Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Final Exams: Learning How to Deal with Post-Exam Stress

Happy New Year Everyone, I hope final exams treated you well and if not, I hope you realize that it is not the end of the world. Exams are tough, we’ve all felt that nervousness after finishing an exam. Did I do well? Could I have done better? As a third-year law student, I want to tell you that you did everything you could. Also, it is always important to keep in mind that we are graded on a curve. Therefore, you will probably do better than expected and even if you do not, a bad grade is not the end of the world.

One of the best qualities a lawyer can have is to remain cool and collected when times are stressful. As lawyers, we will have to deal with much more stressful things than final exams. Consequently, it is important to learn how to deal with emotions, specifically when pursuing a career in the legal field. As hard as it sounds, it is something that we MUST learn.

I consider myself a very calm person, however, even the most relaxed person can get stressed. When that happens, exercising and hanging out with friends and/or family is very important. Having fun, relaxing, binge watching that show that you’ve been dying to start, and forgetting about how you did or could have done in an exam is NECESSARY. To put it in the legal “lingo,” no reasonable person would worry about the things they cannot change, so why torture yourself? Relax, be proud of your efforts, and acknowledge there is always room for improvement.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Fall Finals Are S(no)w Joke

Hello again, Jury of Peers! Today we’re talking finals, and as the title suggests: they are no joke.

So, you get a reading week; you get four days between finals; and yet, there is no way to prepare for what comes at you. We all studied and studied ad infinitum and still many of us didn’t get the grades we wanted or the grades we are used to. Only the coveted few get the highly reached for A+ grade. Law school finals are a different kind of beast because unlike undergraduate exams, law school finals bite back. I had no idea that wrangling a full-page fact pattern for three hours would completely exhaust me the way it did. After finals ended my study group and I went to get dinner and unpack what had just happened to us over lots of soup dumplings. (Big shout-out to Matthew and Hira!)

Truth be told, during winter break, I really unplugged. I went back home to Las Vegas and I let myself take a break. And I did not let myself feel guilty about vegging out on the couch. I got to see my family and spend time with my best friends from high school. I realize that I won’t have many true breaks left before I enter the working world, so I’m trying to take them in stride.

But what’s next? Spring semester is here and I came back a little less jazzed than I did in fall. But that could just be because I know how tired I’ll be by the end of April. I’m excited to take you on this journey for my second semester of 1L, and as usual, if you see me on campus come over and say hi!

I’ll see you in the next one,


Kelsey’s Club: Post-Finals Food That Heals Your Soul
-Din Tai Fung

Friday, February 14, 2020

My Winter Break

Happy New Year friends and welcome back to the Jury of Peers! School is now officially back in session, but let’s just take this time to revel a little longer in the memory of winter break. Correction: my last winter break EVER!

One thing I noticed about this fall was how different the structure of final exams in upper level classes compared to 1L courses. This fall, my finals consisted of take-home essay exams and bar exam-style multiple choice questions. The take-homes encouraged and allowed me to be more thoughtful and thorough with my responses instead of being frantic or feeling intimated about regurgitating everything I had learned in the semester in a somewhat comprehensible fashion. In contrast, the bar exam-style finals allowed me to work under timed scenarios on the rule application, reading comprehension, and problem-solving skills that are essential to succeeding on the bar. Another noticeable difference from the exam seasons of previous semesters was how spaced out my exams were. Sure I finished finals later then some other students, but I think I was better able to prepare this semester because I was able to focus my attention on which exam was coming up next rather than having everything back-to-back.

Since I am officially one semester away from graduation, I wanted to spend my winter break enjoying my time, focusing on myself, relaxing, and figuring out everything I want to experience and do during my last semester of law school. The last 2.5 years have been action-packed and have gone by in a blur so I wanted to make sure that I was ready to take on the last semester of law school and my educational career. On top of it, this past fall semester was mentally taxing and exhausting due to starting to think about and prepare for the bar next July, working while going to school full-time, commuting (OH THE COMMUTE), making sure I was taking enough classes to finish my transactional entertainment concentration and graduate, planning my last semester of courses, studying and taking finals, etc. etc. etc. Thus, I wanted to spend winter break in the most low-key way possible – with minimal effort, thinking about school, and worrying about everything and anything most of which are inevitably out of my control. My winter break therefore consisted of spending time with loved ones, catching up with friends, sleeping in, watching movies, finding and trying new foods, enjoying the holidays, and basically catching up with everything and everyone that may have taken a backseat during the semester and especially during finals week.

With my first week of the spring semester done, I’m ready to see what’s in store. Until next time friends!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

My Winter Break

And just like that I’m one semester away from graduating law school! I remember being a first-year law student and seeing the graduation date of “May 2020” and thinking how far away it sounded. It’s hard to believe that in just 5 months I will have completed my legal education and be set to take the July 2020 Bar Exam.

Last semester was probably my favorite semester of law school thus far. My classes were practical and interesting, allowing me to explore non-traditional areas of law, and I was working at a job I really enjoyed. To make things even better, I was fortunate enough to only have two traditional “final exams.” In my Legal Drafting class, our final was to draft a Complaint and in my Disability Rights course I wrote a final paper. As someone who enjoys legal writing and is often overcome by test anxiety, I was excited to have my final assessments structured differently.

After finishing exams and turning in my final assignments, it was time to enjoy winter break. In the few weeks we had off, I traveled, relaxed, and prepared for the upcoming semester. While I didn’t go far, my trips to San Jose and Las Vegas were fun and allowed me to reconnect with friends who I don’t get to see regularly because of our busy schedules.

With two and a half years of legal education under my belt, I think it’s safe to say that I am a different person than when I started law school. As a result of these past few years, I have become a more critical thinker and a more logical person. Contrary to what people may think, however, I also gained a sense of empathy and homed in on my interpersonal skills. Through the various jobs I had during law school, I was able to see the human-interest aspect of the legal field, always keeping in mind that at the end of the day it is someone’s livelihood, well-being, health, or finances on the line.

Monday, February 10, 2020

My Winter Break

My experience with exams this past fall semester was very different than my experience as a 1L. As a 1L you take exams for all of your classes, some of them are midterms and some of them are finals. Nonetheless they all seem equally daunting and terrifying. As a 2L however, I had the opportunity to take classes I was interested in in addition to my required bar courses, and that made the experience more enjoyable. As a 2L, I also had a combination of essay exams, projects and traditional closed-book exams. This definitely alleviated some of the exhaustion I felt as a 1L. Having the ability to switch between memorizing large quantities of information, and essay-writing of narrow prompts definitely provided a different (and welcome) pace to the end of the year exams. What I missed from 1L was the comradery of testing with your section. For me it was nice talking to people who were just as stressed out as me until the very end. Having people to study with and commiserate was such an important part of 1L that I missed it as a 2L. This semester some of my friends were done with exams while I was still in finals mode, so when I went on social media, I saw with a little envy how relaxed they were!

Now at the half-point of law school, it is refreshing to realize that everything has turned out fine. As a 1L, I was definitely panicked about every single thing in law school. Much of the anxiety I felt I believe came from the fact that I was navigating strange waters. As the first in my family to go to law school, everything has been new and unfamiliar. While I am still anxious for what is yet to come, I have definitely learned to let certain things go. I also find it comforting that the last year and half has just flown by. I am looking forward to the next 18 months, as I continue to approach my goal of becoming an attorney.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Keeping Balance

We’re about three months into the Fall semester and finals are right around the corner. The Byrne Trial Team is finished for the term and my day-to-day schedule freed up considerably for a few days. But the short break has already ended and one job leads directly to the next. Now, those of us who decided to take Ethical Lawyering this semester have our mock interviews to prepare for and a sizeable portion of us who also have the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (the “MPRE”) to study for and take in early November. I was also able to start working about fifteen hours every week at Goodkin APC, the real estate litigation firm I worked at over the summer. Work actually helps to put the enormity of “THE LAW” into perspective and allows me to incorporate my classwork in surprisingly relevant ways.

For example, in my Business Associations (“BA”) class we had just learned about something called the Business Judgment Rule, or BJR. To give you a little preview of BA, the BJR is an automatic presumption that directors in corporations have fulfilled their fiduciary duties for ordinary business decisions and can be overcome (generally speaking) by showing that the director acted with bad faith or gross negligence. Sure enough, my very first day back in the office my assignment was to research the applicability of the BJR in California for homeowners’ associations. BA is actually my favorite class this semester and I’m really happy to have the opportunity to practice with a lot of the concepts I’ve learned in the class!

But work and school aren’t everything. Ever since Byrne ended, I’ve also made a deliberate effort to spend more time with my friends and family. While I was prepping for competition, I had zero time to spend on anything else. I was either in law review, class, practice, writing scripts, or asleep. I didn’t see much of my friends or Clau, my wife. Since then, I’ve made sure to have two Korean barbeque nights with the old study group, the Geriatric Society, and I always spend my evenings with Clau – whether we go out to dinner or just stay in. It is nice to stay busy and but it’s never too busy for a few hours a week to spend with the people you love.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

3L Fall

I’m in my final year of law school, and I can’t believe it! Everyone said that 3L would be a breeze and that I’d probably have the most free time compared to any of the previous years. But actually, I probably have one of the most busiest schedules that I’ve had at Loyola this semester! This year I’m really focusing on completing my transactional entertainment concentration, taking all the requisite classes (plus bar classes), and gaining invaluable legal experience in the industry. So what does a typical day for me look like this year?

  • 6:30 am: Wake up, get ready for my day, pack up for school and work, and make my breakfast to-go (Note: this time will 100% get pushed back because I hit snooze at least three times before I finally get up).
  • 7:30 am: Head to Hollywood for my externship. I live in the San Gabriel Valley, which distance-wise isn’t that far from Hollywood. But when you factor in the traffic, construction, and road closures, it’s very easily an hour and a half to two hour commute to Hollywood. Even though it doesn’t take two hours to get to Hollywood every time, I still try to take into consideration that there are factors out of my control, and that if I get there early, I can do some homework, eat my breakfast, or get settled in for the day. Some would say that this crazy long commute isn’t worth it, but for me, getting practical working experience in the entertainment industry is worth it because I’m working toward my goal of becoming an attorney in the entertainment industry. And besides, everyone has to start somewhere, even the attorneys!

  • 9:30 am – 1:30 pm: Externship. This semester, I’m working as a legal intern for NuMedia Studios, which is located on the Jim Henson Studio Lot. This position primarily requires conducting research and writing corresponding memo and assisting the law clerk and attorney with whatever projects they need to complete. My goals for this externship are to improve my legal research and writing skills and gain more familiarity with the two main research providers so that I can be quicker and more efficient with my time.
  • 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm: Commute to Loyola.

  • 2:30 – 3:20 pm: Lunch and prepare for class. During my 1L, I learned that any free time is a good time to be productive. So during this free time between work and classes, I make sure I’m putting it to good use by reviewing notes from the prior class, catching up on reading, or making sure that I’m ready for Trademark class at 3:20 pm.
  • 3:20 – 4:50 pm: Trademark class. This has to be one of my favorite classes this semester because the professor is so engaging, the law is so fascinating, and it is always so interesting to learn what you can do under the law and what not to do from all the crazy things people have tried to pass off in the past. I think the biggest difference between this semester and previous semesters is that I’m finally able to take classes that are interesting to me as opposed to something that you are required to take by the ABA or have to learn for the Bar exam. This class is a step in the direction of completing my transactional entertainment concentration and helps me get to where I want to be in the future.
  • 4:50 – 5:59 pm: Break. I usually spend this break between classes grabbing a coffee or a snack, finishing up the reading, making phone calls, or taking a nap in my car. Like I said before, any free time is a good time to be productive (or at least catch some zzzzz’s!).
  • 6:00 – 8:00pm: Marital Property. This is my final class of the day and of the week! Marital Property is one of those classes that I need to take to graduate and prepare for the Bar. While I’m not necessarily planning on going into family law after I graduate and pass the bar, I’m taking the course to not only prepare for a subject tested on the bar but also learn about how California handles marriages, divorces, and everything in between. The process of getting married or getting divorced is something so common to every day life that we don’t really think too long or much of it, so it’s cool to learn about the processes and the systems that may directly or indirectly affect us or someone we know one day.
  • 8:01 pm – and beyond: Free for the weekend! After Marital Property is done, I usually do an internal end of the week dance because I survived another work week and school week. I’ll usually do one of three things after class: 1) Go home and have dinner, 2) Go to the gym and have dinner, or 3) Go to Disneyland and have dinner. At the end of every week, I always try to make time for myself to do something non-law related and fun.
On the weekends, I usually try to catch up on work and sleep, make sure I’m prepared for the week ahead, and spend any free time with loved ones.

This semester is going by so fast, we’re already half-way through! Stay tuned friends, there’s more to come! Until next time!