Monday, January 31, 2022

Exams were … more or less what I expected

I thought I did well up until I received my grades. I mean I still did fine, but definitely not top 1% of the class fine, you feel me?

Regardless, being top of the class wasn’t my goal. So long as I “survived” my first semester, that was what mattered most. Because for the type of things I want to do, I think it matters more that I’m able to do my job well.

Not saying grades don’t matter! They do! But remember, they’re not everything, and it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get the grades you want, especially in the first semester. Grades don’t define you. Passion, determination, and abilities do.

As for the break… that was way more eventful!

While it was absolutely soaking in California during the month of December, I was tanning at the beaches of a five-star resort in Mexico. The only words I knew during my 7-day stay were “nachos,” “sleep,” “beach,” and “tequila.”

I mean, just check out these views!

As for legal-related things, I watched a few episodes of the Netflix series I am a Killer. It gave me flashbacks of taking my criminal law final, as I constantly heard attorneys using the same defenses and explanations I had just learned one month earlier…

And I upgraded my figurine collection. It’s looking pretty stacked now, and far more updated.

As of now, I begin my second semester, which should be a lot more interesting than the first. I finally get to enter justice clinics and join extracurriculars! I’ll keep you posted on my journey!

Friday, January 28, 2022

First Semester Recap

 I’ll be honest. My first finals season did not go as well as I would have liked. It wasn’t awful, but I know I can do better. Since grades came out, I’ve been trying to give myself some grace. I didn’t have any real experience in law before starting law school, so it’s normal that I’d struggle a little bit. I spent most of the winter break reminding myself that my performance my very first semester of law school is not indicative of how the rest of my career in law will go.

The times where I wasn’t refreshing the LMU portal to check my grades every five minutes, I spent with my family. We’ve always been a very close-knit group, and I’ve missed that since I moved so far away, so I spent basically every moment with them. I won the cousin gingerbread house competition with my L.A. inspired creation, and I won the weeklong Nerf gun war as well. I lost many games of spoons, uno, and dart throwing, and watched my three-year old cousin open his presents from Santa.

Overall, the break was a great time for me to refresh and regroup. I thought a lot about where I can improve to do better this semester. I watched more YouTube videos over effective notetaking and outlining than I am willing to admit, and I’m ready to get back on the horse and try again. Like my mom used say, sometimes you need a moment of failure to remind you what’s at stake and to push you to keep trying.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Two (& a half) Midnight’s Gone


Hello Jury of Peers!

Today’s title is dedicated to the incomparable Stephen Sondheim who sadly left us since my last post. But, if you’re familiar with the musical, you’ll also know that the title means I’m now finished with two and half years of law school and I’m embarking on my last semester of school EVER. That feels weird to say.

Now that the wounds of fall semester have healed and the sleep schedule I kept during finals week has re-regulated, let’s reminisce shall we?

Many of you current readers probably don’t know this, but I’ve been blogging since my 1L year and I’ve always tried to be really honest about my experience as a law student even when it wasn’t pretty. So, since I’m almost done, I want to share a little anecdote with you. My 1L year, I struggled. Spring semester, I was put in Privacy Torts as my elective. Privacy Torts is a class for students who fall in the lowest 25% of their class after first semester.

I really battled my first year to get the grades I was used to. Law school studying and exam writing was so dramatically different than anything I was used to in the past that I felt I was going to be someone who never saw an A on their transcript again. Like I had peaked in college and was going to skid across the pavement all the way to law school graduation.

In privacy torts, we took a learning styles quiz and I quickly realized that I did not have the preferred learning type of someone who does well in law school. But every semester I worked a little harder, got a little better at gleaning rules from cases, became more proficient at writing exam answers, and found improved study techniques. And semester by semester, my grades started improving.

The preferred learning type in law school is a reading-writing type of learner, and I am a kinetic-visual learner. So, while most of my friends could simply read cases and take some notes, I learned I had to highlight, annotate in the book, and color-code my computer notes. In other words, I had to do a lot more work than my peers to get less-

than-equal results for a long time. But eventually I hit my stride, and was able to make law school work for me.

Finally, this past semester, I got almost all A’s. Truth be told, talking about grades in law school isn’t really done because your grades are not always an indication of how much you took away from a class due to the curve, but I wanted to share it with you because I want you to know the struggle will eventually pay off if you put in the work.

Funnily enough, I wrote my admissions essay about how I was not a typical student; if only I knew how true that would be for my law school experience too. And that idea actually ties me back in to the prompt for this post: how has law school changed me?

Law school changed a lot of things about me, but the most important thing it changed was my pain tolerance. For most of my academic career, I didn’t have to study that hard and I was a naturally gifted student. But in law school, I learned that that wasn’t enough. But through my disappointments, I realized that I could push through even when I was frustrated, or feeling insecure, or feeling like this was all a big mistake. Law school increased my ability to wait for gratification; it reduced my fear of rejection; and it improved my ability to work towards my goals even when I was tired in the day-to-day.

This is probably going to be my longest post yet, so for those who made it this far, thanks for sticking with me and I’ll see you in the next one!


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Winter Break

 Hey, Jury of Peers! We are back, and I am raring to get back into the groove of things. Don’t get me wrong – having almost a month off school was amazing. I read 10 books (yes, I know – I’m a nerd) and did a lot of walking/hiking and just generally not thinking about laws or cases…at least not voluntarily. Before I go on too much about my break and all the books I read (list available on request), let’s talk about finals!

Final exams in 1L are spread out – with a couple days between each exam. It makes for a long exam period in those final weeks of the year. But it’s nice having time between each exam to catch your breath before start the studying process again.

I won’t sugarcoat things. Finals in law school are hard. Some of the exams are 4+ hours and you need to know every last detail of the rules and cases you studied during the semester. It’s tiring, and by the end of the exam period, you never want to look at a law book again. By my last exam, even though it was one of my favorite classes, I was feeling burnt out. It’s a difficult three weeks.

And while it is tiring and difficult, it’s all part of the journey. Whenever I felt like I was really struggling, I reached out to my friends who were going through the same thing. They answered my questions, and I answered theirs. We commiserated together and celebrated at the end of each exam. After our last test, we went out for tacos and got to talk about things not related to law school. Finding good people like that is critical to the whole law school experience. It made me feel less alone, even on the days when I was studying in my room alone for hours on end. They were feeling overwhelmed and tired too. And at the end of the whole exam period, they were feeling just as relieved, exhausted, and happy as I was.

Over break, I didn’t do anything related to law school, besides periodically checking my law school email and to see if grades were posted. Two of the books I read were related to social justice law and how we can better treat mental health in the law – two things I’m super interested in – but even those books weren’t too difficult to read.

It’s good to take time off. After the hard work and the tough studying, it’s really really important to remember that you deserve a break.

Now onto the next semester of adventures! Talk soon!

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! 



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.