right choice for his next date/formal event. When I’m home, my dad usually asks my opinion on fashion related things. I do my best, but menswear isn’t my specialty. If you’re in a similar boat, this cheat sheet helps! Dressing well can be expensive, but an option I recommend (especially for prom or formal), is renting! Men can choose from a great selection of menswear to make them look their best.

Most guys and girls get into a bit of a rut in their everyday dress. However, with formal events girls at least have an opportunity to really mix it up. Guys, on the other hand, tend to stick to roughly two options (tux or tux). This guide from The Black Tux encourages a little more creativity, and gives specifics about what exactly should be worn according to what the dress code is. When you’re sure of the pieces you need, it’s easier to have the confidence to get more creative with what version of those pieces you select! For example, if you know you need a sport coat, trousers, and a button down, you may be more willing to pick a patterned button down because you’re no longer worrying about what kind of shirt to wear.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Truly,
Callie leigh

My First Snow Storm

Hello, World.

When I returned to Williamsburg for second semester, I had a bit of a weather issue. I was flying in on January 6, which was the night a huge snow storm was supposed to come in. I had a layover in Atlanta, and was delayed for nearly 3 hours. I then landed to find a few inches of snow already fallen. The next morning, I woke up to a winter wonderland! The first two days of the semester got cancelled because of the weather (this town sort of shuts down when there’s a lot of snow). The amount of snow that fell over two days was double the annual snowfall for the area. While it was inconvenient, it was absolutely beautiful when I woke up Saturday morning!

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William and Mary is seriously breathtaking in the snow. I tried to capture as many photos as possible while the snow lasted!

Truly,
Callie leigh

Finding Study Inspiration

Hello, World.

As we get further into the semester, it feels like we’re already in the trenches, even though it also feels like we just got drafted. So, I wanted to share my top five tips for getting study inspiration on the days that you aren’t necessarily feeling studying, but have to anyway.

Some days, I am extremely focused from the minute I get up, and other days I just can’t quite dedicate myself as effortlessly (even though I will get the work done). I’m sure I’m not the only person who has “off” days in terms of focus because we aren’t robots. If you do have the constant drive and focus though, props to you!

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I was talking about this post with my roommates and used the term “studyspo” and they were both confused. Apparently that’s not used outside of a hashtag, but whatever I’m going to pull a Gretchen Wieners and try to make it happen. So, when you need some study inspiration studyspo, look to the five places I’m going to share with you.

  1. TUMBLR. I follow SO many student tumblrs and they share so many study photos, which immediately makes me want to be productive. Some of my favorite blogs are Lawyering in Lilly, Law School in Lilly, and Study Spaces.
  2. #studyspo. In Instagram, when I need a little inspiration or motivation, I search the hashtag studyspo, and this will usually inspire me after a few minutes of scrolling.
  3. Make a To-Do List. Sometimes my lack of motivation is coming from being unsure where to start because I have a lot on my plate. Making a to do list puts everything visually in front of me, and I can prioritize what I need to get done when.
  4. Get Outside. Feeling restless can sometimes be fixed by listening to yourself, and getting away from your desk for a bit. Whether it’s a walk around the block, a trip to the gym, a fifteen minute meditation, listening to your restlessness, rather than fighting it, can often restore focus.
  5. Make some tea, eat a chocolate, inhale deeply. Some days I have trouble getting focused, and the first four attempts to get focused have failed me already. At this point, I make a cup of my favorite tea, eat a piece of chocolate, and inhale. Then I put my nose to the ground, and pump out an hour of work putting my phone on do not disturb, and forcing everything distracting out.

While the above tips may not seem immediately helpful, I suggest you try them one at a time. Finding focus can be hard, but I promise it’s doable. And if you’re a serious student or Type-A worker, you know that focus isn’t exactly optional. Sometimes we just have to get the work done, whether we want to or not.

What’s your go to method for finding inspiration?

Truly,

Callie leigh

December Daily Week 2

Hello, World!

Today I am happy to share December Daily, week 2 with you! I seriously love this project, just as much as I love the holiday season. I was also really proud of how my album turned out this year because I was able to dedicate time each day to it. I used the album as a study break, a creative outlet in the midst of finals season! Hope you like my pages.

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In case you missed week one, click here.

Truly,
Callie leigh

Reflecting on 1L Fall

Hello, World.

I wanted to pop in to share some reflections about my first semester of law school. By now you may be wondering if my experience is like all those movies you see about law school, or the articles you’ve read (or you’re not wondering at all, but are reading anyway, which is perfectly fine too!). In many ways, you’ve watched most aspects of my law school journey so far (applying, choosing a school, etc.). It’s been a crazy time, and it feels good to be done with my first semester. They say this is typically the most difficult semester in terms of getting used to being in law school. I wanted to share the ups and downs and everything in between because it’s been a bit insane getting used to law school. I felt like college was an easier transition, but law schools be an adjustment.

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I will say that law school is not necessarily as scary as I though it would be. It’s intimidating, and makes you question yourself, sure. But it’s not The Paper Chase level scary, so I feel blessed for that. My professors were very helpful, and had good intentions. They weren’t out to get us or make us feel dumb, rather they wanted us to start thinking like lawyers, see things differently, and figure out how to be successful.

They emphasized that grades aren’t everything, and I even had a professor cancel class when she discovered we had 3 exams in a week in the middle of the semester. She didn’t want us to be overwhelmed, and that was a lovely thing that I definitely wasn’t expecting. I think the important thing to remember is that law school is very school/community specific. Everyone is going to have a slightly different experience, and that’s something that is similar to undergraduate experiences.

An aspect of law school that I wasn’t necessarily anticipating is the self-doubt that I felt for much of the semester. I’ve always been fairly confident in my abilities, and while I’ve had self-doubt in the academic realm, it’s never been so severe and constant. I wrote a longer post about imposter syndrome if you want to hear more about this.

Another thing I wasn’t anticipating? Having health issues for much of the first part of the semester. Basically, I constantly felt ill, and it affected my social and academic life. Thankfully, I finally made it to a doctor and got some medication, and now I feel great, which makes my focus and level of enthusiasm about law school a lot better! But again, I took a step back from everything (but continued studying as much as I could), and that was really hard. It was also hard not being near my typical support system because I was trying to hide my chronic sick feeling, which made some people annoyed or unable to understand. I probably should have been more open, but the more I talked about it, the more stressed I got, and the worse I felt.

BUT anyway, another thing I did not realize is how much of my drive and motivation comes from my family, and how not being around them was taking a toll on me. When Thanksgiving came, a lot of people were like “oh you’re going to get so much done since you’re not going home,” and they were really optimistic about me being here for break. I think what they were missing, though, is that while they had all seen their families a few times, I had not, and it was starting to make me bitter. It was no ones’ fault, but I started resenting every time someone tried to tell me it was okay I hadn’t seen my family. Honestly, all I really wanted was for someone to say, “yeah, that f***ing sucks.” But I get to fly home tomorrow and I’M SO HAPPY. I think I’m doing okay now, as the homesickness was far worse when I was feeling ill. In all honesty, transferring was getting more and more appealing until I finally started feeling better. I think if anything being away from family forced me to grow up a bit more and become more self-sufficient. I imagine this will only become more true as I stay at William and Mary Law.

Professional level school is much more individual, and not as community driven. While, yes, William and Mary has an amazing community, and is a great place that I love dearly and feel blessed to attend, law school in general is not like undergrad. This is expected, obviously, but I think after leaving Saint Mary’s, which is so close knit and community based, whatever I did or where ever I went afterward would feel a bit less like a community.

Finally, it feels so interesting to actually be on the east coast, a place I’ve wanted to live for about 10 years. I do get what Warner (Legally Blonde) meant when he said, “east coast people are different.” They are. Not in a bad way, they’re just different. So, it’s interesting meeting people from all over the east coast, and learning how different the country is over here, as opposed to California, which is pretty much it’s own haven!

I’m fulfilling a dream, and that feels good. I think law school is hard, but it’s supposed to be hard. It’s a re-training in many ways. Re-training how you think, how you approach issues, how you evaluate the things around you, etc. I’m really enjoying the work. The work is what’s important.

So, now I’m excited to take a break, re-charge, and get back to it come January when I begin Constitutional Law (!!!), Contracts, and Property!

Truly,
Callie leigh

Update: Law School

Hello, World.

Since I shared Evelyn, Sam, and Carina’s first 8 weeks in law school, I felt like it’d also be good to share my own perspective and experience. I think getting various perspectives is a really good idea if law school is something you’re considering because law school is a HUGE commitment, and its important to make sure you’re making the right decision when and if you decide to attend. With the being said, I think law school is a really rewarding, though difficult, experience.  I used to think it was unrealistic when people in law school would say that it should be treated like a 9-5 job. I understood this was a good idea, but I also felt like it was a bit extreme. I was wrong. Treating it like a full time job is important, and taking it way more seriously than any schooling you’ve had previously is vital.

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So, anyway, let’s talk about my first two (more like two and a half) months of law school.

On Monday, I took the third of my three midterms, and last week I submitted the ungraded teaching memorandum for legal writing. To say the last few weeks embodied all that makes law school difficult and stressful would be an understatement. Among making outlines, writing and re-writing a discussion section, and staying on top of the reading for each class, I worked seven days a week for two and a half weeks. That’s abnormal for me, usually I try to take a full day off. But alas, I was overcome with a feeling of accomplishment when I finished it all because one thing I wasn’t expecting from law school was that I would wake up most days questioning why I even decided to come to law school. While I enjoy the work, the self-doubt that consumes a lot of law students their first year is a lot more prevalent than I prepared for. I went to a talk on imposter syndrome a few days back, and it really resonated with me. Law students have similar personalities when it comes to academics. Most of us were the top students at our various universities, many worked really interesting jobs for at least a year, and most of us give our academic work 110%. We do all this work, but we can’t escape the ever-present voice in our heads reminding us of the unforgiving curve, reminding us that all this work may not actually be enough if we fall below the mean. It’s a scary thought, and it’s honestly a bit of a culture shock acknowledging that you may not be the A student you once were. BUT THAT’S OKAY.

One thing I love about William and Mary is that all the professors and staff constantly remind us that we’re doing our best, and that we’re just fine. The emphasis that grades aren’t everything is also really helpful. My criminal law professor, before our midterm, told us not to stress and that even though we’ve been here for two months, we still don’t know much, and we’re not expected to know everything. So that’s always helpful in terms of staying sane!

I love the work we do. I love reading cases, and preparing for class, and I get a rush when I do well on a cold call. I feel excited when I get an assignment, and I have a weird amount of fun when I outline. I love synthesizing what we’ve learned, and I love attempting to master the material. I adore most of my classmates, and I like that I’m surrounded by so many driven, smart people because it pushes me to be even better. I want to get more involved in the future, but for now I’m just enjoying this new challenge, and learning to navigate the law school world.

I think the thing that’s been most helpful for me is having a really strong group of friends. I can be so honest about what’s stressing me out, or the overwhelmed feeling of having a midterm, and they totally relate. My friends also stress the importance of having fun outside of the school. Whether we grab lunch at Aroma’s, or go to an event in Colonial Williamsburg, we encourage each other to take a break and get outside and see the world outside the walls of the law school. The books are important, but burning out is real, and it’s important to remember to take a break.

In general, law school is different than I imagined it would be, but that doesn’t mean it’s negative. I love law school, even if I am stressed all the time. But hey, if law school was easy, more people would be lawyers.

Truly,

Callie leigh