#The3Llife: Planning Ahead for Finals

GUEST BLOG by Harrison Thorne,
3L at UCLA Law

Finals are around the corner.

Many law students will begin spending longer hours in the library. Panic will ensue. Instead of joining the masses, here are my suggestions:

  1. Prioritize what matters.
    Reading for classes is very important. However, late in the game, finals prep is more important. If you have not begun outlining, then I would suggest allocating your time that way instead of meticulously reading every page and underlining/highlighting key phrases. Think about it—how many times have you gone back and looked at what you highlight?! Instead of reading, consider getting a Quimbee account and reading well-written case briefs.
  2. Collect past outlines.
    Many schools have outline databases. If your school does not, reach out to former students, or search for outlines on an online outline-bank (they’re out there).
  3. Meet with teachers.
    This cannot be emphasized enough. Teachers are the people writing and grading the test. If you speak with them about any and everything you don’t understand, you will be ahead of the game.
  4. Take practice tests.
    Many students wait until they feel sufficiently prepared before even considering practice tests. This is a mistake. Do not take practice tests before you have done any preparation, but do not wait until the day before the test, either.
  5. Stay calm.
    A lot of law students turn into piles of anxiety during “finals season.”  Do not do this.  Worrying excessive does not change your test date or help you study. In fact, worrying causes decreased memory retention, and ruins your life! A bit of healthy fear is fine, but do not freak out.  And do not look at what other people are doing. Do your own thing, work hard, and let the results fall where they fall.

5 Great Things About Studying for the Bar

Taylor Friedlander,
BARBRI Director of Legal Education

Does this headline strike you as far-fetched? After all, everyone knows that studying for the Bar Exam is a difficult experience. It’s a fact that’s tried and true, in the way the Pope is Catholic and the sky is blue. But don’t let that get you down. Yes, even though studying for the bar is a tough nut to crack, the process (and the end results) are rewarding. Below are some silver linings to keep in mind:

  1. Studying for the Bar is a bonding experience with your fellow classmates
    Only your classmates will truly understand what you are going through. Yes, your family can offer support, and your friends can pepper you with pep talk, but at the end of the day, nothing compares to the empathy you get when you and your fellow JDs talk the talk of MBEs. (And the same goes to you LLMs!) I know it’s tempting to say that you’re doing little more than suffering together, but believe me – you’re also bonding over a unique shared experience. (Aww.)
  1. BARBRI gives you another point of connection with practicing attorneys
    It’s strange but true – attorneys like to talk about their time on the Bar Prep battlefield. They’ll reminisce about cracking open their huge box of BARBRI books, and nerd out about how Erwin Chemerisnky schooled them on Con Law. BARBRI is a great icebreaker whenever I talk to other attorneys. Almost everyone has a unique story to share!
  1. You’ve got the I’m Studying for the Bar Card (hereinafter “ISBC”) in your back pocket.
    Don’t want to go to Aunt Sally’s birthday? Never fear: you’ve got the ISBC, and simply can’t sacrifice the study time. Not jazzed about helping your friend move a futon over the weekend? ISBC. Don’t feel like cat-sitting Brownie? ISBC. It’s the perfect excuse to help put your time to good use.
  1. Taking a break will feel better than it ever has
    Whatever your outlet – whether it’s going for a run, taking a dance class, grabbing happy hour with friends – will feel better than it ever has. Bar Prep is so intense that once you take the time to give yourself a much-deserved break, the joy you experience will multiply.
  1. You’re about to become a lawyer
    The bar exam is different from any other kind of test you’ve prepped for. All other exams have been a stepping-stone. The SAT got you to college. The LSAT got you to law school. But this – this is IT. This is the marathon to the finish line. Come hell or high water, ice or fire, passing this test earns that title, “ESQUIRE.” Yes, it is a journey, but remember –  BARBRI is there for you every step of the way to help you #OWNTHEBAR!

#The1Llife: Keep Your Head Up

GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
1L at UCLA School of Law

KEEP YOUR HEAD UP (Shout Out to Andy Grammar)

Here at UCLA Law, 1Ls have the final graded memo due this week and Spring Break is next week. I’ve noticed that a lot of my classmates are dragging, as am I. I heard a lot about how hard law school was going to be before I came here. While I love it and am so glad I chose to come to law school, and UCLA in particular, it is definitely the most difficult venture I have ever undertaken.

One of the most difficult characteristics of law school is balancing the rest of your life with it. I’ve written several posts now about how to balance life and law school, but I’m not doing very well at it right now. In light of my great-uncle’s passing, I have become despondent and, frankly, apathetic to everything. This makes attending law school pretty difficult.

This post is for everyone who is struggling at this point in the semester.

I feel you. I am unabashed about wrestling with depression and anxiety. I dealt with them prior to coming to law school, but both are far more exacerbated now. With multiple family members being diagnosed with cancer and other illnesses, including my mother (who underwent surgery) and my great-uncle (who passed away) and other family issues, the personal issues in my life have tested me greatly this 1L year. I’m not sure how I’m going to get to Spring Break, let alone the end of the semester. But I’m leaning heavily on my friends to try to get there. One thing I’m trying to do is learning to ask for help. My professors and the administration have been tremendously supportive of me, and I am grateful for that. If you’re having difficulties outside of school that are affecting your schoolwork, I definitely suggest you speak to your Dean of Students or other administrative figure that can help by providing accommodations.

I’m terribly headstrong and prideful. I do not like asking for help. But I am finding myself in a position this semester that I must. I hope that if you are finding this semester to be more difficult than normal, that you too seek assistance from people to make it easier for you. If you want to talk, you may reach me at gies2018@lawnet.ucla.edu.