Monday, October 7, 2013

What would I have changed about my summer (before law school)?

By Brittney, 1L

When my summer officially began, I proclaimed that I would spend the summer “getting ready for law school.” At the time I took that to mean traveling, relaxing, going to the beach, practicing my hobbies, and watching every crime drama there was. I also bought Getting to Maybe, but the unfamiliar concepts required more mental energy than I was willing to exert at the time. A friend of mine in business school told me that I had to make up my mind on the type of law I wanted to practice by the time I started school. I began to research various career paths and narrowed it down significantly. While this advice turned out to be completely untrue–I’ll have to blog about the 1L rumor mill another time-it did expose me to many areas of law I never considered and I’m glad that it got me thinking about my post-law school plans.

The most memorable thing I did this summer was to drive up the coast from Los Angeles to San Jose. I had never driven that far by myself before, but I thought it would be nice to have some time to reflect, practice my photography, and catch up with some of my family in San Jose. If you’ve never made the drive up Highway 1, you should definitely put it on your bucket list. The scenic view alternates between the ocean and the mountains, with pastures and livestock in between. Along the way I stopped at Pismo Beach and was greeted by amazing frozen yogurt and quaint little shops.
I also did a short hike along near “the elephant seal beach” where dozens of elephant seals cuddled along the shore. The most daunting part of the trip was the last few hours near Big Sur. The two-lane road hugged the side of the mountain and I struggled not to look over the cliff. It was also dark, with only headlights to guide me, and no cell phone reception. Overall, the drive took about 11 hours, with me making countless stops to capture my surroundings, but it was worth every minute.

So what would I have changed about my summer? I would have worked harder to get through Getting to Maybe and maybe read another law school preparation book. If I had understood the goals and structure of law school I would have been more confident in my classes the first few weeks. Other than that, nothing comes to mind. What were the best summer decisions I made? I would say they were “spring cleaning” my apartment and organizing things, because there’s no time for that now; practicing my hobbies, because there’s no time for that now; traveling, because there’s no time for that now, and visiting friends and relatives, because there’s no time for that now. Notice a trend?   

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