Friday, December 6, 2019

Fall Semester Update

It’s been three months since the semester began and I feel like my first day of class was just last week. My days go by so fast because I’m either at work or at school every day of the week and often weekends, too. It’s honestly amazing how time flies.

In my third year, I almost feel like I’m keeping up with my hobbies or my work more than I’m keeping up with my schoolwork. I’m hoping I’ll get a handle on this in the next few weeks. It’s a tough balancing act, to be honest. I don’t think enough law students maintain their interests outside of law school, but it can be so difficult to find the time and learn how to be better about time management.

For me, the best way to find balance is to stick to a strict schedule during the week so that I can relax more on the weekends. I never get to sleep in during the week, so I like to make it a point to not be so hard on myself about it on the weekends. Or, for instance, I’ll do my schoolwork on my lunches and after work during the week so that I can do things I enjoy more on the weekends. Time management is honestly key.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A Piece of Advice for Entering Law Students

For me, the most difficult part of 1L was figuring out time management. I am a first-generation law school student and the sheer amount of information and events happening around me during 1L was overwhelming for me. Coming to Loyola, I knew it was important to develop networks and to do well academically. Additionally, I was not sure what type of law I wanted to practice, so I spent a lot of time going to different events and getting to know different areas of the law. So, once 1L started, there was a lot of events, receptions and networking to attend. Looking back on it, I wish I would have been smarter with my time. There were many events that I was not particularly interested in that I nonetheless attended and many of them that were the repetitions of others. If I could give myself some advice, it would be to prioritize my time, and allow myself down-time.

Similarly, I would also tell myself to relax, especially when it comes to the job search. In December, some of my classmates started getting summer offers, before I even had a chance to apply. During the entire month, I let myself stress over the fact that I did not have any offers, despite knowing there was nothing I could do about it. At the end everything worked out fine, however, I probably would have been more effective if I had not been so stressed.

Monday, December 2, 2019

If Only I Knew - A Few Helpful Hints for Your 1L Year

You can’t really know what law school is like until you’re actually in it. I have classmates who grew up knowing they were bound for law school, whose parents went to Loyola, who didn’t know how to outline or write a case brief. It’s okay. The learning curve is steep but most people get the hang of it within the first couple of months. There are however a few things that you can prepare for – things I wish I knew before I started and things that I am still working on. They essentially break down into two categories – study habits and life habits.

The three study habits that I wish I knew before I started were when to outline, when to start using supplement books, and where the good study locations are. First and foremost, an outline is basically your own summary of all the material in the course that you will need to know for the final. My outline was never more than 38 pages long and should probably have been shorter than that. You can find student-made outlines from past year on the St. Thomas More website but you’ll want to write your own.

Most professors will give you advise on when to outline but, generally, you should start your outline after completing the first major section of the course, usually three or four weeks into the semester – for example for Prof. Selmi’s (fantastic) torts class you should start outlining after you complete intentional torts.

Once you start outlining you should also spend an hour every Saturday and Sunday practicing that section from Example and Explanations books (E&Es) and other supplement books. Not all supplements are created equal. Some supplements cover material that is NOT covered in your class so ask your professor if they have any preferences or recommendations. You can burrow a lot of these supplements from the library, scan the entire book with the book scanner in the computer lab, and then upload the scans directly to your personal Google Docs account. Be a good person and share your scans with friends.

Finally, the good study spots are the small study rooms in the library (I like the basement). You usually need to reserve these in advance so beware if someone ever tries to kick you out of a study room. On sunny days, there are a couple great patios on the fourth floor on Burns building where all the faculty offices are located. The views of DTLA are not bad as you can see.

Two life habits that will help you are to manage your time around sleep and make sure to give yourself time for things that make you happy. I’m still struggling with the second of these habits. Try your best to get enough sleep every night so that you are pleasant to be around. At least in 1L year this shouldn’t be too terrible but make sure that you’re not pushing all your reading or studying for Sunday night.

You also need to get outside the library and do something productive that makes you happy. I like to swim, other’s like to go to the gym or walk around Santa Monica. My study group also did game nights and Korean barbeque nights. Keep your spirits up and you’ll do great!