Saturday, October 28, 2017

How 2L year is Better than 1L Year

Hello hello to all you lovely law nerds! If you haven't noticed, I've been blogging a hell of a lot less lately. I guess you could say it's writer's block, or maybe I'm just busy, or maybe I just haven't felt like blogging. Either way, I apologize for my absence and I promise I'll try harder to better... but then again, we all know how law school takes over every aspect of life. So who knows what will really happen?

Setting all that aside, I'm about 2 and 1/2 months into my 2L year. How did that happen? At this time last year, I was just starting to get this whole "law scthool" thing figured out. And by that, I knew how to study and was no longer completely terrified of getting called on in class. Now one year later, the nerves have eased substantially, and I think I'm as settled into law school as well as I'll ever be. Throughout these last few months, I've definitely noticed some big differences between 1L and 2L year, so I thought I'd share these differences with you.

First of all, I am way less nervous. I remember being a little afraid of about everything that happened. I was nervous that a professor would call on me and I wouldn't know the answers. I was nervous that I wasn't studying in the right way for finals. I didn't know the right places to study, or where to go for financial aid help, or what questions to ask my professors. Luckily, over time I started figuring these things out, and now I barely have any nerves. I pretty much roll into school, do my work, go to my classes, and just sort of do life without thinking too much. It's so nice to be able to just go to school and feel settled, rather than worry about everything all the time.

Next, I spend less time studying. Honestly, I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I studied so much last year, and I ended up getting really good grades and being so proud of what I accomplished. Now, I feel like since I know how to do law school better, I don't have to study as much because I've learned how to study more effectively. One of my law school friends said we're all learning to study smarter and not harder, and I think that is definitely true. Thus, because of this more effective studying, I've spent less time reading, taking notes, and studying all together. The extra time I've had from not studying has been so nice, which brings me to my next point...

I'm going to the gym... like, regularly. Part of my fitness enthusiasm is likely due to the fact that I have more time, since I haven't been studying as often. Part of it is that I've spent all of last semester getting my mental health to a good point, and now I feel like it's time to focus on my physical health. I'm going on walks, going to yoga a few times a week, and recently just signed up for a personal trainer. Is this what being a healthy, fit individual is like? Because I kind of dig it. 

Another thing I've noticed with my extra non-study time, is that I have time to read for fun again. As a kid, I always loved reading for fun. It's probably why my reading skills are up to par for law school. My most recent read is a book written by two of my favorite podcasters, Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson. The title of the book is literally F*cked, so as you might expect, the material is a little explicit. But it's been a fun read that definitely takes my mind off law school. Another one of my go-to recommendations is this book that teaches people how to be better adults - something every law student will have to do soon. 

When I'm not filling up all of my free time with reading or going to the gym, I spend my time planning ahead. While everything is a mystery 1L year, it's hard to really think about the future. However, now that I've got the first year under my belt, a little bit of work experience, and more time to think about the future - I'm trying to make life plans. Although it's impossible to have everything figured out, I've noticed that I'm thinking more about my goals, where I'd like to be, what I'd like to be doing, etc. It's nice to be able to look toward the future and have an idea of what I want. 

And of course, I am having so much more fun than I did during 1L year. Listen, it's not like last year was awful. But it definitely wasn't the most fun year of my life. This year, the tides have turned. I'm going on vacations, hanging out with friends, and living without a mountain of stress on my chest. Here's the real deal - 1L year is going to be stressful. It's inevitable. But if you use the entirety of 1L year to just settle into law school and figure everything out, you might just find that 2L year and beyond could be so much fun. 

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.
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