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 don 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).

 

IMG_0002

Farewell, Washington; Hello, Washington!

Senator Patty Murray and Me

Me with Senator Patty Murray, Ranking Member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

Thanks to BU Law’s Semester in Practice Program, my last day externing in the U.S. Senate was also my last day of law school. I could not have wished for a more perfect ending to these three wonderful years.

Going into this externship, my primary goals were to learn how Congress conducts oversight over the executive branch, to better understand the varied roles that government lawyers play within partisan policy committees, and to explore new areas of substantive law. In short, I embraced this externship as an opportunity to learn in a wholly different professional and legal environment than any I had previously experienced.

While I fulfilled these stated objectives, this externship also revealed something that, in retrospect, had been an unconscious goal all along: I wanted to feel useful.

In my application to BU Law, I explained that my motivation for attending law school was fueled by a desire to expand my advocacy tool kit. I had worked as a community organizer; I had lobbied lawmakers. But I had never learned how to shape and influence our legal system beyond the confines of advocacy as an outside actor.

I’m proud to say that law school has helped me cultivate these skills—through rigorous doctrinal classes and policy seminars, through BU’s Legislative Policy & Drafting Clinic where I served my first client, and through my summer internships working at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and at a law firm in Seattle. I thus felt ready and eager to spend my final semester outside of the classroom and to put my training into practice.

As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, I could not have asked for a better externship placement. Since day one my team has treated me like a colleague, entrusting me with significant assignments and responsibilities. I participated in internal meetings where my opinions were valued and encouraged; I drafted blueprints for potential investigations; I alerted agencies to their misapplication of the law. I enjoyed the challenge, but the greatest reward was knowing that my small contribution was making a positive difference in government.

Next week will bring me back to Boston for Commencement. I look forward to celebrating with my dear friends and saying our final goodbyes (for now!) Then it’s back home to my beloved Washington State. The sun is setting on this adventure, but the dawn of the next is just beginning to rise.

Why I Chose to Study for the Bar in Paris

When you think of bar exam studying, you think of two months of basically a black hole. Now, since I haven’t actually started studying for the bar yet, I can neither confirm or deny the truthfulness of that statement.

When I was signing up for bar courses, I needed to make a decision- namely, where I was going to take the bar exam, and based on that, where I was going to study for the bar. If you’ve read some of my previous blogs, you will know that deciding where to take the bar exam was a veryyyy long, back and forth decision making process. So in terms of where I should study for the bar, I was even more up in the air, especially because I needed to decide what to do about my lease in Paris.

I always envisioned myself studying for the bar at BU Law, where I spent two years studying and succeeding. I am so comfortable with the law tower, the law library, and with Boston in general. But I started to realize that the location was not as important as the comfort. I have moved a LOT. I have lived in three different cities and 5 different apartments just in the last three years. And what I wanted for studying for the bar was stability. I thrive on schedules and consistency when I’m working on a specific task, and I came to realize that right now, my stability is in Paris. My things are in Paris, my current daily routine is in Paris, my study spots are in Paris. I’m comfortable here.

Moreover, I don’t yet know where I’m going. With the current job applications I have in, I could be in one of 6 cities, on one of three continents. I’m ok with that, I’m good at moving! But studying for the bar in Boston wouldn’t have been moving back to Boston, it would have been more like visiting for 8 long weeks. I wouldn’t have my Boston apartment, I wouldn’t be in my Boston neighborhood. I would be in limbo, in a sublet, with all of my world possessions with me waiting for my next move.

So I made the decision to stay in Paris. In most situations, I would prioritize being able to attend the lectures in person and being as close to the source as possible. But for this particular decision, being where I was comfortable, confident, and in control seemed to be the most important thing. In the end, I have decided to take the bar exam in New York, so turns out I wouldn’t have been in Boston anyway! I’m happy with my decision, and I feel almost excited to start studying for the biggest exam of my life. It will be a bit strange not being surrounded by other people who are studying for the bar day in and day out, but in a way, I think maybe being removed from that kind of a stressful scene will help me to stay calm, focused, and confident. Confidence is huge for me- if you’ve read my previous blogs, you know that I absolutely, 100% believe it is the key to success, so I’m pleased I have set myself up to be as confident as can be on exam day!