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Books Worth Reading as an Adult

I have always been a HUGE reader. When I was in middle school, my parents used to take the bulb out of my bedside lamp because I would stay up until the middle of the night reading and not want to wake up for school the next day. I used to get in trouble in high school Math class for reading under my desk. As I have gotten older, my reading has slowed down a bit just because life has gotten so busy through college and law school. I still relish a few hours to devour a good book though. Few things make me happier than a soft chair, a cup of hot tea and a new book to read.

My taste in books has changed a bit over time as well. I moved on from young adult fiction and veered toward more heavy reading. A lot of my friends say that they don't know what to read as an adult. Today I am sharing a few of my favorite adult reads. There's a little something for everyone; fiction, historical, science, mystery, and romance. My reading interests are very diverse so my recommendations are as well.

The Evolution of My Law School Study Habits- Everything I do to be Successful

Hi all! I have had a few requests lately to do a post about how my study and note-taking habits have changed since my 1L year following my post about how I have been able to raise my GPA. I am now in the summer before my 3L year- my last year of law school. I have learned so much over the last 2 years in regards to studying, time management and productivity. A lot of my study habits and note-taking strategies have changed and a lot has remained the same. I will outline what has changed and what has remained the same in addition to all the tools I use to be successful as a law student. Buckle up folks, this is going to be one long blog post.

The Road To Law School Explained By Hermione Granger

Time for little relateable humor friends! 

I have known I wanted to be a lawyer since I was a little girl. I am not sure if I just woke up one day and said, "I want to be a lawyer," or if I was highly impacted by Elle Woods, but there has never been another career path on my mind. Going from a starry-eyed little girl to a law student has been an interesting road full of twists and turns, good times and bad times and a lot of times asking myself if this is really what I want to do with my life. In the end, I know this is the right career for me, and I am only I academic year shy of graduating law school which both excites and terrifies me. But for all of you out there with the same goals, here is a fun little post about the road we take to pursue that legal education- both good, bad and ugly and all the thoughts I had along the way accompanied by memes of the queen Hermione Granger. 

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!