How I Studied for my Law School Midterms

I thought that, upon leaving undergrad, midterms would be a thing of the past. Little did I know, October is a hell month no mater what level of school you’re in.

I found that my usual way of studying no longer worked as well for the upcoming tests, so I decided to change it up a little. Here’s what worked, for me:

Podcasts

I drove to (and back from, of course) North Carolina twice during midterms. That’s four hours of being in a car staring at the road instead of some textbook (both equally as boring, I’ll give them that). I decided to use my time wisely and invest in come law school podcasts.

Remember back in high school when you’d binge watch Crash Course History the night before a test and hope for the best? This is the same thing, only “cramming” no longer beings the night before but the entire week before.

I really like listening to Law To Fact Podcast. Sure it’s not as entertaining as Missing Richard Simmons or any of the other stories I used to binge on road trips or walking around campus, but it’s hosted by a real law professor. Her guests include law professors from all over the country calling to explain the basics of what you’re studying in the class room.

I was skeptical at first because all the podcasts sounded like they were recorded phone calls with the intro music being played through a speaker into the microphone app on the iPhone, but quality of the production aside, this lady does know what she’s talking about. In fact, she and her colleagues have been teaching for so long they know exactly where most students start to get confused. This means they’ll either do a full episode on that topic to break things down slowly, or they’ll point out where people get confused and why, or they’ll joke about she she herself got confused and how long it took her to figure it all out. It’s realistic, and it makes me feel a bit better about myself when I don’t understand something the first time around.

Law To Fact has all the episodes on their website arranged by topic. You can easily go in and find what’s tripping you up the most. I’m listening to the episode called How to Avoid Common Pitfalls in Legal Analysis and Writing Classes right now! The podcast is also on Spotify and Apply podcasts so you can download them on the go.

One Sheet to Rule Them All

Yes, that is a Lord of the Rings reference. Yes, it does work.

Allow me to explain:

Every law student start writing outlines on day one of all their classes. By the time midterms roll around, the outlines are close to thirty pages long. It’s going to take you at least an hour to read through your entire thirty page outline, but I can almost guarantee that if you read through it that quickly you won’t get anything out of it. (That’s why skimming your cases before class doesn’t work, but hopefully you’ve figured that out by now ;))

When you start studying for an exam, condense your outline every time you read over it. You should start studying for an exam two weeks beforehand, without your outline completed at least a week and a half before the test. Each time you read it, take out the definitions of words you know. If there’s a concept you need to know, memorize it and get it down to two or three words that will jog your memory. Need to know a case brief? Have one word about the case to trigger your memory and then the holding of the case and why the court ruled that way. After two weeks of condensing, you’ll have your outline down to one page. The best past about this isn’t that it fits in your pocket but that because you’ve gone over it so many times you don’t even need it anything. You have the whole thing memorized because you rewrote it in your own words each day for two weeks.

Find Ways to Stay Productive

Staying productive for me during undergrad was pretty easy because I was so busy. I knew I had a finite amount of time to get things done in. Now, I feel like I have so much more time. Which means I goof off more. We’ve all heard the story of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, just wait until you read If You Give a Law Student Four Unbroken Hours and Readings They Can Do Tomorrow.

I try my best to stick my butt in the law library until 5pm each day. Sometimes I get everything done and go home to cook dinner, other days I barely get a dent into my piles of studies and end up working until 11pm. It happens. But what’s really helping me hold myself accountable at productivity apps and the screen time feature on the iPhone. The screen time feature tells me how much time I’ve spent looking at my phone that day and compares it to other days. I can also use that feature to schedule downtime, set app limits, and block content.

Another app I’ve recently rediscovered is Forest. I used it my freshman year at UGA and then promptly forgot about it when I switched from a Samsung to an iPhone. But I’m back on that hype train and loving it more every day!

I won’t talk about it much here because I’m planning on doing a round up of all my favorite apps that I use for school.

Planners!

If you don’t have any way of keeping track of your time, how are you still alive? And sane?!

My life would be over without my planner. I use my bullet journal for everything. It houses all my to do lists, things I need to research, gifts I need to buy, grocery lists, medication lists, contact information for people I need at networking events….literally everything.

If you don’t already have a planner in law school, go get one. Or even just have a little book of sticky notes or send yourself texts so you can write things down on. Law school tends to go from 0 to 60 really fast, and you never know what you’re going to miss. Heck, I use my planner, have a catch all notebook, use the stickies on my laptop, and use the notes all on my phone and there are still things I miss.

The human brain can do a lot of things, but it can’t do it all. Be kind to your mind and write a few things down here and there so it can take a sec to decompress.

Plus, the less your brain has to fight to remember about your daily life, the better it can remember important stuff, like the Grable test or minimum contacts or….I dunno, foreseeability probably.

Study Schedules

Another way I utilize my planner is to make a study schedule. My professor for Legal Process at Mercer had us set up an hourly plan for the week with all of our classes, when we wanted free time, study time, and breaks for food and sleep. Mine seems crazy, but I do allow myself to have extra free time here and there, I promise! You can click the button below to download a blank copy for yourself!

Group Study

The last thing I did when studying for midterms, which I never did this frequently in undergrad, was study with a group. My law school class is broken up into five sections. Not all of us share the same teachers, but those of us that do either have that teacher at different times or we don’t sit near each other during class. This means that each one of us takes something different out of the lectures we all sit through.

Studying with a diverse group is great because everyone has a different way of explain a concept, and sometimes that’s all it takes to make things “click.”

For our last midterm, Juris and Judgements (formerly called Civil Procedure), my group got a study room in the library. We found a huge whiteboard and condensed all of our outlines and notes onto one “page” (AKA the one whiteboard). Even though it seemed to take forever, we all walked out of that room confident about our test the next day.

Disclaimer: this is what I did to study. I’m writing about to give you an idea of how I prepared for my first set of law school midterms. If you know some of these things don’t work for you, don’t do them! Everyone’s study habits are different. Don’t go completely overhauling your study habits just because someone on the internet studies in a way that is different from you.

Things I Wish I Could Go Back and Tell Freshman Year Me

The best four years of my life are coming to a close this Friday. I’m graduating from the University of Georgia with a B.S. in Psychology, with an emphasis in neuroscience, and a minor in Art History. I’ll be heading off to Macon, Georgia in July to start law school at Mercer with a full ride. I should feel ecstatic about this next chapter of my life, but now that I’m here all I want to do is rewind.

My parents always told me that I would enjoy college. They told me I would find my people, people just like me that were cool with being uncool and didn’t mind if all I wanted to talk about was the news or science facts or cats. I didn’t believe them. Middle school and high school had been so awful that I didn’t believe that any form of school could be okay, much less actually enjoyed. I wish I had listened to them. I went into my freshman year cautious, guarded, and terribly shy. I wanted to make new friends because I was lonely, but I was so scared being bullied or hated that I really struggled with actually connecting with people. Four years later and I could become BFF’s with just about anyone. I re-learned that the world is full of good intentions, but not always good people, and that’s okay. Being kind and open will get you much further than being cautious.

I’ve never been good at math and science, or at least not as good at that as I am at writing. My parents always encouraged me to follow my passion, but I was dead set on having a career that would allow me to make enough money to support a family. I chose science as a freshman because I saw the potential for a safety net – I could go to school and do just okay and still end up making enough money to be considered successful. Three semesters into my science courses and I was calling my dad, in tears, on a monthly basis because I hated my classes so much. The one thing I learned from this? Do something you’re good at for a career, and save the stuff that makes you happy for your weekends. Science fills me with wonder and excitement, but taking science classes made me want to pull my hair out. I just flat out wasn’t good at them, so I didn’t enjoy them. It made science feel like a chore rather than an ambition. You might disagree with me here, but my advice is to never let the thing that brings you joy become your day job, because then it feels like a chore.

Walking into college, I decided that I wasn’t here to have fun, I was here to make a career for myself. I was so driven. I wanted to work in a lab and have internships with the CDC and go places. Only in my junior year did I actually stop myself and say “hold up, I have the rest of my life to work, but if I go out with friends or wake up early to watch the sunrise instead of applying for a second job I’m going to have so much more fun”. Junior year I changed my mindset, added a minor that made me happy, stopped freaking out about adulthood, got an internship in something that wasn’t science, decided on going to law school instead of getting my Ph. D. (still might happen one day, though), and started living. Wow. Not only did my quality of life improve, my grades did too.

Now that my undergrad life is coming to a close I’m beginning to realize how much I have truly loved this chapter in my life. I’m glad I embraced it, even though it took a few semesters. As I head off into law school I am reminded of how lucky I am that I have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

Go Dawgs!

Portland, Maine

I visited Portland, Maine over spring break this year. Will came with me and we had a fabulous time!

Originally, this trip was meant to be for me to tour Maine Law and go apartment hunting. Will and I turned it into a foodie tour (as well as a shopping spree for me haha). We visited so many amazing places!

First up: Rising Tide Brewing

Duck Fat

Holy Donuts

Becky’s Diner

My favorite meal? The lobster club at Becky’s! The prices were very fair (although I was the one willing to pay $20 for lobster…) and they have some amazing desserts! Will got a whoopie pie, which is something you’ll see a lot of in Portland.

Will’s favorite meal was the poutine from Duck Fat. Their fries are all house made and fried in duck fat (hence the name). I got the brussels sprouts and they were the most delicious vegetables I’d ever eaten, which is saying something because in 2018 I put up a recipe post on the blog claiming that those brussels were my favorites!

Portland reminded me of Asheville, my home town. If you want to read about my Asheville adventures you can check out this post, this post, and this post!

Holiday Gift Guide: For the College Kid

People my age almost always ask for money or gift cards for Christmas. It’s easier that way. Mailing them $20 is less complicated than trying to fit an entire homemade chicken casserole in a FedEx flat rate box. That being said, there are some little things college aged kids could use whether they know it or not (and sometimes we know it we just would rather spend money on pizza than face masks or slippers haha).

Slippers

Watch

Apple Watch

Coffee Subscription Box

Homesick Candle 

Custom Pet Socks

Holiday Candy

The Arbitrary Nature of Success

College students strive for success. Sometimes that means not failing that hard science class. Other times it means maintaining a 4.0 over four years. Sometimes it just means graduating. Success is a word that means you’re good at something, but most of the time when a friend thinking about their future says they want to be successful they mean they want to make a lot of money, have a nice house, drive a fancy car, and go on expensive trips.

Success looks a certain way. If you close your eyes and think of the word success you might picture someone in a suit, a celebrity, or a world leader. Maybe you think of a business man like Elon Musk or maybe you picture a public figure like Emma Watson. Whoever you choose, you almost certainly think of who they are now rather than what it took to get them there.

Forbes named Kylie Jenner as one of the world’s richest self-made women. The controversy surrounding this includes the reason behind her riches: her family’s wealth. Having already famous parents and siblings, or even just a handful of good connections, give you a leg up in reaching “success.” We don’t start from the same place. While we do all have the same amount of time each day, where we come from, where we start, and where we plan on going forces us to utilize those same twenty four hours very differently. The most motivated person might have to work two jobs to pay off their student debt and not have the time to follow their dreams. Another motivated person might have the money to spend their free time pursuing their education and working towards their dream job. All in all, the money can make the success story but the success story doesn’t always make the money.

A successful person is often seen as a busy person. They’re the ones with the busy schedules, the color coded planners, the phones constantly buzzing with updates. The successful ones eat, sleep, and breathe accomplishing mountains of work. In college, this can mean that you schedule your days jam packed with activities and meetings. You may tell your friends your schedule and find pleasure in the shock on their faces. It may feel like you’re winning an invisible game. But truth be told, the busiest people aren’t always the most successful. Spreading yourself thin leads to lots in involvement but little participation. If you have twenty organizations all demanding your attention you never put your heart and soul into what you’re doing. You may be known for lots of things, but if you’re asked in depth about your experiences in one of the organizations you’re a part of, what answer will you give?

If what you’re doing with your free time is only to boost your resume and not boost your quality of life, that’s not true success.  True success is getting what you want out of your life. To all the freshmen I mentor: true success looks like you.

Success is a series of small wins.

Success is a mountain of small accomplishments that felt meaningless at the time. Think back to graduating high school. It took a long time to get from A to B, but you did it. You took your classes, did the math, survived the dreaded beep test in gym, and had some fun along the way. But before high school you had middle school and before that you had elementary school and before that you had preschool and before that you had to learn to talk and walk. All the little things we do each day, like making goals for ourselves and eating breakfast, can amount to something monumental if we want them to.

Right now, freshman year is a stepping stone. You’re adjusting to college and trying to figure your life out. Some of you probably feel a little lost. College often feels like two steps forward and one step back. It’s slow going. In the end, even if you don’t think you’re going to get to where you’re going, you’re going to get to where you need to be. The universe has a funny way of making that happen.

One of the silliest, yet most life changing things that I read freshman year was a tumblr post about a dog begging for a chocolate chip cookie. It goes along these lines: imagine you are enjoying a chocolate chip cookie while at home with your dog. He’s going to whine and pout and whimper trying to get that cookie. You wish you could give it to him to make him happy, but you know that if you do you could end up hurting him. There’s no way to make him understand that what he wants is bad for him. That’s like your connection to the universe. Whatever higher power is out there knows what’s best for you. You can want that metaphorical chocolate chip cookie more than anything else in the world, but if it’s going to hurt you then sometimes the universe will step in and protect you. You’ll never know why, and you’ll be just like that dog whimpering and hurt because you worked hard for something you didn’t get. And that’s okay. That’s life. That’s success. Successful people have to fail in order to succeed because nothing ever really works on the first go around. That’s freshman year for most people. It’s a trial run for college, and college is a trial run for adulthood. Even if the whole way is two steps forward and one step back, you’ll still get to the finish line if you just keep going.

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For more of my thoughts on success during college, check out an old blog post I wrote by clicking here.

Being a Leader in 2018

My Homecoming Committee and I attended the 2018 Collegiate Leadership Conference this past weekend. I learned more than I could have imagined I needed to know, but  I really want to share some notes from our keynote speakers Dr. Jan and VP Wilson.

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This was taken from the UGA Homecoming Instagram. Give us a follow @ugahomecoming !

The first keynote speaker was Dr. Jan. She spoke about what leaders are, and how we perceive them. For me, the big take away item was that a leader is anyone who inspires others and brings people together. Here’s a Youtube video recap of the story she talked about that I thought was most inspiring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQlxLBqgFKc

Dr. Jan is an incredible speaker, as well as a mom, so she always has great advice. She reached out to me after what I thought was a failure during last year’s Homecoming and taught me how to grow from my slip-up. While she didn’t coin this phrase, she teaches to lead with “lollipop moments”. Here’s an awesome Ted Talk on that: https://www.ted.com/talks/drew_dudley_everyday_leadership – Lollipop Moments

Leading with intentionality was another big take away from CLC. Jake Carnes (UGA alum, Arch Society alum, and former Homecoming King) gave a TedEx talk called How We Can Cultivate Intentional Compliments. Check it out:

VP Wilson was the final keynote speaker of the day. I hear a lot from him because of his close relationship to the Arch Society. I know it’s going to be good when he gets up on stage. He somehow says exactly what I need to hear every single time. In Saturday’s speech he gave us 10 tips for being a better leader:

  1. Find ways to be happy
  2. Ask for help
  3. Start with a yes
  4. Listen more than you speak
  5. Pay attention to the world around you
  6. Work (“grow up and shut up”, if you signed up for a job follow it through)
  7. Integrity should be 24/7
  8. Plan ahead (What type of leader do I want to be in 10 years?)
  9. Work for the common good
  10. Let it be YOU – What can YOU do about solving a problem? (Don’t think that someone else will get to it, often times they won’t, so take charge)

A good question to ask yourself, VP said, is “What problem can I tackle in my immediate world?” Too often do we point out problems and expect that someone else will get around to them. Leaders take charge, no matter how small an issue seems.

A great speech that talks about tip number eight is Matthew McConaughey’s winning speech for Best Actor. Give it a watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD2cVhC-63I

What tips do you have when it comes to being a leader?

 

Happy Homecoming!

Homecoming week is this week at the University of Georgia. I’ve been on the Homecoming Committee for 10 months now, so I helped plan and set up most of the events going on around campus. I’m so excited to see the looks on students’ and alumni’s faces when they walk into the stadium on Saturday afternoon for the football game. It’s going to be such a surprise!

A Playlist for the Week

Hey guys, me here. Sorry for not being the most talkative person this week. It’s recruitment week at my university and I’ve been rushing around trying to do half a million things at once! But Bid Day is tomorrow and I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to meet the new members!!!! Hopefully I’ll be able to make a post all about Bid Day and how awesome my sorority members are later this week, but for now I’m running on about four hours of sleep and no caffeine.

Without further to do, here’s my playlist for this week! All the songs are from older movies about high school, the quintessential time period for “growing up.” I’d like to challenge that notion. I did most of my growing up in college. Particularly the first two months of freshman year. In high school you can joke around and figure out what you think you want to do with yourself in the long run, but in college you actually put your foot in the door and start becoming the person you want to be in the long run.

Back to School 2016 Playlist

Moving Into Sorority Row

Hey y’all! Things have been craaaaazy busy in my life as of late. But, good news! I moved into the Delta Gamma sorority house at the University of Georgia!

I’m already loving living with my sisters. They’ve been super great all through our hectic song practice schedules. We even had an alum from LA fly in to give a lecture on the purpose of recruitment! How neat is that?

So I bet you’re all dying to see what my dorm looks like…

Delta Gamma Bedspread

How cute is this?! My wonderful big made me the two canvases (the red says “glory glory to ole Georgia” and the black says “& if not He is still good Daniel 3:18”) and my mom got me the “on my mind” Georgia wall hanging.

similar wall hanging // Christmas lights // text pillow (obsolete) // comforter // back rest

Delta Gamma Sorority House Room

This is my roommate’s side of the room. And that’s her fish, Fitz, on top of my dresser!

my desk at Delta Gamma Delta Iota chapter

Last but not least, here is my desk, where I will probably be spending a majority of my time. Note my Betta fish, Tetra, and my moss ball, Marimo.  Hopefully I’ll be able to do a tad bit more decorating before school starts on the 11th (the walls look a little bare, don’t they?) 🙂

desk organizer // piggy bank // French Bulldog tape dispenser // lamp

Comment below if you want any room updates from life at the Delta Gamma house!

xo Bailey