The Conclusion of 2L

It’s hard to believe I am now officially two thirds of the way done with Law School! I finished up with finals much earlier than I did last year, and luckily did not have the writing competition on my plate, so I’m pretty ecstatic to have had a few weeks off before starting my summer job this year. I wanted to write a little bit about my journey during 2L and the biggest lessons it instilled in me.

  1. 2L was busier than I could have imagined. Everyone told me that 2L was less stressful than 1L in terms of the work load, but that it was actually busier, and this held very true for me. Between Note Topic deadlines, Source Coordinations and Tech Checks for Journal, applying for summer positions, and the like, my schedule was pretty swamped. Regardless, I welcomed the juggling act with open arms because it was much less intense than 1L.
  2. The Note writing process was surprisingly enjoyable. I wouldn’t call it fun per se, but I will say that, for me, the note writing process was truly gratifying. One of the reasons I chose to pursue law school was because of my natural affinity for both reading and writing, and once the majority of my research was done and my topic was more fully-fleshed out, I got a lot of gratification out of writing and editing my Note. For me, the hardest and most tedious part was picking a topic and refining it so that I would not have any preemption issues, but once that was done, I found it much more enjoyable than reading for classes.
  3. Sleep is your friend. I know I’ve talked about this in several blog posts, but I prioritized sleep during 2L because of how poorly I felt during the lack of sleep that comes with the territory of 1L. During the Fall of 2L, I wasn’t as intentional about this and was still running on empty, to be honest. But once we reached Spring and I came down the flu, I knew something had to change. Prioritizing sleep was essential for me, and I know I’ll be carrying that with me into 3L.
  4. Don’t take things too seriously. After finishing 1L, my perceptions about so many things changed, and one major thing that it taught me going into 2L was to not take myself, other people, or life, too seriously. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the pressures of law school, both academically and socially, but it’s really important to remember who you are, what brought you here, and the value in laughing things off as much as possible.

Overall, I’m glad to be two thirds of the way through law school and am endlessly grateful for all of the lessons that 2L taught me.

Dreams Do Come True

I’m done with law school. I’m actually done. DONE.

It’s been a week since I submitted my last paper, and it’s still sinking in. Tomorrow I get to sit alongside my classmates and receive a diploma that reflects three years of hard work, amazing experiences, and yes, tears. And I’m done!

My path to law school was long and windy. After undergrad, I worked as a legal assistant for several years. I saw litigation happening up-close, day after day. And I wanted so badly to be able to do more. I learned as much as I could about procedure, and picked up bits and pieces about the substantive areas of the law I encountered. (Plus – being a legal assistant DID make civil procedure a bit easier!) But the thing about the legal industry is that it’s a licensed industry. In order to make the difference I wanted to make, I had to become a lawyer.

Several years ago, as I was studying for the LSAT, I wrote this poem. It was inspired by how I felt, sitting at a desk every day directly across from an attorney’s office. I wanted more than anything to be a lawyer. To be able to write a motion, not just check it for typos. To sign off on a brief, not just make copies of it.

And what’s incredible, is that tomrrow I will receive my JD. I still have hurdle of the bar, but tomorrow I receive a piece of paper that proves to me that dreams can come true.

Hallway

Hallways are not runways here
Between offices and desks are ramparts
Thick as the grime in the 4 feet of thin carpet
They stride over
Oblivious to the wall that doesn’t seem to bother them
Like drowning in the sight of oxygen
Office creature climbs atop rampart to interact with desk creature
Sole purpose some mundane task
Two strangers as if from two different worlds
Neither cares to cross
So I guess I’m alone
Ive always loved climbing rocks but ive never wanted to climb a wall so much
All I want is to cross

 

Post-Finals Reset

Now that finals are over, most of us have at least a week of break-time before jumping into our next adventures at our summer jobs. Last year I had three weeks of down-time, and this year I only have one-and-a-half weeks, but nonetheless there are a few things that I find absolutely necessary to reset my physical, mental, and emotional well-being and bring me back to balance before embarking on the next adventure. I thought I’d share a few of the things I find imperative, and hope to hear from others on what they like to do to unwind after a long year!

Time with Family and Friends

I’ve spent the past month and a half saying no to engagements with family and friends on the weekend because I’ve needed the time to study. The first thing I like to do after finals are over is to say “yes,” immediately, to seeing my family and friends. This accomplishment of finishing the year is not just mine but also the accomplishment of my support system as well. This year, finals ended right before Mother’s Day, which was perfect timing. I got to celebrate with my parents and family, including my sister on her first Mother’s Day and my niece! I also made plans to see my college roommates for a girls’ weekend at the lake and to catch up with law school friends outside of the classroom before we go our separate ways for the summer.

Clean (again!)

If you may recall, I recently wrote a post about “procrasti-cleaning,” or the pre-finals cleaning I have to do before I really get down into studying. Well, despite the cleaning I did before finals, things always end up being somewhat of a disaster after finals, as well. Enter: another round of cleaning! It helps “purge” the stress, tension, and anxiety that have been building and harboring for the past month. I also take this time to return textbooks and recycle class papers and notes I won’t need. This helps de-clutter and make way for any documents or materials I’ll need for the summer and next school year!

Something fun by yourself

Something I’m actually not very good at yet but am trying to do more of is doing things alone. I usually get so caught-up in seeing everyone else and attending to relationships that I haven’t been able to support in the past months that I forget to take some time to breathe, alone, and be proud of myself for the effort I’ve put in. This year I got lucky, as the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Playoffs had an opening round game at Boston College, and the two teams playing were Syracuse (my favorite team) and Princeton. It was a balmy Friday afternoon and though I was tired from the flurry of activity right after finals I drove myself there and went. When I was there, I wasn’t a law student on break, I was another lacrosse fan who just sat and was present at the game. It was a fantastic game (though Syracuse lost) and went into double overtime. Doing this one thing by myself was really relaxing, and I enjoyed the sense of calm it brought.

Something fun you’ve been putting off

This can be with friends or alone, whichever you prefer, but I think it lends less to self-reflection and more to fun. We’ve had to say “no” to practically 75% of the “fun” things that come our way during the school year because we don’t have the freedom our peers have on the weekends. Take some time to schedule something you had to miss out on, like going rock-climbing or to a food truck festival, or even just take a Sunday and do “normal” things you don’t usually get to do: go to Brookline Booksmith, visit a specialty food and wine store, read a novel, and enjoy the freedom of not having a schedule for once!

Self-Care

Self-Care is one of the things I think our generation in general is lacking, not to mention everyone in law school who puts their studies above their own well-being. Self-care is really important and integral to personal maintenance; without self-care, you won’t be able to jump into the summer as your best self! Self-care can mean a lot of things: it can be treating yourself to a pedicure, getting a massage, buying a new outfit for work; it can also mean stocking up with healthy food at the grocery store, scheduling doctor’s appointments that you’ve been putting off, or setting up a work-out routine. Self-care isn’t always “treat yo’self,” and sometimes it’s not that fun (doctor’s appointments and working out!) but it is so important to making sure we can keep going and be our best selves.

Are there any routines or things you like to do after finals to reset? Let me know!

Seven Days

Seven days from today my fellow 3Ls and I will dawn our red and purple caps and gowns and graduate from BU Law. I’m ecstatic that one of my dearest friends is our student speaker, and I can’t wait to hear what words of wisdom and encouragement he will send us off with.

As my final blog post, here is my send away to the class of 2018:

First, I would like to offer a special thank you to Dean O’Rourke for her outstanding leadership and service to the school. During our 1L year you were named as one of the nation’s most influential legal educators—and it’s easy to see why. Under your direction the school has blossomed—from the development of the Redstone Building to the growth of our public interest community and programs.

Your student-centric approach to legal education has fostered a culture of community and collegiality that even outside observers couldn’t miss. I vividly recall participating in a student-led interview with a faculty candidate and hearing them remark how struck they were by how happy students our students are – imagine that, smiling law students on the eve of finals!

A strong community culture starts at the top, and we in the class of 2018 could not have been luckier to attend BU during your tenure as Dean. Thank you for your constant support, accessibility, and innovative leadership.

I’ve spent a great deal of time reflecting on what has happened over the course of these past three years. During our shared time at BU we carved out very different paths for ourselves. We fell in love; we become engaged; we married; we brought new life into this world. I continue to be inspired by our resilience in the face of all manner of tribulations—and trials!

In seven days we will disperse to every corner of this country and beyond to pursue our individual dreams. But as different as our time has been, as different as our lives shall be, we still share a collective experience—an experience born of our training, of our shared labor, but above all, of our unique moment. For no one else in history will experience this moment in time. It is ours. We know it intimately, better than any to come, and we bear responsibility for its outcome. This moment, our moment, is what I would like to address.

There is no question that the world looks monumentally different today than it did when we began this adventure in August of 2015. As 1Ls, we pored over centuries of opinions that painted a rich and dynamic portrait of this country’s history—the ebb and flow of economic, political, and social movements; periods of division, uncertainty, and fear. The legal doctrines and rules embedded in these opinions offered a snapshot of how our institutions responded to each generation’s unique needs and demands.

But our study of the common law was not merely a history lesson. Our participation in classes, clinics, and internships have taught us how to navigate our current legal systems – how to advance or resist our cause through avenues such as impact litigation, legislative advocacy, and policy-making.

Outside the Redstone Building and Law Tower, we have seen our profession rise in the public’s esteem. Once the butt of jokes, lawyers are now at forefront of this nation’s most heated political and legal debates. As our institutions are challenged from within and without, people look to lawyers to uphold our democratic system. To uphold the rule of law itself.

As students, we have contributed to this change. We welcomed immigrants at Logan Airport and informed them of their rights. We drafted amicus briefs when courts sought guidance. We both staffed government agencies and served as their watchdogs.

And so this is our moment. As students, we are on the cusp of joining a profession on the front lines of change. As lawyers, we will be the ones people look to as this country decides what it will preserve and what it will become. As advocates, we must decide what we are advocating for.

I leave each of us with this to contemplate:
We leave BU with tools.
We leave BU with a broader context.
BU leaves us with a choice: What will your contribution be?

Thank you.

 

Summer 2018 Bucket List

Summer 2018 is (ALMOST) here! With the warm weather giving me a glimpse into outdoor activities after the long, cold winter, I’m itching to get started on my 2018 Summer Bucket List. I thought I’d share a few of my bucket list items with you all in case you’d like to join me! Not all of them are new, but if I’ve put it on my bucket list for a second year, that means it must be really, really good!

  1. Coolidge Corner Art Festival

This item isn’t new; I attended the art festival for the first time last summer. I loved it so much that I’m so looking forward to going again! This year it is June 2nd and it takes place on Babcock Street in Coolidge Corner. The art festival features local, independent artists that sell all sorts of creative goods: paintings, photography, prints, clothing (I saw a very eccentric RBG shirt last year that I may have to hunt down!), wood work, metal work, you name it! I snagged some amazing prints for my gallery wall last year and plan on getting one more this year along with perhaps jewelry or that RBG shirt! I also invited my mom who loves unique art pieces. For people less than thrilled with art (aka significant others you drag along with you) there’s a plethora of food trucks and beer vendors available to keep everyone full and happy! For more information see here.

2. See a movie at Coolidge Corner Theatre 

While we’re on the topic of RBG, the new documentary about her life recently came to theaters including the fabled Coolidge Corner Theatre. Seeing a movie at this theatre has been on my bucket list since I moved to Brookline two years ago. My law school friend and I have plans to see the RBG movie once finals are over! Check out the Coolidge Corner Theatre showtimes here.

3. City Hall Plaza

Okay, so Boston’s City Hall is a monstrosity of brutalism architecture that is just all around hideous. As a result, the area surrounding it was kind of… bleh. But Boston has really stepped up its game recently by revamping City Hall Plaza and having seasonal “pop-ups” of activity. The summer is really great, as they host the annual Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl and the Boston Pizza Festival. I’ve been to the pizza festival, and the Scooper Bowl draws my dad, sister, and brother-in-law every year. But I’m really excited for City Hall Plaza’s constant summer session this year: Honeycomb Creamery ice cream (I’m an ice cream snob, so I’m excited to try this new place!), Wachusett Brewery, mini-golf, and a rotation of food trucks AND rescue puppies to pet every week. What isn’t to love?!?! Find out more details here.

4. Red Sox Game

Is it really a Boston summer if you don’t go to at least one Red Sox game? (Answer: no, no it’s not).

 

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