Wrinkles, Hair Loss, and Night Guards … Oh My

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Hello, World!

Today I am here with that I think is a funny post. I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day, and I was listing out things I know use daily that I never thought I would need until I’m much older. I suppose law school stress has affected the chemical makeup of my body or changed me in ways I can no longer reverse without a little help. One of my best college friends, who is in law school in California, sent me a meme one day about how sometimes you look in the mirror and think “wow I look tired,” and then all the sudden you find yourself looking into the mirror, almost daily, and think “oh, this is just my face now.”

At the beginning of my second year of law school, I noticed that my forehead was starting to have lines… wrinkles if you will. I thought maybe it was from sleeping… but then I realized I don’t sleep on my face. So, I ordered an anti-wrinkle serum to apply nightly. I followed a recommendation of another blogger and ordered the Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate. I apply it nightly before bed, along with a moisturizer. It’s helping reduce the appearance of the lines, but they remain. Honestly, at 23, I never thought anti-wrinkle anything would be part of my beauty routine.

Then, the last time my sister did my hair, she commented on its thickness… or should I say thinness? She described it as almost menopausal, as I’d lost more than half my thickness. I’d noticed that my hair was falling out, but thought it was just stress and moved on. But then my sister encouraged me to ask my doctor because the level of loss was really abnormal. We still don’t know the exact cause of my hair loss, but I’ve started a daily multi-vitamin with biotin to help foster hair growth. I also loaded up on various hair thickening products. I’ve always been a bit unhappy with the thickness of my hair, but this reached a new level. I have these baby hairs around my face I never had two years ago, and I feel like my hair looks so thin when I try to style it. It’s something I’m very insecure about and makes me hate styling my hair because I just don’t feel good about it. I’m also trying to get back to eating healthier and living a healthier lifestyle, as when I was eating really well my hair looked the best it ever did. Still, I never thought hair loss would be something I was dealing with at 23.

When I visited my dentist last, he mentioned that I’m grinding my teeth. This I knew. I could feel it in my jaw after sleeping and knew my teeth were getting more and more sensitive. So, he fitted me for a night guard. Both my parents have night guards, but I never really thought I would need one this young. I guess grinding teeth is more stress related than age-specific, but still… add it to the list of things I never thought I’d need at 23.

Something I’ve often alluded to in blog posts was my struggle to adjust to living in Virginia and the stress of law school. I had health issues for months when I first moved. I never felt good, I often felt like I had the flu, and my stomach hurt every time I ate. So, I didn’t really eat anything but soup. Then I went to a gastrointestinal specialist, who said he thought I either had Chron’s or something else and said we could start with medication and go from there. So, two years later, I’m on a stomach medication that I take with meals. I don’t love taking medication, I’m the person who stubbornly avoids cold medicine and allergy medication. But, without my stomach medication, I have severe cramping when I eat. I love to eat, so obviously, this isn’t ideal. Did I think, two years ago when I was doing great and feeling great, that I’d need daily stomach medication? No. Has it become normal to me? Yes. This might be TMI, sharing this, but I think sometimes we struggle with things alone that other people may also be dealing with. I also think it’s easy to only share the positives, and ignore the negatives, which creates a distorted picture of who we are.

I’ve always struggled with anxiety. While I’m not overly vocal about it on my blog, I think I’ve been transparent that I’m an anxious person. One of my friends, who also has a lot of anxieties, recently said “we have a lot of the same anxieties. I thought I was the only one.” Having anxiety is really hard and can feel so isolating. Some people don’t have the patience or simply don’t know how to handle people with anxiety, and that can feel like they don’t care about you enough to try. One of the reasons I started reading Carly the Prepster was because she voiced so many truths about anxiety that resonated with me. I didn’t feel so alone about it. Even when we feel alone, we often aren’t, which we would realize if we’re brave enough to talk about our struggles with others.

So, I wanted to share that I use or have issues with all of this simply because some of you might be dealing with similar problems or similar stresses and thinking your body is reacting abnormally. If you read this and thought, “wow she’s got problems,” you’re not wrong, but I hope this post shed light that we all deal with things that aren’t visible on the surface and that people are good at hiding when they want to, so have empathy and don’t make assumptions!

Truly,
Callie leigh

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Overcoming Self Doubt

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Hello, World.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posts you might like if you enjoyed this post:

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

When You Can’t Find Your Place, Create It 

Read this when … someone massively disappoints you

1L In Review

Truly,

Callie leigh

 

Handling Rejection with Grace: Jobs, Relationships, and Life

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Hello, World.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Truly,
Callie leigh

 

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

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Hello, World.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the worst part of applying to law school?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Intoducing the Warby Parker Archive Collection

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Hello, World.

While some people may say that a new hair color, colored contacts, or a great new outfit can make someone feel like a new person, I’m of the opinion that a great pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses can add just the right touch to your look. Although I don’t wear my glasses every day, I always enjoy picking out new frames. One of my favorite places to get new frames? Warby Parker. Warby Parker is a great company that designs chic, affordable frames if you’re in need of a new pair of eyeglass. Many eyeglass frames offered at your optometrist or other sellers are so expensive, and often the design selection is limited. Warby Parker, however, produces young, unique designs for under $100 (!!!). Warby Parker not only has a great selection of eyeglasses but also carries various sunglasses styles as well.

A few weeks ago in my business associations class, we were talking about social responsibility for companies, and Warby Parker immediately popped into my head. Not only do they offer amazing prices for designer eyewear, they also give a pair of glasses every time you buy a pair. The mission of Warby Parker is one I stand behind 100%, which is why I’m so thrilled to share the new Archive Collection with you today!

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The Archive Collection is a group of mixed-material frames that are hand-assembled and hand-finished by a master craftsman in Japan. The Collection includes five new styles in seven color combinations that are so distinctive you’re unlikely to find such unique frames elsewhere. Just in time for fall, the collection features Rosewood Tortoise and Burnt Amber Tortoise with Navy, Auburn, and Merlot hues. One thing that always irritates me about my glasses is when they start to slip over time, but the new Collection from Warby Parker has adjustable silicone nose pads for an easy, anti-slip fit. To celebrate the launch of the new Collection, I put together some outfits that I would wear with the various frames! I think the subtle, but distinct details of the styles allow them to pair nicely with casual outfits or more polished outfits.

First up in my outfit pairings is the Webster frame that features chic tortoise and a navy rim. I adore this frame because I think it has a vintage look with a modern twist. Wireframes seem to be a thing of the past, but they’re definitely making a come back, and I’m loving the trend. I think tortoise makes any frame more versatile, and I adore pairing tortoise with navy, along with the clear bridge! Fun fact? I don’t always wear my glasses because I think they make my nose look bigger. If you suffer from the same issue, a clear bridge will likely alleviate that problem! I would wear this frame with the outfit below, which features rich textures, such as suede, leather, and chunky knits. I think this outfit would be great for studying all day and heading to a cozy dinner in the evening!

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Next up is the Dewey frame, which honestly… what’s not to love? I have a wider face, and this frame’s arched corners would likely compliment my face shape! I love the merlot hues paired with gold finishes and a darker tortoise. I think this frame would be perfect for fall days studying or working followed by pumpkin patch visits and cozying up with apple cider donuts! My outfit inspiration for this frame comes from spending an afternoon wandering the cobblestone streets of a European inspired town. Burgundy over-the-knee boots compliment the merlot rim, gold details in the bag and watch bring out the golden tones in the frame. I also love pairing tailored pieces with chunky knits! The two textures can be unconventional and distinctive, which I think is the perfect outfit to pair with the new Dewey frame.

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The Carraway sunglasses are so classic, especially in black with a small golden detail on the bridge. The sunglasses are a pair I could see being a staple for years to come that never fade from style. I paired them with a casual look to show they can be dressed down or worn with a classic black dress and pearls. Either look would compliment the frame. However, I like them with a lightweight sweatshirt, boyfriend jeans, two-tone tote, and leopard slide loafers. Mixing patterns and textures in the outfit makes classic sunglasses a must!

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The thing I like most about the Archive Collection is the how versatile each frame is. I think regardless of which frame your purchase, it can be worn daily with anything in your closet. Glasses are an accessory many people forget about. If you’re a young professional like me, wearing outfits that are “business casual” or slightly more formal than your typical everyday look, I think the Archive Collection offers amazing options for frames. I love the Webster frame with a tortoise rim and black on top. Sleek but bold, the frame can easily be paired with a funky blazer, crisp blouse, jeans, loafers, and your briefcase. I describe this look as the “What she tackles, she conquers” look, which would be worn while prepping for a job interview, while getting coffee with a networking contact, or meeting with other young professionals!

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I would highly recommend checking out the new Archive Collection because Warby Parker offers great eyeglasses and sunglasses for the new season. The mission behind the company is what initially attracted me to their glasses, but the beautiful designs and unique color combinations are what keep me coming back.

What do you think of the new collection?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Stylish Academic’s Guide to Prepping for Finals Early

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Hello, World.

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

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

How do you prep for class or finals?

Truly,

Callie leigh

3 Steps to Improved Grades

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Hello, World.

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

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

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

Step Two: Review at the End of Each Week 

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

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

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

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

Truly,

Callie leigh

 

Stylish Academic’s Guide to Studying in a Coffee Shop

If a friend treats your with the same tenderness they'd treat gum on their shoe, they may not be your friend. (3).png

Hello, World.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Truly,

Callie leigh

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