Monday, January 10, 2022

LLS: Serving Humanity with Humility

 

It has been three months in LMU Loyola Law School. As someone who has previous experience of law school, I wasn’t particularly anticipating any surprises. Sure, law school comes with challenges, as you are expected to read large volumes of books, report cases, and summarize articles.  With very limited time and much to study, law school creates a triangular life of home, classes and the library for me, and I believe, for most law school students. However, students are able to take on both recreation and activities according to their fancies. Students can choose from associations such as International Students Association, Italian Students Association, the Jewish Students Community, and so on. Also, LLS has clinics for community service and development. These include: the Loyola Attorneys for Others, Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic and so on. It is these latter avenues that captured my attention. 

An area that I find fulfilment is the Loyola Attorneys for Others in collaboration with the St. Francis Center.  Here, I have been able to feed the homeless and the poor in Downtown LA. It has provided me with the opportunity to offer a helping hand without reward. Being a volunteer in the Attorneys for Others gave me a new sense of consciousness, one of gratitude and humility. Gratitude to LLS for creating such an avenue that encourages community service. And one of humility, realizing how privileged I am to serve people in need; recognizing that the difference between the needy and I is mere “privilege” which I am fortunate to have. Understanding that giving back to the community by extending a hand of service is the best way of appreciating the privilege I now have.  Surely, LLS is a place where anyone with the heart of service should come!

These are the experiences that resonate daily with me as I walk through the fall semester and I am grateful that I came to LLS not only to advance my knowledge of law, but also, to deepen my commitment to serving humanity with humility! 

Prince Samuel Amadi,
LL.M Candidate, LMU Loyola Law School, 
Los Angeles, CA, US

Friday, January 7, 2022

Law School Myth Debunked!

Before I even applied to law school or took the LSAT, the expectations I had of law school were built on television shows and movies such as How to Get Away with Murder and Legally Blonde. Now, as a 1L, we are definitely not getting away with murder and to answer Elle Woods’s question…yes, it is hard. Once I began gathering my application materials, many law students and graduates advised me to treat law school like a job. As we know, a full-time job usually entails working a 9 to 5 shift, or any other 8 hour window. Law school is NOT like a job. I guess I can say it can be, in regards to workload and work ethic but it is completely different in most aspects. Hypothetically, if I had two classes per day, and classes began at 9am, then maybe I could treat law school as a job. My schedule is not set up this way. For example, on Wednesdays my earliest class begins at 9:30am, then another class begins at 1:10pm and the last class for the day begins at 3:20pm. This means I get to school at 9am and leave at 5pm—with a 2.5 hour break somewhere in between—having mainly attended classes with little time to get a lot of class work done. Consequently, I get home at around 6pm (commuting to and from school is a job in itself) and have to squeeze in time to eat, shower, read, work on assignments, and practice self-care before 12am. Sometimes, life happens and my to-do list shifts drastically. You could assume I have 6 hours to squeeze it all in, but 6 hours fly by and I am not a machine that can work through everything without a break. Taking 30 minutes to an hour just to wind down is crucial for me. Readings themselves can take hours to complete because cases can be so dense. Research assignments take time and focus which could also take hours to complete and perfect. I could skip out on self-care to squeeze in more time for class preparation, but mental well-being is non-negotiable for me. In short, if you want treat law school like a job and this technique works for you, hooray! It is doable but I have accepted that I cannot treat law school like a job.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Fall Semester Update

Three months have passed since fall semester began (how did that happen so quickly?), and I’m here to tell you what that has been like!

Having attended law school online last year, I already had an inkling of what it would be like this time around: lots of reading, a lot of time spent in the library, eye strain (but that might have to do with the fact that I’m also glued to my phone half the day), and stress (especially now that finals are almost around the corner – again, how????). Nonetheless, being able to be on campus this year has made it all worth it (not that it wasn’t worth it last year, but being in-person this semester has definitely made the experience so much better). 

I think that for me, finding balance in law school has been about sticking to a strict and, most importantly, realistic schedule. For example, I know I am at my most productive during the daytime, so I try to do most of my studying while the sun is still up. Moreover, I absolutely cannot (and will not) study for at least two hours after getting home from school, so I take that into consideration the fact that I will inevitably end up watching Netflix for two hours after class when planning my day. Finally, I pretty much know how much reading I can get done in one day, and I don’t try to be overly ambitious with my scheduling because it will only lead to stress, guilt, and disappointment.  

When it comes to my social life outside of law school, I have to say that it really hasn’t suffered much (but I also say this as an introvert who likes to spend time alone). Since I do the bulk of my studying during the day, in the evenings I am usually able to meet up with friends (even if it’s just a few hours to catch up over dinner). I also try to not do anything school-related on Saturdays – I’m sure that that is subject to change with exams coming up in a month though!

In short, law school is a lot of reading, and it also is time consuming, but with proper time management and scheduling, it really doesn’t have to consume your entire life. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Fall Semester Recap

Day 82 - Fall Semester Update!

Whoa, almost three months into the semester! This has been a short, fun and very intense semester. Is it natural to be so overwhelmed at this stage of the semester? I am shamefully six classes behind in my Business Association class and I cannot seem to keep up with the racing clock to the exams. I can assure you I am not the only one lagging behind.  It is a rough ride, but I have zero doubt in my mind that I will be adequately prepared for the exams in a month’s time. 

I can finally say this with some confidence; law school is not nearly as dreadful as depicted. Based on my actual personal experience, I am genuinely stunned by everything here. I love it. For starters, let me just appreciate the location of LMU Loyola Law School. The ambience alone has the potential to push you to dig into the deepest reservoirs of knowledge. It is very quiet, serene and very scenic with a fantastic view of downtown.  All the resources on campus have the ability to promote a very holistic development and proficiency in the legal profession. Don’t you just love the William M. Rains Library? Very many brilliant lawyers in the making here!

I have also discovered that law school is all about strategy. The one thing that has worked for me is office hours! Any time I cannot wrap my head around a certain concept, I always make sure I attend those extra hours with the professors. I am often stunned into silence by their eloquence and ability to break down complex concepts into comprehensible bits. My only law school wish was that there was some magic pill that could help me remember all the cases, rules and arguments. Lol! 

Law school is not necessarily a total damnation. I hold the utmost respect for all those brilliant minds that walked this path before us and are now making real change in the world. It is no small feat but it is very fulfilling and rewarding. 

I wish you the very best as you prepare for your finals! 

Best, 

Evah!

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Debunking a Law School Myth

As a first-generation student, my access to what law school would be like was limited. However, I was fortunate enough to be part of a pre-law organization in my undergraduate that gave me resources and access to law students and what the experience was like. At all of the presentations I attended, I would always hear the same advice: be prepared to make sacrifices and have less time for your hobbies and your loved ones, law school is a demanding three years. 

Without a doubt, law school has been the most academically challenging experience I have ever had. However, as I reach the halfway mark of my time here, I have come to realize that with a little bit of planning, we can still make time for the people and things we love. Setting boundaries is an important practice of life and law school and is the key to having a balanced experience. One tip that I have found useful is to always make at least a little bit of time for something you love and make it a part of your schedule. Whether it’s working out, cooking a nice meal from scratch, or having dinner with a loved one. Working things, you love to do into your law school schedule allows you to plan, so that you can have time to yourself. Even if you are spending less time with friends or your hobbies, when things get stressful, I promise you will appreciate having that time. 

Finally, as you are setting boundaries with others, remember to set them yourself. There are so many amazing things to get involved with at Loyola Law School, so many classes to take, and experiences. But remember to get the most of those opportunities, you need to pay attention to your well-being. For example, think about what times you are most productive and plan to work during those times. Even though some late nights will happen as deadlines and finals come up, you will be glad you took the time to listen to your own boundaries! Remember, good luck, and law school is a marathon, not a sprint!


Monday, January 3, 2022

Debunking a Law School Myth

Like many before me, leading up to my first year of law school I was cautioned that school would soon “be my whole life.” Now nearing the end of my first semester, I am pleased to report that although school is a very significant part of my life, it certainly is not my whole life. I have enjoyed fun weekend activities, made memories with my friends, met new people, and maintained a strong relationship with my significant other. It has not been easy to do this, and without meticulous time management skills, law school may well have been my whole life. 

What I believe has made my time management successful so far is reimagining my concept of “downtime.” Downtime to me in undergrad and before included doing absolutely nothing for hours, and sometimes even a few days on end. Decompressing while mindlessly scrolling on my phone, reading for leisure, or binging Netflix was blissful to me at times, but had to be nearly eliminated to manage the workload of law school. My leisure time has now been prioritized to emphasize the important things in my life such as experiences and relationships.

 My days are long, extremely busy, and exhausting at times, but they are productive and very fulfilling. As I write this, I have just returned from the Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco. To budget my time to have made that happen, this week law school will more or less be my entire life. However, it is assuring to know that as long as I am on top of my schedule, I will still be able to do the things I enjoy, like go to concerts and spending quality weekends with the people close to me.