Friday, April 20, 2018

A Day In the Life of a Law Student

I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep up with hobbies outside of school while in law school. In fact, keeping up with my hobbies has helped me push through my most difficult moments in law school.

That being said, each day I make it a point to take at least an hour for myself. For me, exercising and going for a walk outside with my dogs are two things that need to get done. I am always surrounded by people at work and school, so I really value time alone to clear my head and I really enjoy exercising, so I make it a point to do some form of exercise each day. I also find that I spend a lot of time inside preparing for classes or when I’m tutoring, so I prioritize a daily walk outside (of course, if the weather permits, which it usually does since I’m in LA) because it helps me to ground myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Also, it makes my dogs happy… and who doesn’t love happy pups?

My days never look the same because I work as a tutor by appointment. This is something I’m working on because routine is really important for law school and for my own sanity because my schedule can get hectic. I try to go to the gym every morning, come home, check e-mails, make breakfast, walk my dogs, and either do my homework or head to a student. Evening students have class every night Monday-Thursday, so I sometimes just head to campus and work from there if I can.

Throughout the day, I also go on Instagram and research different things that I want to cook for my food blog. Some days I carve out a few hours just to create things because it’s a nice way to step back from everything I’m required to do and just do something for myself. Taking the time to do these things for myself has made a world of difference for my ability to handle the day-to-day pressures from work, school, professional commitments, and family commitments more than anything else.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Day in the Life of a 1L Student: Spring Semester Edition

Hello friends! Happy Spring! For us 1L students, spring semester offers a whole slew of different opportunities, experiences, duties and challenges. So let’s get started!

A typical day starts with an early morning drive to campus. Yes, driving from San Gabriel Valley means there’s a lot of traffic and a lot of one-on-one time with my car. Although it is a lengthy commute, it is a good time for me to collect my thoughts, catch up on current events, and just relax and listen to music before I have to sit for my lectures. So that’s definitely a positive!

 When I get to school, I head over to Sonia’s to fill up on coffee, water, and snacks before class starts, and then I kick into full gear brushing up on last night’s reading, taking notes, and preparing myself in case I get cold-called. This semester my schedule consists of three yearlong courses (Property, Civil Procedure, and Legal Writing) and two semester-long courses (Contracts and elective). After the first semester, students have a pretty good understanding of the school day flow; so although at times it can seem overwhelming, we pretty much know by now that everything is both doable and manageable. I think the only major difference between this semester and last is that there is a greater emphasis on applying for jobs and attending network events to establish meaningful connections.

Also, as I make my way through the day, I make sure to stop every once in a while and admire how pretty and colorful Loyola is in the springtime.

After class, I try to head home as soon as possible so as to avoid the afternoon rush hour. When I get home, I make sure to take a bit of a break from law school. Most of the time this consists of playing with my dog and taking her for a walk. Other times, I determine how to relax based on how the day has gone. If the day has been especially rough or tiresome, I indulge in a nap. If I have too much energy or anxiety, I head over to the gym and take care of my physical wellness. If I just need to separate myself from my work and have fun for the night, I head over to Disneyland. Despite all the readings and responsibilities that law schools entails, I think it’s very important to take breaks, care for oneself, and remember that there’s life and people outside of the law school bubble. And when I feel better and refreshed from taking the break, I hit the books and get started on homework for the following day.

Until next time friends!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Update On My Daily Activity

Managing the huge commitment that comes with beginning law school has become much easier as time has gone on. With only 1.5 months left in my tenure as a 1L, I feel like I have finally gotten a good and healthy rhythm down.

The first thing that I realized based on finishing the first semester is that making time for myself during the week is just as (if not more) important than studying. Law school is challenging and consuming, but it should not strangle you.

Therefore, I slightly changed my fall semester routine when the spring semester started to make sure that I do not burn out. I still wake up extremely early to make it from Westwood to DTLA before 8 AM (with time to get coffee, of course). I will definitely be moving closer to Loyola for the second year! I still go to all of my classes unless I am sick, and I still spend the majority of my day studying. However, I am much more fluid in my schedule.

Sometimes I study at Loyola, sometimes I study at home depending on my mood. I no longer fear getting stuck in traffic if I do not leave campus at a certain time because it just gives me more time in the car to blast Journey and Def Leppard. If I do not feel like studying right away when I get home, I don’t. I take a break, do something fun, and then study a little later.

Basically, I have realized that if I am not in the right mood while studying, I do not retain the information in the same way. Flexibility has changed my life during the second semester, and I have way more time to enjoy doing activities outside of studying. All in all, a win-win. And I will definitely be applying this same approach next year!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Law School: One Big Networking Opportunity

I feel like in every career, there is always an expectation that networking plays a role in landing a job. If I had a nickel for every time anyone in my life had told me, “It’s all about who you know”, I would not have any reason to be concerned about paying off my law school loans. I have heard that phrase over and over again for my entire life from people over a wide array of careers. What I have come to realize since beginning school at Loyola is that networking is VITAL to law school. It is not just something people say when they are complaining about not getting a specific job they want. (You know what I am talking about. You ask Johnny So-And-So if he got that job he interviewed for and he responds, “Nope. They only give out jobs to their friends and family. No one else has a chance.”)

Instead, it is a reality of getting a legal job. You HAVE to build your network. Honestly, I feel like many legal internships are pretty difficult to get, however, having a contact who either works for your dream company/firm or who knows someone there could be the difference between an email from a prospective employer beginning, “Congratulations” or one saying, “Unfortunately.” Trust me, I get it. Networking is scary. It feels uncomfortable, awkward, and unusual. I will be the first person to tell you how difficult it is to learn how to network. However, it is a skill that you are going to need to acquire. I have secured all of my jobs since beginning at Loyola through one avenue — networking. I cannot even begin to preach the importance it is to step outside your comfort zone, to talk to that professor, go to that networking event, reach out to your career development counselor, etc. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but as soon as you begin reaping the rewards of having mentors and contacts, you will be thankful that you did.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Networking and Career Development Services Opportunities

Loyola offers a ton of opportunities for students to learn about the practice of specific areas of law. Every school week is jam packed with panels, lunches, guest speakers and networking events geared toward keeping students mindful of their impending careers and the various opportunities out there.

I have attended the government and public interest fairs on campus, participated in OCI, and have attended various career-focused panel lunches. All of these events have been valuable for me, even if just to confirm that I was not interested in a particular area of practice. In fact, through a personal connection I was able to invite a guest speaker to come to campus and speak about his experiences as general counsel for a popular apparel brand. The talk was thoroughly engaging and cemented my interest in one day becoming in-house general counsel for a large organization.

The Career Development office takes great care to put on events focusing on all the different career options available to law school grads. Of course, OCI is the gold standard for getting into “Big Law,” but there are numerous events set up for students to explore public interest work, small firms, government work and more. Even if you’re interested in working as a solo practitioner, there are panels featuring successful solo attorneys. The bottom line is, no matter what career you intend to pursue, Loyola and the Career Development office has the experience and connections to help get you started.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Continuing My Legal Education Off Campus

The one thing I have looked forward to most since starting law school is finally getting off campus. Not that I don’t like digging into legal concepts – as I’ve said before, it’s actually a pretty fun exercise to learn about the concepts that drive the law, especially if you’re into subjects like philosophy or history.

But I came to Loyola specifically to be a public interest attorney, and I’m chomping at the bit to get started. Two years ago, I was working as a full-time freelance writer, supplementing my income with my side hustles. In the morning, I’d drive past the courthouse downtown and see people dressed up in suits; I envied how many of them had a career using their intellect to make positive changes in the city. In the evening – in between working at a family portrait studio in Silver Lake and cranking out articles about the L.A. music scene – I’d run laps around the park by my house and plot and scheme about how I, too, could contribute to the city in the same way. I registered for the LSAT, bought a practice book, and never looked back. Now, every class, every seminar, every final exam gets me closer to what I imagined on those evening runs.

This summer, I’ll be externing at the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and in the fall I’ll be externing in the chambers of a Federal District Court judge. I’m nervous and excited – I don’t know what the experiences will be like, and I’m sure there will be steep learning curves and plenty of entry-level awkwardness. At the same time, though, I know that even the work I contribute in my short tenures at those offices will contribute something to the work they do. And I’ll be a step closer to working every day to serve the city I call home.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Networking and Career Development Services Opportunities

Loyola gives students plenty of opportunities to network and explore areas of law that students are interested in practicing. I know that there are slightly more opportunities geared at 1Ls (first year day students) than 1Es (first year evening students), but I still feel like I’ve had ample opportunities to get my feet wet.

I’m very interested in public interest law, so I attended the public interest fair on campus and ultimately held a short internship with the Los Angeles LGBT Center as a result. I think it was a great experience to see what line of work I want to go into. 1Es generally do not need to visit the Career Development Office, but I have made an appointment with my counselor and it went really well! My counselor was able to answer all of the questions I had about internships, volunteer positions, and what the trajectory looks like for an evening student in terms of gaining experience in my area of interest.

From what I understand, there will be more opportunities available in my second year, so I’m definitely looking forward to that!