Monday, September 30, 2013

Moving back to Los Angeles and beginning a new chapter in my life

By Marlee, 1L

As I walked along Garnet Avenue, I reflected on my favorite times in San Diego. Brunching, beaching, and happy hour along the beach were activities leading up to the culmination of my residency in the city. I began my summer in Pacific Beach packing up my townhouse and reflecting on the past four years I had spent in one of the happiest places on earth. I was moving back to Los Angeles and beginning a new chapter in my life. Despite my attempts at denying the fact that I was no longer a college student, I knew it was going to be a summer different than its predecessors. The reality was, once August rolled around, I would no longer be stepping on to San Diego State’s campus as an Aztec, but I would be exploring downtown Los Angeles as a Loyola law student. By the time I had turned in my last bluebook, I realized I had expended too much effort on my
Graduation, Spring 2013
graduation plans, and not enough on planning my last summer before I embarked on the beginning of the most important journey of my life. While I did not know much about what my summer entailed, I knew for certain that my mind would be focused on the upcoming fall as a 1L. As I headed away from El Cajon and up the 405 North, stuck in hours of traffic I knew I would eventually have to grow accustomed to, I had a nagging thought in the back of my mind: to prepare for law school, or not to prepare for law school.

 Every lawyer, law student, or recent law school graduate that I interacted with pre-summer time, gave me their two-cents on the summer before law school game-plan. Some urged that I scour immediately and buy every single law prep book that has ever been written. I was ordered to read those sacred books from front to back, ten times, at least. While others, emphasized the importance of enjoying my free time, because once law school started, I would be thrown into a whirlwind of case briefing, outlining, and reading. Five freeway exits and one-hour later I finally determined I would take the latter approach. With that in mind, I almost immediately traveled to Hawaii with my boyfriend to spend a week snorkeling with sea turtles and hiking volcanos. I spent time with my family and beautiful two-year old nephew. I walked my two delightful wiener dogs who together rightfully serve as my best friend. I slept in as late as I possibly could and tried to inspire myself with a variety of self help literature downloadable to my Nook.

This search proved fruitless until, on a whim, I picked up a book called “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Anchor. Professor Anchor studies positive psychology and explains that an individual’s outlook on life has an enormous pull on whether or not that individual leads a happier, more successful, and fulfilled life. Professor Anchor wrote about his travels around the world, documenting his encounters with a wide array of individuals, coincidentally which included some first-year law students. He explored those in high-stress atmospheres and questioned why some sink and some swim. Not only did Professor Anchor preach his discoveries, but he learned from his audiences. This brilliant Harvard Professor discovered that happiness and positivity can lead to success in all aspects of your life. His book focuses on the idea that when someone enters into a situation with a positive outlook, they have a greater chance at a positive result. While I did not spend my summer reading the list of books provided by concerned friends and family, I did spend my summer learning about the importance of your mindset. Yes, I was still nervous about fumbling when it would eventually be my time to become the Socratic Method’s victim, not understanding the cases assigned, or, worse, failing at something I had worked so hard to accomplish. My summer of reading, relaxing, and reflecting prepared me mentally to be confident as I started my new school year and to embrace what was ahead with excitement, instead of fear.

With my new outlook guiding my way, I began looking for apartments, attending orientation, and mentally preparing myself for what was ahead. My books were ordered, Loyola apparel bought, and calendar filled according to my foreign syllabi. I knew August was going to be an interesting month because instead of sitting in Rush practice, I would be sitting in rush hour. School night activities would no longer consist of late night runs to Trujillos for a Sigma Pi burrito, but instead would be late night stops at Starbucks for espresso. A four-day week beginning no later than eleven would be replaced with a five-day week starting at eight. The time was here, I was about to transition from a care-free undergraduate to a serious and committed law student. I am three weeks in, and while my summer began with a bittersweet ending to one chapter, it was also an exciting transition to where I am now. While this new part of my life will undoubtedly be accompanied with the good, the bad, the scary, and the unknown, I could not be happier that I will be experiencing it all at Loyola.

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