BarPrepLife: The Results Are In — I passed!

passed

GUEST BLOG by Katie R. Day
Quinnipiac University School of Law, J.D. Candidate 2018

This is a blog post that I have been waiting over three years to write.

Since I started law school, I’ve been thinking about the day I would finally become a practicing attorney. As I struggled through 1L classes, tough internships, and an intense bar prep study program, I kept my eyes on this light at the end of the tunnel.

And now it’s here.

I can finally say I PASSED THE BAR EXAM!!!!

passed

A huge congratulations to all of my fellow new attorneys! I’m so proud of the hard work we put in and the great attorneys we’re going to become.

The bar exam was a hard process. I’ve never studied harder, stressed more, or had as much self-doubt as I did in the months leading up to this exam. But I can say with confidence that it was the best decision I made.

For the law students taking the bar in the coming year, and for my friends who will be taking the exam again, I promise you all the hard work, the late nights, and the occasional tears are worth it. Keep the faith. Keep pushing through. And next bar exam season, your name will be on the pass list!

Christmas Wishlist

wishlist

Guest Blog by Courtney Boykin, 3L at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

The semester is “over.”

No more exams… No more studying… No more intense studying… at least for a while. I’m super excited to finally have a break. This semester has been challenging in more ways than one, but I’m super excited to spend a few weeks at home, uninterrupted, with my family.

For law students, Christmas can be a very interesting holiday. You always get those really weird legal questions, but that just comes with the territory. At any rate, I thought it’d be fun to create a wishlist of the best Christmas gifts a law student could receive (and actually use).

Here are a few Wishlist ideas:

  • Pencils, pens, and highlighters
  • Gift Cards (BARBRI (yes, please!), restaurants, grocery stores, gas, boutiques, iTunes…all of it!)
  • Blankets
  • Mugs
  • A Picture book (Hey, it gives your brain rest.)
  • Money (because…money)
  • Headphones

Some of these may be unconventional and not very “Christmas-y,” but they’re usable nonetheless. Ha!

Merry Christmas and I’ll talk to you next semester!

Managing Finals Stress

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 2L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

It’s not 1L anymore, but finals are still stressful … especially if you haven’t secured your 2L summer job yet; are applying for a clerkship, or know you want to try to re-do the OCI process during 3L. To add to the stress, as a 2L there’s a higher likelihood that instead of just having straight exams, you probably have a combination of exams, final assignments/projects, and lengthy seminar papers to write. Prepping for each of these finals requires different strategies, but managing your stress throughout should be fairly uniform!

During my first years of college, I was a bundle of stress when it came to preparing for finals. But, over the years I’ve found that five things really help me to stay relatively stress-free during the most dreaded time of the year (for students that is).

One:

Have Something to Look Forward to

It can be easy to feel like you’re drowning in finals stress when there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. To avoid this phenomenon I like to plan something fun, like a trip or concert, that I can look forward to throughout the finals season. Having that event in mind makes me feel like I’m working towards something, and gives me a reason to smile and push through when I feel like finals will never end!

Two:

Healthy & Regular Meals

Your body, skin, and mind will thank you for this one! Eating healthy meals regularly throughout exam season gives your body the fuel it needs to be energized so you can push through those late night study sessions. Plus, when you’re living off of junk food and Chinese takeout your body isn’t functioning at its optimal level … meaning your study sessions are likely less efficient than they could be. I also find the simple routine of making a meal to be relaxing, especially since it generally gives me a small break between study sessions!

Three:

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

I cannot emphasize how much time management helps ease stress during finals time, and just generally. If you’re a procrastinator like me, having a schedule ensures that you don’t leave studying until the last minute. It also lets you figure out when you have free time for laundry, grocery shopping, naps, etc. so you don’t end up feeling overwhelmed by the combination of studying and real-life responsibilities and necessities.

Finals

Four:

Take Breaks

Once you’ve figured out a study schedule, make sure you slot in some breaks as well– and I don’t just mean 10-minute intervals. Finals season for most students runs for two-plus weeks, you need to have a few days or half days off during that time to avoid the dreaded burnout. Furthermore, having those breaks added into your schedule not only helps you avoid stress naturally by allowing your body to relax and recharge, but it also gives you something to look forward to during the week.

Five:

Don’t Cut Social Ties

It can be difficult, if not impossible to find time to hang out with your family and friends in the midst of finals season, but that doesn’t mean you need to cut all social ties. When you’re stressed because you feel like you don’t understand something it can help to reach out to your study group, or a friend from class. On the opposite spectrum, however, when you’re just feeling generally overwhelmed it can be beneficial to talk to a friend or family member outside of the law school environment to help ground you.

As a 2L how have you learned to manage your finals stress? Are there any tips or tricks that work particularly well for you?!

Reading Week, Finals and a Job Search, Oh My!

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 1L at the University of Arizona

Job search during finals, are you kidding me? Though Reading Week has arrived, and I am frantically trying to reassure myself that I am prepared and ready to take practice exams, and my actual exams in less than a week. If you are like me, your focus will be exclusively on finals, but don’t forget that with the arrival of December 1 it also means that we can start submitting applications to firms in an attempt to secure our 1L summer positions.

It is VERY accurate that paid 1L positions are rare, but there are a ton of unpaid opportunities out there allowing us to gain experience while also giving back. Many of us will spend our summers working for non-profits, clerking for judges or by supporting government agencies. So rather than wasting your winter break hitting refresh to see if grades have posted, prepare your application materials, update or create your LinkedIn page, and take a proactive approach to land your summer legal position.

First, get your application materials together

This will typically be a resume, cover letter and a writing sample (be sure to pay attention to page limits). The great thing is you can use the resume that you prepared for law school applications, as a jumping off point for your resume. Be sure to update your resume with your law school and add any awards you received, plus be sure to mention when your GPA can be expected. There are a lot of great resources out there for you to find example cover letters, and resumes, but be sure to book some time with your career services for any extra help or advice.

Next, update or create your LinkedIn

If you do not already have a LinkedIn account, now is the time to create one. LinkedIn can be an excellent tool for networking, learning more about law firms, and establishing your personal brand. If you aren’t sure where to start here is a recently published article from Above the Law to get you started. I have used LinkedIn this semester to build my network as I met with people who have visited my law school for lunchtime chats and to connect with visiting students. This has already paid off, as I have received leads on 1L positions! If you’d like to add me to your network, feel free to connect to me!

Finally, reach out to Employers

There are a variety of different ways to do this. Most people will just send their cover letters, resumes and writing samples and wait for a response. That is a sound approach, but don’t be afraid to be a bit more proactive. You can list your resume on career sites like Monster and Career Builder, and do not forget about your law school’s career website. You will likely to need to have a presence on your school’s career site for Spring OCI, so take advantage of winter break to get your account established and to reach out to employers.

job search

In many cases, your school should be your first place to look for opportunities, however, I am also excited to let you know about a new BarBri website to help you look for a job that is just for law students, The Law Preview Job Network. Be sure to check out the link and establish your account today.

As a final point, do not forget the value of face to face contact and try to visit law firms. This is a great move, especially if you will be home for the holidays and you know you want to find employment in that city. Get out there be seen! Good luck on your finals and job search and I will see you next semester!