First Day of 2L Classes

Today marks the first day of my second year of law school. I’m more nervous to start this year than last, for a few reasons:

One, the only GPA I have is from my very first semester at law school, and while it’s “good” it’s not “great” (and I’m a perfectionist with a very competitive mindset so I hate to see myself doing worse than my best). This means that I need to do very well this semester to boost my GPA up to the top third of the class, which is generally the academic marker the government looks for when selecting interns for the summer.

Two, a lot of my friends transferred schools, so I’m probably going to develop an entirely new friend group this year. That’s a little scary for me as an introvert.

Lastly, Corona. Everything is changing. I can’t hang out with my friends the same way. Classes are different. I worry for my health, and the health of those around me. Schedules for school continue to change. There is no consistency. As someone that thrives off of schedules and plans and to do lists, this semester is going to be tough. Everyone is flying by the seat of their pants in academia. I hate doing that. But, as my dad says, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. This semester (if not the entire school year) is going to be an elephant, and I’m going to have to take it one step at a time.

How I’m Trying to Supplement My Immune Health in Grad School

Going back to in-person classes this fall means I’m going to have to take a critical look at my health and daily habits. As we all know, COVID-19 is no joke, and I’m about to be sharing a building with about 250 people each day. While I’m typically pretty healthy, I know there’s more I can do.

I’m starting with taking elderberry supplements. My mom started using elderberry syrup a few years ago. It helps your body fight off cold and flu symptoms (hello Corona virus symptoms) and supports general immune health. Elderberry is packed with vitamin C! It’s also anti-inflammatory and is a good source of antioxidants. I think it tastes great on it’s own (plus adults are only supposed to take about thirty drops a day) and I couldn’t taste it at all when I mixed it into a cup of water. It’s a super easy way to boost your immune system, so if you’re looking for something that’s approximately zero work, this would be it.

I use Mary Ruth’s Organic Elderberry Syrup

Stress can also weaken your immune system, so trying to be as stress free as possible will do your body good (and not just with immune health and COVID – limiting stress is good for heart health and cholesterol levels!).  

One thing that people are predicting about COVID during the school year is that people are going to be more stressed than usual – even children. Parenting blogs, and even the CDC, are teaching parents the warning signs of stress and anxiety in kids, and trying to provide ways to combat it. Exercise, nutritious foods, and limiting screen time outside of classes helps. Last semester, when my school went full on remote learning, I tended to do my work outside on the porch because I found that I felt better in the sunlight. I also gave myself time to stand up and stretch in between classes. A short walk is better than no walk at all! 

Stress lowers your body’s ability to fight infections like COVID-19. Limiting caffeine intake helps reduce stress (but honestly I’m being a bit of a hypocrite because I drink multiple cups of coffee a day during the school year because I’m constantly exhausted). Getting eight hours of sleep, on average, a night also helps your immune system regulate itself. This is also me being hypocritical because I am too often awake at 1am trying to finish a reading that’s due in less than eight hours. But the point is to try and get eight hours of sleep. Here it’s not the thought that counts, but if you’re pushing yourself to develop better sleeping habits then you’re doing the right thing for your body, even if you only manage to get a half hour more sleep than you usually would.

I’m also trying to eat healthier this go around to give my body a fighting chance against contracting any viruses. I was not very healthy my first year of law school, and I definitely ate out more than I should have. Whole foods and lots of fruits and vegetables are what I’m focusing on this school year!

What ways are you trying to protect yourself from COVID this school year?

This post was sponsored by Mary Ruth’s Organics as part of a SLACK influence campaign. I earn a small commission when you shop through my links. Posts like these help keep my blog up and running!

COVID-19 Update

You’d think with all this “free time” during quarantine I’d find the time to write a few blog posts here and there, but no. I’ve been studying for finals, taking finals, and preparing myself for my summer internship. I’ve done a lot in the past few weeks.

Finals are finished – I’m officially a 2L! Everything got moved online, and classes went pass fail. Most universities did the same. And it’s not like there’s a protocol or a how-to book on running a place of higher education. I think everyone is doing their best, only what “their best” looks like during this time is drastically different from what it was in 2019.

I’m excited to begin my internship sometime this month (or next, depending on how quarantine goes). Once I actually start, and receive permission to tell the internet what my position is and with whom, I’ll make a post about it.

That’s a wrap!

Productivity Apps to Help You Ace Your Finals

If you’ve been following the blog since the beginning, you’ve probably noticed that I used to be all about studying tips and school. I’ve since expanded into more of a lifestyle blog, but I love to drop a quick post about productivity here and there.

I’ve been using some of the same apps off and on since my freshman year of college to help me keep track of how hard I’m working, my goals, and to keep my study space distraction free. Here are my top three favorites:

Flipd

Flipd is an app for smartphones (available on the App store and in Google Play) that helps keep you distraction free. Flipd it technically a digital wellness company, so it’s meant to be used for things other than studying, but I typically use the app to force me to stay off my phone.

I set a timer for five minutes each morning when I get up. This keeps me from scrolling through social media while I’m still under the covers. I honestly think that’s one of my day’s biggest time sucks! I can stay curled up under a pile of blankets liking Instagrams for hours without realizing it – and then my whole day is gone! So I try to set a five minute timer and put my phone down when I first wake up. I started doing this mid-September once I realized that most of my morning was being devoted to other people’s lives rather than preparing myself for my own. I haven’t been late to class since! And I can honestly say my brain feels fresher when I step out of my house each morning, even if it is 8am.

For studying, I tend to set the timer for 20-30 minute increments. This is what the Pomodoro method recommends. Being focused for thirty minutes, then allowing yourself a five minute break, leads to the most productive stretches of time. The way the app works is that you’ll get a countdown for whatever time you set. If you leave the app, your timer dies. You can have the app shut off all your notifications if you need the extra push to stop looking at your phone, but I usually just set the timer and leave it alone. If you forget that you’ve set a timer and leave the app, or open your phone, you’ll get a notification saying that you’ll lose your session if you don’t head back to the app.

The app challenges you to get 180 minutes of distraction free time a day. Their Instagram has monthly challenges to see who can rack up the most Flipd minutes, or be the most productive. They partnered with Passion Planner for 2019 and do productivity giveaways most months.

While I don’t use this feature, you can categorize how you spend your time. I don’t tag my Flipd minutes, but if you’re using the app for different things, like exercising or sleep, then this is a good way to track your progress.

You can also study with groups on the app. Just search using a group name or a group code to find your friends. Mine is called Bailey’s Study Group, and the group code is #xkKGWk

Forest

Forest is another app that can be found in the Apple App Store or on Google Play. While Flipd is a free app, Forest does cost money. I downloaded the app way back when it was free, but now it costs $2 to download. I use the app every day so I think the cost is worth it, but if you’re looking for only one productivity app and don’t want to spend the money, you’re better off using Flipd.

Personally, I like Forest over Flipd because Forest gives me a visual representation of what my time looks like. The app grows a tree, or a shrub depending on how long you set your timer for, while you study. If you end your session, your tree dies. For each tree planted, you get coins. You can use those coins to purchase different types of trees on the app, or donate your coins so that the company can plant a real tree out in the wild.

You can up the stakes in Forest by studying with a group. Any person that leaves the app before time’s up makes everyone’s trees wither.

You can also unlock achievements along the way by spending more time off your phone, growing more trees, and having a variety of plants in your garden.

As a visual learner, I appreciate that Forest gives me a visual representation of what spending time away from my phone looks like. I can go back and view all of the months I’ve been using this app and see the forests I’ve created. The more trees, the more time away from my phone.

Those are the two apps I use for productivity, but I also have a Google Chrome add on called Momentum that I use daily for to-do lists.

Momentum is very popular on the Studygram and Studyblr communities, so you’ve probably seen it before if you follow any Instagram accounts that are about the studying ~aesthetic~

Good luck on finals everybody!

Happy December!

November was an absolute whirlwind of a month. I missed posting to the blog every week, which sucks because I had made a resolution to be better about posting four times a month. Oh well! Life happens.

Here are a few of my favorite things from the month of November:

Food – Will made his grandmother’s potato casserole for Thanksgiving and everyone that tried it adored it. Maybe I’ll have a guest post about it sometime soon? We’ll see!

Drinks – Recently I’ve been very into trying new wines and mulled ciders. I think it all started with Fran Acciardo’s vlog about Trader Joe’s wines. I miss having a Trader Joe’s in town, but for now the wines from Aldi will have to do.

Check out the video here: Trader Joe’s Cheap Wine Review Under $6

Books – While I wish I could say I’ve been able to read for fun during law school, I haven’t. My eyes are so tired at the end of each day that reading before bed seems like more of a chore than a pleasure. I do have quite a few new and noteworthy books in my TBR pile. You can check them out on my Goodreads profile!

I decorated my Christmas tree before I left for Thanksgiving break. I found some mini balloon dog ornaments at Walmart for my tree (which is basically a fluffier version of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree). I’m tempted to get these giant balloon dog ornaments for my parents’ tree at home. How cute!

That’s all for now. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

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.

Facing Imposter Syndrome in Law School

Going into my first week of law school, a friend told me that I would feel like I didn’t belong for pretty much the entire first semester I was at Mercer Law. I brushed it off. I went from a small North Carolina high school to the University of Georgia knowing practically no one. I was the punk rock tomboy that decided to rush and joined Delta Gamma. I had been so far in over my head those first few weeks of undergrad that I didn’t think I’d ever make it back out. I’d practically written the book on not fitting in, so why should law school be any different. 

Flash forward to my fifth week here, and I understand what she means. I don’t belong here. I’m the science kid that always wanted to work with brains where everyone else studied political science. I can write, but I don’t know how to argue. I have a leg up because my father is an attorney, but I still feel lost. Everyone around me is so much smarter. So much more qualified. There’s always one person that gets those tough questions right, and it’s not always me. 

I didn’t think I would be the star student. In fact, I knew I wouldn’t be the star student. I hadn’t practiced critical thinking in so long. My undergrad experience focused on getting the right numbers and memorizing facts. I can regurgitate as flawlessly as a mother bird feeding her nestlings, but catching the prey myself? Forget it. 

I listen to all of the qualifications my classmates bring to the table. They think I’m brilliant because of my science background. I think they’re brilliant because they’re talking about the highlights of their undergraduate experiences or their early careers. There are mothers, some with three or more children, balancing school and home. I think they are superheroes. There’s a guy that has already held a job with the most prestigious law firm in Atlanta, and we all know he’s going to be the only 1L to get their internship. The people that have wanted this dream, wanted to be a lawyer, since their childhoods impress me always. I feel like a fluke compared to them. I am here because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I like reading and writing, and I want to do that more, so I decided to take the LSAT the summer before my senior year of college and hurridly prepare all the applications. I planned on seeing what happened. I got in. I got a full ride. It felt like God was pushing me towards this career. It was like all the stars aligned and suddenly I had this path illuminated before me. And here I am, feeling like I don’t belong. 

This is what’s called “imposter syndrome.” I felt imposter syndrome before, during undergrad, but walking myself through all the work I put into achieving that dream or that role helped me unthink it. Here, I changed my entire life’s course in a sudden decision junior year of college. I studied hard in all of my classes. I took the LSAT twice to get the score I needed. I wrote for weeks to perfect my personal statement. But somehow that doesn’t feel enough. I don’t have a passion for law like my classmates do. Everyone around me knows that they want to work with the law, and they’ve known that for a long time. For some, they’ve known most of their lives. I know that I’m good at reading and writing. I know that I want more reading and writing in my life. I am also passionate about protecting and helping those that need it. So here I am. 

I’ve heard many parents and older friends say that to get through professional school you need to really be passionate about it. You have to really want it. I’m not saying I’m apathetic about my future. I don’t have a fire burning inside me. I don’t have an intangible force compelling me forward and into this career. I am here. I love my courses, genuinely. I understand what’s going on in class. I’m not the smartest, but I’m not the stupidest. I’m not the most driven. This is the first time in my life I haven’t been the most driven individual in the room. 

I feel like you either have to have a dream, a passion, or a drive to belong in law school. I don’t think what I want out of my future (simply because I don’t know for sure what I want out of my future) counts as either of those three things. I’m the odd one out; I don’t belong. Scratch that, I do belong here, I simply feel like I don’t. That’s why imposter syndrome is the worst thing to let get inside your head when getting a professional or a graduate degree.  

People say each person goes through their own vague imposter syndrome moment in law school. Usually, by the end of midterms, or finals, it goes away. I don’t know who I am right now, or what I stand for, but I’m 22 years old and what 22 year old really knows what their life’s purpose is going to be. I don’t know who Law School Bailey is yet, or what she’s passionate about, and I’m going to have to learn to be okay with that. Hopefully I’ll figure it out sooner, rather than later, but I know I’ll make a damn good lawyer one day and that’s what’s helping me put one foot in front of the other right now. 

Law School Room Tour

Now that my first week of classes is done, I’ve officially settled into my new home in Macon. My little house is super cute, and I’m excited that my room has a little more “depth” to it than just four plain white walls.

Most of my decorations are little things that I’ve collected over the years. Whether it’s art from friends, post cards, or treasures from around the world, it all reminds me of all the people I love (and miss).

I’ve been very into Christmas lights recently (maybe it’s because I binged Stranger Things over summer break…or maybe it’s because I get all my decor ideas off Pinterest). One thing I really appreciate about twinkle lights is their ability to create soft light. As someone that frequently gets headaches, I’ve found that soft lighting is essential when having to power through a night’s worth of homework if you’re already feeling like your head is splitting open. My friends with “big girl jobs” use Christmas lights in their offices, too! Soft lighting for the win!

The wall above is still a work in progress, but I like where I’m at so far. I’m planning on adding postcards and letters from friends around the cork board. My favorite piece of art in my room right now is the painted chicken above my desk. I got it outside of the Met while I was in NYC a few weeks ago!

I am excited to see where week two of law school takes me, and if my room ever actually gets “completed.” Hopefully I will still be able to spend downtime here once midterms get started.

What I Did to Prepare for Law School

Hello from Mercer Law! Today is my ~official~ first day of orientation and I am hyped to get myself orientated! I am also scared out of my mind. Seriously. I never thought I’d go to law school, let alone get a full ride. I’m a Woodruff Scholar, and that sort of freaks me out. Part of me is like “how in the heck did I get here?!” and the other part of me is saying “can I even live up to this title?” and then there’s a tiny voice inside that’s chanting “you earned this, so you can do it.” Truthfully, I will always compare myself to my peers and wonder how I ended up in the same room as some of the most brilliant, amazing people I’m sitting next to. I think that’s my twenty-year-old default setting. But preparing for law school, I gave myself a pep talk in perspective.

There’s not much you can do when prepping for law school. Sure you can get advice from everyone you know that’s even gone, but the best thing to do is to understand that to get into law school you had to be smart. Now you’re in a room full of equally qualified people, all as smart or smarter than you. You’re all going to feel not smart enough at some point your first year. Just take that fact in and let it sit with you. Knowing that all those amazing people you think are so much better than you at 1L are just as lost as you are will be comforting. You are not alone.

That’s probably the most depressing pep talk of all pep talks, but I like to know I’m not alone. Figuring that out is so much better than someone half heartedly saying “you got this!” when I have absolutely no idea what in the world I’m doing, let alone how to get to my 8am classroom. I will definitely not “have this” around 75% of the time, and then things will click at the end of the year and I’ll have an “aha!” moment. This much I’ve gathered from 2L’s and recent grads.

Another big thing is to get used to reading. Law school is almost all reading and writing. I’ve read a variety of different things, but mostly things I enjoy. There’s a study that I read that said you need to prep your eyeballs for the amount of reading you’re about to endure, so reading novels back to back through the summer before your 1L year will prep those muscles for their marathon case brief extravaganza. You can check out what I’ve been reading recently in this post, but I’ll have another one up about my summer reads ASAP!

Calm down. Just chill out. I’m so type A that me not doing anything stresses me out until I spend so much time doing nothing that I get used to it. I’m weird like that, I know, but if that’s how you can totally destress then do it. If you spend time with friends, do face masks, play with puppies, volunteer, whatever it is that you do to make yourself feel good and comfortable with life, do it! This might be your last chance until Thanksgiving break.

I set a few goals for myself. Most of them were about self care (like cooking at home at least once a week), but a few were about my studies. When I set goals, I have different tiers. The lowest tier is stuff I know I’m going to accomplish, and I set those goals because checking the “I did it!” box makes me feel good. The next level up is stuff that I want to strive for but can be flexible with, such as getting an internship for next summer that fits with that I want to do long term or being in the top 50% of my class. The top tier is what I really have to push myself for. Those are things like being at the top of my class, exercising regularly, and finishing the novel I’ve been working on forever.

I find that having five goals, with at least one in the top tier, helps me set my own tone for the semester or year (whether it’s for law school, undergrad, a job, what have you). There are things that your professors or your boss is going to expect from you, but there are also things you need to expect from yourself. Holding yourself to a high standard not only helps you reach higher goals, but also teaches you about your self worth. I find that when I get to know my self worth (i.e. how much do I value myself? How much do I respect myself?) I do better overall.

My last little tidbit is to find joy and bring it with you. I did this by saving up notes from friends, usually complements or congratulations, to hang above my desk.

Keep in mind that this is only my very first day ever of law school (and classes technically haven’t even started yet) so I’m not too sure if any of this will actually work, but it’s what I did this summer in preparation. Let me know if you guys want a “halfway” post reflecting back on this advice to see if it actually worked.

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!