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!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

New School Year Goals: Law School Blogger Edition

Well, folks, it's the beginning of yet another year of law school. As I embark on my 2L journey, I realized that this is a new beginning, another chance to accomplish whatever I set my mind to, and to take on new challenges as a law student. With each new school year, I always like to think of my goals for theease r and what I would like to accomplish. I guess I tend to look at these goals like a New Year's resolution - but for the new school year.

As I was thinking about my goals for the upcoming year, I was wondering what goals other law students might have. Luckily for me, there is an amazing community of law school bloggers out there that love to share their thoughts. So I reached out to several of my favorite law school bloggers and asked if they would be willing to share their goals for the upcoming year. After all, there are so many law students out there and you never know who might have similar goals. So without further ado, here is what law school bloggers want to accomplish this school year:

Brazen and Brunette - Nikki

  • Review my 1L and 2L outlines
    • I have a few friends who just took the Bar and from their whining snaps I have become terrified of Bar prep. You study so hard for each class that you’re sure that you’ll never forget it but then just a year later you’re like wait what’s the difference between collateral estoppel and judicial estoppel again?? So I plan to review, review, review, so that hopefully by the time I get to Bar prep, it won’t be too bad. FYI- even if you’re only a 2L it’s still a good idea to keep reviewing because a lot of concepts from 1L year will overlap with your 2L classes.
    • To keep myself accountable, I’ve gone ahead and penciled in “review old outlines” for every Sunday from 5-6. I’m sure at some point I’ll get sloppy and miss a week or two, but having it already scheduled in my planner for every week this semester will help me not forget about it completely just because I missed a week. I also chose Sundays at 5 because from my own personal experience, I’ve learned that this is usually when I get out of weekend mode and get in to tackle-the-new week mode

  • Keep up my GPA
    • I’ve been blessed enough to have a pretty decent GPA so far, so I’m trying to work hard to make sure that it stays that way and I don’t ruin any career possibilities at the last moment.
    • One of my friends got really good grades last year and she said the only difference she did was that she reviewed her notes right before class. It sounds insignificant, but re-reading them just one extra time a week really helped burn the information into her brain so she was ready for cold-calls and didn’t forget the information as easily a week or a month later. 

  • Do all readings
    • I know this is such a typical answer, but right now I’m 4 for 4 semester of law school and I haven’t slacked yet. I’m pretty proud of that and I’m almost done so I’m trying to stick it out and not get lazy yet.
    • I did really well last semester about studying during the daytime so my plan is to keep that up again. Not falling behind in any classes is one of the easiest ways to make sure you’re not screwing yourself over in the long run.

  • Find a professor bff
    • Besides wanting to go to office hours to make sure that I’m doing everything I can to get the best grade possible, I want to find a “mentor” professor this semester. not only will I for sure be counting on them as a rec letter if I need one, I also want someone that I actually know to hood me at graduation (only people with doctorate degrees can hood you none of my family or family friends could hood me). 
    • I’ve already taken one professor from my 2L Spring again in Summer 1 and I’m taking another professor from my 2L Fall again for my 3L Fall. Two strategies behind this— one take the professor not the class, and two make sure your professors know you. The first piece of advice I got from my Civ Pro professor and it’s turned out to be true. If you make good grades in one of professor’s class, that means you’ve got his teaching and testing styles down well enough that if you take another class from the same professor you’ll probably do good again (it never hurts to have a good GPA). The second is because even if you participate in class and drop by office hours a couple of times, it’s still easy for your professor to confuse you with one of the other 300 students on campus. And if they teach you for more than one class, they’ll have more to mention in any recommendation. 

  • Save more money
    • My summer job turned into the ideal job and yep, they offered me to stay on through this fall. Thanks to summer classes, my Fall class load is light enough that I can work 20 hours a week so I’ll still be getting a good pay check. As tempting as it is for me to spend money buying clothes for my internship or getting manicures more often, my goal is to try to save at least half of that to ramp up paying off the interest on my student loans.
    • I’ve been truly moved by Bailey’s post on the Big Law Investor, so my plan is to take all of her advice from that post to make sure that I’m saving as much as possible so I can pay off my loans as soon as possible.

  • Read for fun
    • I started doing this last year as a way to help me fall asleep, so I’m hoping to continue this. law school has so much reading in it that if you’re a reader it can quickly burn you out and make you want to say no thank you to any more reading. but I’ve realized that instead of hurting my brain more, this actually relaxes me and helps me remember that not all reading has to be studying.
    • Since I still have some downtime before school starts, I’ve been searching for great suggestions and downloading them on my Kindle as I find them. My plan is to have a nice little collection ready for the Fall so that even on the days that I’m not in the mood to read, I can look at all of the books I’ve been dying to start to get me more excited about sitting down for some me time.

The Legal Duchess - Brandy

I have many goals as I embark on my 2L year. My biggest goal is to be successful in my new position on the Moot Court team. I, along with a few other students, was selected to represent our law school at Moot Court competitions around the country. I hope to learn as much as I can about public speaking and to be able to make my school proud at the competitions and live up to the honor of being on the team. Additionally, I hope to continue to improve my legal skills and keep my GPA on the rise. 1L year was a little rough to start off but I know I can improve my GPA- I just have to buckle down and do it. 

Also, I hope to become more involved in the organizations offered at my school. I was so busy trying to survive 1L year that I did not take the time to look into joining the organization. Now that I am feeling more comfortable with the law school routine, I hope to join some organizations that interest me. I will also be working in my law school admissions office which will be a fun addition to my school days and help me to get to know more people. Moreover, I want to get more involved in our local Bar association and the local legal community. Through my summer internship, I made many connections in the area and I would like to continue to foster those connections and network. 2L year is going to be exciting and I am ready to take on the challenges!

Justifiably Blonde - Heather

This year is a bit different for me in terms of goals. I am spending my fall semester in DC completing a clerkship with a federal judge but in the spring I will return to the “normal” law school routine which will come with a whole new set of goals – I really don't know what those are yet other than to stay organized, focused and determined to push through the semester.
While in DC I am taking a virtual course. My goal for that course is to stay on top of the readings, go back and listen to the class recordings, compile an outline and use MPRE materials to help prepare for our final. Now PR is short for Professional Responsibility which is a required course before taking the MPRE. My professor teaches to the MPRE and previous students have said to study for the course as if you were studying for the MPRE which is why the study guides come in handy.
            Now my goals for my clerkship are different. I’m trying to stay on top of things – deadlines, new assignment requirements, research, meetings, trials, etc. I guess it really all comes down to organization and time management. But as far as work product goes, I’ve been able to intertwine my English background with my legal one (which has made the transition easier) and really making sure that my drafts are error free, concise, and meet my Judge’s guidelines. Being meticulous is important. There’s also a networking aspect to my position, I have a ton of opportunities to meet people from all sorts of areas here. In these situations, I’m trying to force myself to come out of my shell with the hopes of making some long-lasting connections. Most importantly though, my goal while in D.C. is to just give everything my all. This is a once in a life time opportunity for me, I want to make the best of it and the only way to do that is to put my best foot forward and give this my best shot.   
            Looking to hear more about my time in D.C? Be sure to check out my blog – 

Blondegalese - Libby

This semester I have two main goals.  Learning from last year, I don't want to set too many goals to overwhelm myself and not achieve any of them.  My first goal is to be very proactive about my school work and be ahead on my assignments because I have to go home at lot for events this semester, including two weddings.  I don't know about you guys, but I never get work done at home so getting it done before I go home will make me way less stressed.  My second goal for this semester is to start memorizing case names and working on my outline for Con Law once we finish the first section.  Con Law I was one of my toughest classes last semester so I really want to do better with it this semester.  I hope everyone else has a great fall semester!

  • Keep it up. After a fairly succesfful 1L year, my biggest goal is definitely to keep consistent and not let my grades slip. I was very happy with my grades last year. They were able to land me an excellent job, let me feel pride in the work I did, gain respect from my peers, and make me feel accomplished. In order to accomplish this goal, I'm going to revisit some of my study habits from last year and make sure I follow the same routine I did last year in order to bring me the same success as before.
  • Prepare for my internship. I was lucky enough to secure a summer internship before the school year started. But just because I already have a job doesn't mean that I want to ignore my career during the school year. I want to work on my research and writing skills and take classes that will help my work at the law firm. 
  • Take care of my health. It's not a secret that last year I had some health problems during the year - both mental and physical. Half of these problems were because I wasn't proactive in taking care of myself and making sure I was healthy. Thus, I want to make self-care a priority. This can include taking breaks when needed, eating enough food and drinking enough water, getting sleep, and exercising more. Learning to make this a priority is something I still struggle with, but I plan on improving.
  • Make a difference in my school. My last goal is the one I am probably most passionate about. After having a difficult 1L year, I learned what I wish I would've had available from my professors, friends, and family. When it comes to school, I have ideas on how to improve it and how to make it better. Thus, my plan is to work with faculty, staff, and other students to make the law school a positive place for students to learn, grow, and take care of themselves. 

What are some of your law school goals? Put them in the comments below!