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Bar Exam Survival Kit + FREE Printable's

I am officially a 3L now which means I am only a year away from studying for the bar exam. It scares the crap out of me. For all those studying for the bar exam right now, I wish you the best of luck and my thoughts are with you!

I have a close friend who just graduated from law school and is studying for the bar. We are going to a concert together tomorrow and I wanted to do something for her because I know she is super stressed about studying and getting ready for the exam. I decided to make up a little "Bar Exam Survival Kit" for her. I used the "Final Exam Survival Kit" examples on Pinterest as a template and made adjustments specific to the Bar Exam and my friend in particular.

Here is what I put in her basket:
  • Flashcards in fun colors 
  • A legal pad because lawyering isn't possible without one
  • A Post-It pad full of inspiring quotes for each day she has to study
  • Bubble Wrap for stress relief 
  • Chocolate for emergencies 
  • Advil for when staring at a computer gets the best of her
  • Emergen-C because no one studying for the bar has time to get sick 
  • A To-Do list pad so she doesn't forget anything 
  • A little frame to put on her desk for motivation 
  • Face masks to "treat-yo-self"

I got almost everything at my local Dollar Tree and TJ Maxx so it was super cheap to put together. The friend I made this for isn't a big coffee drinker and she also doesn't really drink alcohol. For other friends, I would have made a few additions: 
  • A Starbucks gift card or a big off coffee
  • A few mini Wine Bottles 
  • CHampagne to celebrate being done 
I made a cute little list to put on top explaining the contents. I made the printable available for free: click here to print

I also made the little sign that says "If Britney can survive 2007, you can survive studying for the bar exam". I put it in a little 4x6 frame for her to put on her desk. I also made the printable available for free: click this link to print

For the "Emergency Chocolate" bar, I used a regular Hershey's chocolate bar and put a cute little sleeve around it. I found that at this website and was able to print it for free. 

The little sticky notepad has a motivational quote written on each page for the number of days she has remaining to study. My thought was that she can post them up around her desk area and each day she gets a little dose of motivation and inspiration. 

So that's what I did today. I hope my friend likes it when I see her tomorrow. Oh and we are going to see Shania Twain which is SO exciting! 

Once again, for all of those out there studying for the bar exam- GOOD LUCK! You can do it!!!

How to Make Failure Positve in Law School

You know that part in A Knights Tale when William's dad tells him he can change his stars? Go from pauper to Knight? Well, had someone told me after my first semester of law school that I could change my grades and standing in my law school class, I would have said they were crazy. But, thankfully I was wrong. Just like William Thatcher, I was able to change my stars. I was able to go from a very poor first semester to getting the highest grade in one of my classes this spring. A little bit of hard work, trial and error, and probably a little luck got me there.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should explain just how bad my first semester of law school was. I failed one of my classes and had to retake it. I had the lowest GPA of my life by a landslide. My research and writing professor told me I would never be a good legal writer. The only thing worse that could have happened that semester would have been to fail all the way out of law school. I almost quit right then and there. But thankfully my family and friends convinced me to keep going. My second semester was leaps and bounds better. My third semester was even better. My fourth semester is my best to date- I got my highest GPA ever in law school and somehow, I even got the highest grade out of my whole Legal Ethics class. I am certainly not top 10 in my class but just knowing that with hard work and determination, I was able to go from the bottom to the top of at least one class is very rewarding.

I want to share this story to encourage any other who have a rough first semester or a rough class. It is not the end of the world and it does not mean you will never be a good lawyer. Despite the trials I encountered early in my law school career, I know wholeheartedly I am on the right path and this is what I want to do with my life. I figured out how to move past my failure and use it as a learning experience to improve.

So how did I do it?

1. Turn Failure into a Positive Thing
Failure of any kind sucks. We all know that. Whether it is having a poor performance in a class or failing at a job or any of the above... it's not fun. My mom gave me great advice after my horrible first semester: I could either let failure get the best of me and quit or I could use it as motivation to work so hard that I never fail like that again. I chose the later and I urge everyone to do the same in these kinds of situations. I used my failure as a drive to improve, to learn how to be better and do better, to push myself harder and prove that it was a one-time thing. I turned my negative failure into a positive source of motivation because I never wanted to have that happen to me again.

2. Make it a Learning Experience
Failing at something sucks but the good thing is that it teaches you what not to do. You can always make it a learning experience. Figure out what you did wrong and then never do that again. Talk to professors to find out what you could have done better to get a better grade. I studied so ineffectively my first semester... it wasn't that I didn't study long enough or hard enough... it's just that what I was doing was super ineffective and not helpful. I figured out what I did wrong and studied much smarter from then on out. Study harder, study smarter and work so hard that failure is not an option.

3. Don't Let it Define You 
One failure does not define you but how you handle it moving forward does. Don't let your subconscious talk you into forever being "that person who failed a class". Instead, think of yourself as "that person who improved" or "the person who is strong enough to move on from failure". You have the ability to improve and move beyond so make sure that mentally, you move on. Build yourself back up. One failure and one bad grade or one bad semester do not define you.

4. Don't Forget
When I say to move on, I don't mean ignore or forget that you once failed. Don't forget about it because then your one-time failure stops motivating you to do better. When I received word that I received the highest grade in one of my classes this semester, I was elated at the honor and to see my hard work rewarded. I also felt humbled- in that class, I was on top but I know where I started. I know how hard I have worked to improve and prevail past failure. I know that I have to keep working hard and pushing myself to keep myself from going back to a place of failure. So I don't forget or sugarcoat the past, even when it is an ugly moment of my past. Once I failed a law school class. Once I received the highest grade in a law school class. Failure did not define me but neither does success. Both events shaped me, pushed me and affected me. If I had never failed, I may never have learned from my mistakes enough to improve my study habits and rise to the top of another class. Everything happens for a reason.

I hope my story is helpful to others who have had a rough class or rough semester. Never ever let something like that define you. Grades are not everything. Your value as a human being does not rest upon your GPA in law school. There are many great lawyers in the world who were not top 10 in their law school class. I wish everyone the best of luck in law school and beyond!

Summer So Far

Hey guys... I promise I am actually going to produce some quality law school related content soon. But first, a little life update.

Summer is off to a great start and there is a lot of fun still coming: trips, weddings, 5K's and summer days full of sunshine.

My husband and I just got home from an amazing cruise to the Caribbean with Royal Caribbean. We stopped in St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, and Haiti. I ate way too much, got a bit sunburnt and ready a whole pile of easy, breezy summer books. It was fantastic but we are now back to reality.

We have been busy with our house doing some projects. We ripped out the carpet in our master and are currently laying down a new floor in the evening. This means we are living out of baskets and the guest room but the final product will be worth it. We also plan to put in the backsplash in the kitchen and I am redecorating and redoing the furniture in the guest room. It should keep us busy on the weekends!

In other, much more fun, news, I have two exciting concerts coming up: Tim McGraw and Faith Hill this weekend with my husband and his family and Shania Twain next weekend with my law school mentor! I cannot wait; these are some of my favorite artists and they should be fantastic shows.

I have settled into my clerkship with a local judge and I am really enjoying it. I learn a lot, everyone is super nice and it is an interesting perspective on the law. I love spending my days in a historic courthouse helping justice in action.

My grades from spring semester are all in and somehow, despite how busy it was, I got my highest GPA to date in law school this past semester while taking some of my hardest classes (Evidence, Secured Transactions...). I was very pleased with how the semester turned out even though it was exhausting thanks to competing for Moot Court, organizing an intra-school competition, working in Admissions, re-starting the criminal law society at my law school and having night classes 4 days a week. While I am happy about my GPA boost, I am SO glad that semester is behind me and I am looking forward to a less stressful 3L year.

Following our cruise and all the amazing food, I am really ready to get in shape and eat healthier. I downloaded a meal planning app, charged my Fitbit and make a work out schedule. I am shooting for a 5K later this summer so I need to get my butt in gear. I am trying a semi-ketogenic diet along with running and yoga to get feeling better and to hopefully tone up. I am also trying the Teami Tea detox for a few weeks to clean out my system.

I am planning out some quality law school content so check back for that. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far!

A Recap of 2L Year

Well.... I have been away from the blog for a bit. This Spring semester just kicked my butt. Thankfully I am done now and officially a 3L! I cannot believe that... time is flying.

First semester of 2L year was hard- I took 18 credit hours, competed in our interscholastic appellate advocacy competition, started a job in admissions... but I got through it and pulled decent grades.

This semester was especially exhausting.... My moot court competition was super time consuming, I had two of the hardest classes of law school, I was working, participated in a mentoring circle, took on leadership roles in three organizations... there was a lot going on and the motivation to blog just wasn't there.

But now it's over and the wait for grades begins. I have two grades back already and I am very pleased- I got an A in one of my hardest classes of the semester. Next Monday I start my summer internship clerking for a local judge. I am so excited for the opportunity to learn and observe- it is bound to be a great summer.

At the end of May, my husband and I are going on a Carribean cruise and I cannot wait for sun, sand, and relaxation! Other than that, I am enjoying my homework-free days full of puppy snuggles, reading novels for fun and getting some projects done around the house. Just one more year of law school and that thought blows my mind. It had flown by so far.

I wish everyone finishing up finals the best of luck, congratulations to those who are already done and I hope everyone enjoys your summer!

Nailing a Law School Internship Interview

Hello friends... it's been a while. This semester has been kicking my butt.... I am on my last day of Spring Break and just now feeling a touch caught up on life and school. Blogging has been on the backburner lately but I am back at it for today!

Today I am talking interviews- law school interview season is in full swing. Internships are so important but they can be so hard to secure- especially after your 1L year. Below are my tips for nailing your law school internship interview. Interviews and securing an internship is so important for your career so it is best to nail it!

1. Dress for Success
First impressions are EVERYTHING. Dress in a way that presents the image you hope to project: polished, professional and confident. A few things I do whenever I am dressing for an interview or first day of a job:
  • Iron everything- nothing makes you look frumpy faster than wrinkles
  • Light perfume- you do not want to leave them in a cloud smelling like flowers
  • Lay everything out the day before and do a trial try on- I hate to leave ANYTHING to chance the day of my interview
  • Make sure your bag doesn't clash with your outfit 
  • After you are dressed, ask yourself this question when you look in the mirror: would my gradisagreer disgree with anything I am wearing? If the answer is yes, change. If the answer is no, proceed to the interview.
What to actually wear? Here is a handy chart to help both the ladies and gentlemen!

2. Do Some Homework 
Make sure you know something about the firm/company/office you are interviewing with. Look up the people you will be interviewing with and make sure that you have some background. It is important to understand what you are walking into and some of what to expect. This can also help you to prepare some questions for the interviewers because they very well may ask you if you have any questions for them and it looks good to have a few.

3. Firm Handshake
Seriously, if I shake one more hand that feels like a dead fish I am going to scream. Practice a FIRM handshake. I do not mean crush the bones in the hand you are shaking but you need to have a little grip and show through this handshake that you mean business. It projects confidence and strength which is especially important as a woman in a field often dominated by men. Once again for the people in the back- FIRM handshake!

4. Be Yourself 
One of the worst things you can do in an interview is fake it. It is not worth it; you will slip up and make a fool of yourself. Or the fact that you are faking something will come across as unconfident and weak. Be yourself and project your professional self to the people interviewing you. They either like you for you and hire you or they don't. If you misrepresent yourself and get the job, eventually the misrepresentation will come out and you will look bad. Be honest, be real and be you.

5. Be Nice to Everyone 
A story my career services office always tells is of a law firm who would send a limo to pick up students for interviews. After the interview, the hiring attorneys would ask the chauffeur for their opinion of the student and how they treated the chauffeur. This is an important reminder that you must be nice and courteous to everyone you encounter be it the secretary, security guard or a partner in the firm. You want to leave a good impression on EVERYONE you encounter. In my first internship during my 1L summer, the secretary was married to the chief of the office. Had I left a poor impression on her, it very well could have been the difference between getting the internship or not.

6. Thank You Notes are Still a Thing 
After your interview, a great thing to remember is to send a short thank you note or email. This shows that you care and are thankful regardless of if you get the position or not. It may help to set you apart from the pack as well. Either way, it only takes a moment and can have a huge impact on the recipient. You can get a pack of Thank You notes super cheap at walmart or target and just keep them on hand.

Best of luck on the interviews!