Friday, September 29, 2017

Why I Gave Up Facebook In Law School

Two days ago I was at a McDonald's after I finished my yoga class - yes, this is my version of living a balanced lifestyle. However, as I went to pay for my Happy Meal - because again, balance - I realized that I didn't have my debit card with me. I of course couldn't help but feel a bit of panic. All I wanted was to purchase my nuggets and shame-eat them in peace. And I felt my life flash before my eyes as I realized I might not be able to get those delicious bites of chicken. But then I had a thought occur to me. Bailey, I said to myself, This is 2017. We are past debit cards! And just like that, I used my iPhone's Apple Pay to successfully purchase my nuggets and continue on living my dreams. Crisis averted!

I know that might sound a bit dramatic, but the truth is, it's just one example of why I absolutely LOVE technology. Unfortunately though, technology is far from perfect. Sometimes there are as many detriments as benefits. In my first year of law school, I started to notice some of these detriments of technology, espeicially with social media. Now you might be surprised by this. After all, by nature of being a blogger, I am very active on social media. I love Instagram, Twitter, and my Snapchat streaks mean more to me than my actual friendships at this point. But at a certain point, something about social media seems too invasive. 

As you might know if you've been a reader of my blog for awhile (or just creeped through my posts), during my first year of law school, I had some mental health difficulties. The truth is, for a duration of my 1L year, I was not doing so great. And by being active on social media, I had to make a choice from two options: 

1. Stay active on social media, and give everyone an inside look into a dark period in my life
2. Leave social media while I work on feeling "normal" again.

And out of these two choices, I chose a mixture of the two. If you're a twenty-something like I am, you probably understand that different forms of social media have different functions. For me, I use Twitter for human, Facebook to maintain connection and relationships, LinkedIn to be professional, Instagram because pictures are pretty, and Snapchat for communicating with my best friends And of course, I have this blog to talk all things law school. So therefore, I chose which of those to keep and which of those to get rid of. While I kept most social media and just decided to stay moderate inactive for some time, I did decide to make one drastic change.

I deleted my Facebook account.

Facebook was the first social media platform I ever used (unless you want to count a short stint on MySpace that I abandoned after about 6 hours because I was afraid of my parents finding out). I registered for my Facebook account when I was 13 years old in eighth-grade, the day after I won the state science fair, because I wanted to share pictures of my awards (yes - I was really cool in middle school). Ever since then, I built a network of family, both extended and immediate. There were friends from school, dance, work, church, clubs, etc. People I met on vacations, or at conferences. or friends of friends were all added. You know how it goes. 

About halfway through college, I did a major friend purge and limited my Facebook friends to close friends and family. I used Facebook as a fairly personal social media platform, and wanted to limit who saw my posts. As I went to law school, Facebook became one of the go-to ways for my friends and family from back home to keep up with me. But as I started dealing with depression and anxiety, I wanted to shield all of my friends and family from that side of me.

So I made a decision to cut Facebook out of my life. At first it was difficult. What was I supposed to look at when waiting for class to start, or when I was bored? To be quite honest, I probably looked at Instagram and Twitter more than ever before during this time. But after awhile, I noticed myself enjoying it. I would hear friends have conversations, saying things like "Did you see what so and so posted on Facebook? So immature!" or "I scrolled through Facebook for three hours last night!" And every time I heard something like that, I realized I was so happy to not be dealing with that.

It might sound cheesy, but my relationships got more authentic. I didn't have to "check in" online with friends any time we did something. I didn't know about what was going on in my friends' lives from their posts, I knew because they told me. And I didn't waste hours of my life mindlessly scrolling. And more than anything else, I didn't feel like I had to keep up my own social media facade.

As time has gone by, I've dived back a little deeper into social media. Admittedly, I love Twitter and I have three accounts on it: my personal one, one I keep for professional/school tweets, and one for Caffeine and Case Briefs. But I don't base my relationships on my Twitter friendships. I also still love Instagram - who doesn't love sharing pictures of their life (I even posted a picture of my post-yoga Happy Meal). But for some reason, I feel no draw back into Facebook.
A post shared by Bailey (@brosecrans) on

We live in a world where it's so easy to become consumed by social media. But it also can be a wonderful tool to connect. Like anything else, balance is key when it comes to a social media presence. If you find yourself spending too much time or being overly invested in one platform, I highly recommend taking a step back. Every day I am thankful that I did.

But don't worry - I won't give up blogging any time soon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

5 Ways to Make Law School Suck Less

So, I don't think that it's any big secret that law school sucks. The good thing is, law school can actually be amazing, fun, and one of the best experiences of your life. But in order to make that happen, you need to be able to do some things to make law school suck a little bit less. Although I'm still learning these things myself, I've found a few things that make law school way better. So if you're at a point where law school just absolutely and completely sucks, try out some of these things to make law school suck even less.

1. Find a Hobby

This sounds like the most simple thing, but you need to have something that you enjoy outside of law school. Although it may seem like you need to spend every waking hour in the libary, the truth is that is the exact opposite of healthy. Not only do you need to stand up every now and then (trust me, you will get back problems if you study too much), but you need things in your life to care about other than law school. Do you like to play sports? Most graduate students are still able to join university intramural leagues. Are you crafty? Set up a paint corner. If you like playing board games, host a board game night with your friends. Take a cooking class, go for walks, or join a volunteer league. Personally, my biggest stress relief is crocheting, and I have made so many blankets out of this yarn for my friends and family!

2. Find Your Support Network on Campus

All of us have friends and family that love us and support us. But when you move to a new environment or first start law school, you might not have that readily available in your law building. So try hard to establish and grow that support network. I recommend having at least two or three close friends that you trust, as well as a professor or school administrator. I personally have a handful of professors that I trust, and a couple of friends that I would consider best friends at this point. Having that network is key, because spending time with people you love makes life suck less. And when life sucks less, law schoool sucks less.

3. Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To

For some reason, law school semesters seem endless. Like I don't know why a week in law school seems like a month in real world time, but it does. One of the best things I've done is learn to break up my semester by planning something fun to look forward to each month. This upcoming weekend I'm taking a quick trip to Disney World with one of my best friends. Next month is a brewery tour with some of my friends. After that I'll go home for Thanksgiving in November. Having these little things each month really keeps morale high. Plan concerts, day or weekend trips, have friends or family visit you, or look for a really cool festival in your school town. Doing this will make the semester fly by, and you'll feel rewarded for your hard work every time you do something fun.

4. Manage Your Finances

Law school may suck, but being broke sucks even more. So it's time to adult up and manage your finances. I wrote an entire post on being financially smart in law school, so go check it out if you need more tips! Mostly, it comes down to writing a budget, sticking to it, and shopping the sales. One recent thing I've been doing to save money is by using my Discover credit card to get up to 5% back on my purchases. Then I use my reward money to pay my bill. I seriously make over $50 a month in cashback bonuses. Check out awesome cards like this to help you save money by spending on the same stuff you already by. 

5. Read Something Unrelated to Law School

Does everyone else keep a tally of the record number of pages you've had to read in a week? I know I do. In law school, we read a lot. So much that it can make you hate reading. One way to avoid this hatred of the written world is to read something that's not related to law school. Recently I picked up this book and could not put it down. It was so funny, and I couldn't put it down. I forgot how much I loved reading when it doesn't relate to the law. So read for fun one day, and it will make the reading you do for school seem a lot better. 

These are just a few things that you can do to make your law school adventure feel a bit more like adventure and a bit less like torture. Do you like these ideas? If so, let me know in the comments below and I'll do a part two!
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