Waffles

5 years ago, I called my dad. I was seriously considering applying to law school, and I wanted his advice. I have always been close to my dad, and long after turning 18, I continue to seek his wisdom and advice.

He answered the phone. After the initial hello’s, I said, “Dad, I want your advice about law school.” In a classic case of real-life “telephone,” my dad heard something very different. He thought I said, “Dad, I want your advice about waffles.”

While I love baking, and I grew up baking with my dad, I typically don’t call him up for advice about what I should eat for breakfast.

We had a good laugh, and he gave me his thoughts on law school. But what I remember most from that conversation is what I promised him. I told him that if I ever graduated from law school, I would take him out for waffles.

On Sunday, I graduated from law school. Now it’s finally time to take my dad out for waffles. He lives in California, so I won’t be able to take him out for a while. In the meantime, however, I’m going to whip up some waffles for my roommates here in Boston! Nothing says bar-prep-here-I-come like a delicious plate of crispy, fluffly waffles.

In honor of this comedically ridiculous, yet nostalgic, promise, I wanted to share with you a fantastic waffle recipe (which, now that finals are over, I have time to make!)

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat waffle iron. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla, just until smooth.
  2. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve hot.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/22180/waffles-i/print/?recipeType=Recipe&servings=6&isMetric=false

 

Here are my personal recommendations:

  1. No need to add salt! There is plenty of sodium in the other ingredients. I’ve been baking successfully without salt for years.
  2. You can always use skim milk to keep the caloric count on the lower side.
  3. Add fun mix-ins! Fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.

I cannot wait to take my dad out for waffles. But in the meantime, I am going to bake more waffles than my roommates know what to do with!

 

Reflection: LSAT to J.D.

Motivation in law school can come and go. During 1L, motivation is often at its highest, because the grades that really matter are 1L grades. By 3L, staying motivated and keeping your head in the books can be very challenging.

But the struggle to stay motivated is not limited to law school. I’ve heard from so many lawyers over the years about burnout. Particularly for attorneys in such areas as foster care, where the suffering of your clients is a constant. I went to law school because I wanted to work in foster care, and I took what these lawyers said seriously. I know there will be times in the future when I will struggle to keep going. When the emotional weight will seem too heavy.

While I was studying for the LSAT, my motivation was at its highest. I wanted to go to law school so badly. I wanted it more than anything. So I decided to write a letter to my future self, to remind me of what it felt like to be motivated – what it felt like to want to make real change. What it felt like to want to give a voice to the voiceless.

Here are some snippets of what I wrote:

Remember the way you felt the first time your boss took you to a courthouse. You were captivated. Your breathe was taken away. The statues outside awed you. When you got back in the car, you told your boss “if you let me spend much more time in here, I won’t be able to stay away from law school.” I believe he responded “really?” not quite understanding what I had experienced. But I think he did understand. His caring was deeply inspirational to me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget his unwavering commitment to defending the voiceless. 

Remember how significant the Supreme Court Justices have been in developing your passion and understanding. Never forget Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas, Justice Kennedy, Justice Ginsberg.

Remember how you feel when it seems like people take their JD for granted.

Don’t ever forget how much you wanted this, and how hard you worked to get here.

Remember your idealism.

And your brain is your brain. Whatever its caliber, it’s ok. Keep sharpening your mind, but don’t wish you were smarter. The work that requires a more intelligent brain was meant for someone else.

 

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!