Road Trip!

After turning in the final exam and officially reaching the end of the 1L gauntlet, I couldn’t help but thinking where I was a year ago.

One year ago today, my girlfriend and I had three weeks left on our lease on our Hawaiian apartment. With uninterrupted views of the Pacific, we knew it would be tough to leave. We must have been crazy to leave behind that apartment, that view, that weather, and those two steady paychecks to dive back into the world of academia. But we did. I drove my car to the shipping yard to make the trans-Pacific voyage, where we would meet it in Seattle and begin a new chapter. It was an adventure that would culminate with the clicking of a button on ExamSoft to submit my Constitutional Law exam, and the completion of year one of law school.

Since it was a year ago, I realize there is a whole class of students embarking on the same journey just about now, coming from all over the country to join the BU Law Community. It is an exciting prospect for many reasons, and one of the best parts, for those coming from afar, might be the journey out here.

We met the car in Seattle on June 8, and spent the next three weeks driving east, where we ended up in Boston just in time for Independence Day. There was no more fitting celebration then spending the Fourth of July walking the Freedom Trail. It was an amazing trip, so I put together a little list for those of you who might be coming to Boston by car of some stops that are worthwhile. Listed from West to East, here they are:

Arky’s B&B/Redwood National and State Park

After picking up the car in Seattle, we made our way down the Pacific Coast by way of Portland in order to see the famed redwoods. Surprisingly, there is not a huge selection of hotels in the vicinity of the redwoods to choose from, so we happened upon a B&B called Arky’s in the small town of Smith River. It was a true find— set in a waterfront mid-century mansion, complete with its own bowling alley, it is a piece of Americana in itself. From our room, we could see seals resting on the rocks, a beautiful sunset, and a vast ocean that was the only obstacle between us and the Hawaiian islands we left behind.

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The view from Arky’s.

The next morning, the couple that runs the establishment gave us an extremely tasty and filling traditional Chinese breakfast—fermented egg was something new to us—before we made our way the 20 miles down the road to the Redwoods. It is hard to know when, precisely, you are in the boundaries of the park, but we quickly realized that it was going to be a very long road trip if we stopped as often as we did for every beautiful moment along the way. After talking to some park rangers, we figured out a place we could make a priority—a short 4-mile loop that would bring us to the Tall Tree, one of the oldest and tallest redwoods in the park.

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Not the Tall Tree, but a tall tree.

The walk was like entering a cathedral. We passed under arches cut through the trunks of fallen trees, and craned our necks looking at the enormous plants that surrounded us. Like columns along the nave, we were led to the Tall Tree, and the sunlight poked like fingers through the canopy to create the feeling of a sacred space. Words can hardly do it justice—just go.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

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One of the things you might notice when driving across the country is that there are a lot more National Parks and National Forests than you might have expected. It is probably impossible to make the drive without cutting through several. Stopping through Lassen was not a part of our original plan, but we were very glad we did. Alive with volcanic activity, the park has plenty of hydrothermal features, and the short hike to Bumpass Hell is a great chance to see the bubbling mudpots and fumaroles up close (along with their strong sulfury smells).  The park is at an elevation of over 8000 feet, so even in June, there was snow on the ground despite the 70 degree temperatures. The air is crisp and the land is green—one of the most scenic stops on our trip was a small meadow sitting just below the Lassen’s peak, with an ice-cold stream cutting through the lush field. You could make a whole day out of this place with some of the longer hike, or you could just spend a few hours, but it is a special spot.

Shoshone Falls

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Now heading east, we plot our course through Reno and up into Idaho. While there wasn’t much luck at the blackjack table in Reno, our fortunes were a little better in Twin Falls, Idaho. We stopped in for a night so we could get up and see Shoshone Falls the next morning. Called the Niagara of the West, it is a spectacular part of the Snake River—a river which would parallel our journey east for the next several hundred miles. Unfortunately, we did not put aside as much time as we would have liked to hike along the river or see some of the other sites, like the place where Evel Knievel tried (and failed) to jump across on his Skycycle X-2 rocket bike. But the falls themselves are amazing; a reminder of the thousands of years of natural forces that have worked to create the beauty of the American west.

Jackson Hole/Grand Teton/Yellowstone

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Howdy.

This may have been the best part of our trip. The GPS showed our ascent as we made our way up the western face of the Rocky Mountain range. Shortly after crossing the state line into Wyoming, a sign greeted us: “Howdy Stranger, Yonder is Jackson Hole.” In front of us, the road descended into a valley of verdant evergreens, surrounded by snowcapped peaks. The cool air was invigorating.

While the town of Jackson Hole is clearly aimed to please the rich and famous who frequent it during the winter, it retains a western charm and has some great shops and restaurants. We decided to stay for a couple nights so we could relax for a few days before getting back on the road, and it gave us the chance to do some whitewater rafting on the Snake River. The water was chilly, to say the least, but the 8-mile trip gave us a chance to see ospreys, bald eagles, deer, and otters up close. It also made for an awfully nice glass of whisky that evening, and a good night’s sleep.

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Near Jenny Lake.

We got up early so we could head up through Teton and see Yellowstone. If I had to do it over again, I would have spent a day in each park, even though they border each other. Grand Teton is perhaps one of the most spectacular vistas in the country, and there are a dozen ways to see it. Since we had a destination goal for the evening’s stay, and all of Yellowstone in front of us, we just spent an hour or so moseying around Jenny Lake, but it was a lovely stop. It could have easily been a full day’s worth of hiking and sightseeing, but we had a plan and we were (sort of) sticking to it.

Ahead to Yellowstone!

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Bison!

In retrospect, it’s hard to believe how much we accomplished in just six or seven hours through Yellowstone. We saw Old Faithful erupt, looked into the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, walked among resting elk, saw a Grizzly and hundreds of bison. The park was magnificent, and it seemed like every mile or so we were stopped in a line of cars that pulled over to see something exciting. (We were also the heroes of the park that day, as our Hawaii license plates completed the license plate game for several families—we were even asked for a few photos.)

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Old Faithful, right on time.

It would have been nice to stop and stay for the evening, but unfortunately all of the lodges were sold out. Darkness fell as the park spit us out into a tiny town in Montana, which had a few cabins available. Stopping might have been the smart choice, but we pushed ahead to make our goal for the day. It was a long, winding road without a town for forty or fifty miles, and not a car in sight. Even our destination of Cody was sold out (or exorbitantly overpriced) so we kept going to Powell. The lesson here? Plan a little extra time in Yellowstone, and have a backup plan for lodging!

Mount Rushmore/Wall Drug Store/Mitchell Corn Palace

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Mt. Rushmore

It seems a little unfair to put some of South Dakota’s best features into a single category, but at this point on the trip, you are probably hoping to cover some ground as quickly as possible. With the continental divide in the rearview mirror, the landscape is going to be a little more flat for the next thousand miles or so. That’s why these stops were so much fun. They were quick, interesting, and a   nice change of pace from the open road. Mount Rushmore, of course, is a must see for a roadtripper. The sculpture itself was neat, but the best part of the stop was the museum which told the stories of the men who worked on the crafting of the rockface. It was a feat of both scientific and marketing ingenuity. The surrounding town is a real throwback to the era of first post-war holiday-goers, and would probably be a fun place to spend an evening—unfortunately we found in the summer months, prices were in excess of $300 a room.

So we kept driving, and spent the night in Rapid City.

Next day, we were on the road again, heading for Sioux Falls. But about 50 miles in, we stopped at one of the great American rest stops—the Wall Drug Store. With free bumper stickers, free water, and 5 cent coffee, it was designed to pull drivers in since 1931, and has grown into a small town dedicated to letting people stretch their legs and distract themselves for a few hours with trinkets, jackalopes, and old western themed Americana. As a bonus, we managed to save a turtle who was crossing the highway nearby.

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A kid on a jackalope.

And if you liked the Wall Drug Store, you will love the Mitchell Corn Palace. Lindsay had fallen asleep somewhere along the way as we traversed the great state of South Dakota, so she was somewhat surprised when she woke up in front of the Corn Palace. While it’s a little out of season in the summer, the Mitchell Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota is the ultimate pitstop. For 120 years, the Corn Palace has drawn in visitors off the road to showcase the local crop’s diversity and utility as an artistic tool. Covered in corn, the murals change on a yearly basis. Inside, a giant arena hosts a shopping area where you can buy just about any corn-related product you could want. And if you aren’t interested in corn, you can walk across the street and visit Valtitory’s Walk-Thru Ancient Bible World. Definitely worth a stop—we have a corn mug and a corn pen the will remind us of our day in Mitchell.

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Covered in corn.

 

Wrigley Field

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Chicago is on the way! If you can, take a few days in Chicago to take advantage of even a little bit of what the city has to offer—a boat ride on the river, a walk along the riverfront, or nice dinner downtown.

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At least we had cover if it rained!

Our whole schedule, believe it or not, came down to us trying to make a ballgame at Wrigley Field on June 22nd. It was the only hard date on our schedule, so it was good that we had it, otherwise we might have still been wandering the national parks back west. Since you are heading to Boston, you’ll be able to see games at America’s oldest MLB ballpark, Fenway. So why not take in a game at the second-oldest park in Chicago? Tickets might be a little harder to get this years since the Cubs are on a tear, but we had the chance to get some good seats for a good price and enjoy the history of the stadium. The park is a throwback to another era, not just for the early 20th-century architecture inside, but in the way that the stadium sits, like any other building, in the residential neighborhood of Chicago’s North Side. Unlike the modern mega-stadiums of the 21st century, Wrigley just appears as you walk down the city streets, and you feel like a part of history in the old-timey ballpark. And of course, there is nothing like a hot dog and a beer on a summer night after a long day on the road.

Toronto!

Ok, so Toronto might be a little bit out of the way, but it’s still kind of sort of on the way, and it gives a little international flair to the road trip. After trying to explain to the border guards that we were technically homeless because we were moving to Boston, followed up by his suspicion of our Hawaiian license plates (“So you drove from Hawaii?”), we were let into Canada, and being a good tourist, I decided to attempt to drive the speed limit. Bad idea.

If you were expecting Canadian politeness on the roads, forget it—they drive like maniacs and use the horn like its cool, so ignore all the French/English signs on the side of the road that threaten fines for going 20 km/hr over the speed limit. The locals were easily doing 50-60 km over the posted limits. No need to leave your American road aggression at the border—they seemed to have adopted it in Toronto.

Despite that, the city has some really beautiful spots to check out. Perhaps the most exciting one is a walk around the exterior of the CN tower. I somehow goaded Lindsay into joining me for a walk on a five-foot ledge 1168 feet over the city of Toronto. Strapped into a cable, you can put your feet over the edge and hang out over the city, with views in miles in every direction.

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Hangin’ out, at 1100 feet!

From that viewpoint, we actually picked out a few places we wanted to check out in the city, and the next morning we took a trip out to Toronto Islands, just a short ferry trip away (and I mean short—just a few hundred feet). The park is a great change of pace, as reflected in the signs, “Please Walk on the Grass.” We rented a bicycle-built-for-two and rode the length of the island, with some of the fun historic stops along the way, including an old lighthouse and, while we didn’t participate, a naturalist beach. As far as summer spots, you can’t ask for much more.

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Don’t mind if we do!

 

But that’s not all the city has to offer. We went for a beautiful walk through Queen’s Park in the middle of the city to get some dinner near the University, and capped off the night at a whisky bar which served nothing but Canadian whisky products in the lobby of the Delta Hotel. I would highly recommend a Canadian detour on your Great American Roadtrip.

The Freedom Trail!

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If you know the movie Glory, you know the importance of this monument on Beacon Street.

As much fun as it was to be on the road, we were also looking forward to finally getting settled with a place to stay and getting ready for the year ahead. We took a day off from apartment hunting to hit the Freedom Trail on the Fourth of July. I have talked to plenty of my classmates who have yet to do much venturing in the heart of Boston, and there is no excuse!

The best way to get familiar with the town than to follow the red bricks of the Freedom Trail. Starting in Boston Common, the 2.5 mile trail takes you by the government buildings, homes, churches, and cemeteries of the people who built this city, and this nation. With almost 400 years under its belt, Boston has a lot of history in its bones, and it is on full display on the Freedom Trail. There are sites of political significance, such as the scene of the Boston Massacre and the Old North Church of Paul Revere’s Ride. There are sites of military importance, such as Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution. And some of the most interesting things, in my opinion, are the reminders of everyday life long ago, like the commons where sheep would graze, or the Bell in Hand, where locals would meet for a drink to discuss the matters of the day.

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Boston from Bunker Hill.

Boston is a great city, with lots to be proud of. As I learned about Boston, I came to know a little more about Boston University, as well, and it made me proud to be a member of a school that has been ahead of its time in many ways. As we go through law school, learning our country’s jurisprudence and working to make it the best it can be, I think it is important to stop along the way and remember how great (and gorgeous) this country already is. There are a thousand ways to get here– this was my way, but I hope you find your own– and I hope you take some time before your journey in law school begins to take it all in!

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I mean, where else can you find a bear playing a keytar to kids on the sidewalk, am I right?

 

Scare you to death, work you to death, bore you to death

One of the very first things I heard as a 1L, from one of my favorite professors, was this old law school adage. Supposedly, it goes like this: “1L – scare you to death; 2L – work you to death; 3L – bore you to death.”  For whatever reason, that saying got stuck in my head early on. I know I’ve blogged about it before. To be completely honest, I got pretty fixated on this phrase, and I’ve spent most of my law school career passively trying to figure out if it’s accurate or not. Well, big news! I’m graduating in 2 weeks, 10 hours, and 24 minutes (I may or may not have a countdown clock installed on my computer), and this may very well be my last ever blog post as a law student, so I’ve decided that the time has come to share my answer!

1L – Scare you to death. Answer: True, with one caveat

Listen, 1L was scary. That might be the word I would most use to describe it, actually, even if I hadn’t heard that scare you work you bore you thing. Every single experience for most of the first year, from cold calls to summer job interviews to moot court to briefing cases, was completely, horrifically, new.  I was at a particular disadvantage (or at least it felt that way) because I knew virtually nothing about the law when I sat down in that first Contracts class. I had to learn basic procedural things (like what summary judgment meant), along with the substantive law that was being pounded into my brain 29 hours a day. The threat of a cold call loomed over me always, made even worse by the fact that I didn’t understand 90% of what I was reading for the first few months. I was terrified of making mistakes and revealing the full depth of my idiocy to the entire class, and that was the scariest part.

Even after settling into a groove sometime around November, 1L was still scary. Law school finals are unlike any other tests most people have taken, so preparing for them for the first time is akin to jumping into a swimming pool that might be filled with water but also might be filled with lava. I had no clue what to expect. Furthermore, I’ve never felt the same amount of pressure and fear of failure as I did as a first semester 1L. Your grades are curved against your peers, and it’s almost impossible not to measure yourself against what others are saying or doing. I was prepping as hard as I could for tests that I didn’t know how to take, and I was convinced that everyone was doing everything better than me.

Finally, other parts of 1L were scary, too. I didn’t know how or when to apply for jobs, let alone which jobs to apply for. I was nervous about making new friends. I was terrified the first time I had to argue a case during moot court, in front of a panel of fake judges. I had to learn how to do legal citations with the BlueBook, which is a bafflingly complex process. I had to go to job interviews with attorneys and try to convince them that my 7 months of law school made me somehow qualified to work for them. It just seemed like, every time I started to feel secure during 1L, there was always a new experience that I had to conquer, and I couldn’t get my bearings to save my life.

The caveat about “scare you to death” year is this: although 1L was absolutely terrifying in so many ways, I came out of that year truly proud of myself in a way that I have never felt, either before or since. I sort of hate the term “self-growth,” but that’s what happened to me. I went into 1L unsure of so many things about myself, and I came out a totally different person. I think I learned more in my first two semesters in law school than I did in my entire college career, and I was truly amazed at how far I had come. Even better, I got decent grades, I made new friends, I learned that I was pretty good at moot court, and I figured out that my time/stress management skills were on par with the best of them. Basically, I came out of 1L year with the confidence that I might actually be a good lawyer one day, and I truly mean it when I say that all the fear in the world is worth it if it ultimately produces that kind of confidence in your own abilities.

2L – Work you to death. Answer: Absolutely, unequivocally true.

For the past two years, I’ve been a 1L advisee, which means I am paired up with two or three 1Ls and I pass down to them my sage words of wisdom about law school. Given my impending graduation, I guess it’s time to admit something: I’ve been blatantly lying to my advisees. You see, in the midst of all that 1L terror, when grades and cold calls weigh upon you every moment of every day, it’s really hard to accept the possibility that there might actually be an even harder phase of law school ahead of you. That knowledge might make you lose hope on the whole endeavor. So, when my advisees say to me, “1L is the hardest, though, right?” I nod and I look them in the eyes and I say, “Oh yeah, it definitely is.”

This statement is a blatant, bold-faced lie. I say it for the greater good of my advisees, because thinking about 2L is the absolute last thing they need to do in the middle of finals, but it’s a lie. 2L is the hardest, if by “hardest” you mean “the hardest year of your entire life to date in finding any kind of work-life balance.” This is due to a combination of factors. Most noticeably, your workload in individual classes goes up drastically; professors assume that, with one year of law school under your belt, you’re much better at briefing cases and understanding legal principles than you used to be. Although that’s true, it’s still quite the transition to go from having say, 15 pages of reading for one 4-credit class each night, to something more like 40. Multiply that by two or three, and suddenly you have a massive amount of reading to do every day.

The second problem is that you’re expected to participate in more things outside of strictly schoolwork as a 2L. Journals, moot court, clinics, mock trial, student organizations, pro bono activities, and many, many other things are all options that are available to you, and guess what? You really need to participate in at least some of them in order to have something to put on that nice top portion of your resume, a.k.a. the thing employers see first. Finally, you have the issue of trying to get a job lined up for your 2L summer. By this point, you probably have a better idea of what field you may want to go into, and it can be paradoxically more stressful trying to figure out how to get a toe in that particular door than when you were a 1L, hoping that someone somewhere on earth would hire you to do something that was even vaguely related to law. The job search often stretches well into the spring, so you’re juggling all of your increased school responsibilities with that whole process as well, and it can be very, very hard to manage.

There are things you can do to alleviate this stress, of course. You can make sure not to take more than a couple of four-credit classes each semester; you can choose carefully about how many extracurriculars you want to get involved with, from journal to moot court to clinics; you can (maybe) get a firm job for your 2L summer lined up before school even starts so you won’t have to worry about interviews all year. But the thing is: you almost certainly aren’t going to be able to do all of those things.  I personally thought, at the beginning of 2L, that I was doing a good job of managing my time. I took four classes each semester, roughly 14 or 15 credits total; I joined a journal; and I participated in moot court during the fall and the spring. That was pretty much it. On paper it seemed fine and yet, somehow, my schedule still meant that I spent more weekends than not holed up in my apartment like a hoarder, surrounded by giant books and pondering why on earth I had done this to myself. My work-life balance was at an all-time low that year and, sadly, I think that’s a pretty typical experience for 2Ls.

My point is simply this: 2L WILL be stressful. It just will be. It might not be as bad as mine, or it might be worse, but you will absolutely be shocked by how much more work you have to do than when you were a 1L. For that reason, I have to conclude that 2L is most certainly the “work you to death” year.

3L – Bore you to death. Answer: Not true.

It might seem like I’m lying when I say that this one isn’t true, but it really isn’t! (Keep in mind that I’m graduating in 2 weeks and I already have a job lined up, so I really don’t have much of an incentive to lie about how my last year of law school has been.)

One of the great things about surviving 2L is that you probably knocked out a ton of core, bar-tested classes along the way: things like Corporations, Trusts, Wills, & Estates, and Administrative Law. This means that your 3L schedule is much more open, and you can finally (hopefully) fill your days with classes that interest you. That was my experience, anyways. As a 3L, I took legal history classes, a 14th Amendment class with one of my favorite professors, and a Law and Sexual Minorities seminar that ended up being probably my favorite class in law school. None of these classes were boring to me, because they were about subjects I’m interested in.

So, no, I wouldn’t say 3L is “boring” per se. But the year does feel … something. It’s not quite that classes are irrelevant, but things like grades and class attendance matter much less to you as a 3L than they did earlier. A large part of this is the frustration you feel at being so close to graduating and facing the real life problems of being a lawyer, yet still being saddled with a ton of schoolwork. You have to get a job lined up, which is more critical to your success than all the A’s in the world, and you have to start preparing for taking the bar in July. Even more than that, I think, is the fact that many 3Ls are just tired by this point. It’s hard to keep that level of dedication up for three solid years, and I think most people are ready to begin a new phase of their careers by the time spring of 3L rolls around. All of this means that 3L is a very particular type of psychological struggle, but it’s certainly not boring!

Whew! That was a long blog post! Then again, it’s been a long three years, so I guess that makes sense. I’m not sure if I’ll write another post or not before graduation, so I’ll just say now that it’s been very fun to share my thoughts on this blog throughout my law school experience. To any law school hopefuls out there: I hope some of the things I’ve said have been even slightly helpful to you in deciding whether law school is the right choice for you. And finally, I’ll conclude by saying that, to anyone struggling through law school right now, I promise you will make it through. You can do this!

Transition from Law School to your Summer Job

As I was sitting in the Career Development Office’s final event of the semester, “How To Have a Successful Summer” last week, I realized that I would be starting my summer position in less than two weeks. My employment over last summer was a bit unique in that I worked at the same law firm that I had worked at previously. However, this does not mean that there was not an adjustment to be made as I transitioned out of what was the constant hustle and bustle of law school finals and into a more structured work style. Below are some tips and some general thoughts on how best to transition from law school to your summer job.

For those who have never held a full time job and went straight from undergrad to law school, their first summer job can create a lot of anxiety of not knowing what to expect. One of the major adjustments is needing to focus and be attentive for a steady 8-10 hour period of time. While law school is certainly busy and no law student is a stranger to those dreaded 12-14 hour days during finals period, work time requires a different kind of attention. Unlike law school where you can pick and choose when you want to do work over the course of the day, work largely requires you to get your work done within a certain window of time. Also procrastination (something many law students can relate to) is not a good idea for law students in their summer job as time management is critical and something summer employers will often emphasize.

If you are like me and it takes a while to get your day moving in the morning, plan to get to work a half hour early to start your day. Getting into this kind of routine at work can help avoid some of the unnecessary stress. In addition, having a good repertoire with your supervisors and coworkers is important in any summer job. While law school is largely an independent exercise, learning how to work collectively and part of a team is a big part of any job and an important skill to gain. In addition, knowing how to work for superiors and being clear about things like deadlines and expectations for an assignment can be helpful for any new summer employee.

Lastly, getting into a healthy routine outside of work is important to have success at your summer job. You may see that you have a lot more time on your hands on weeknights and weekends especially compared to finals period. However, it’s not advisable to use this extra time to go to the bar around the corner from work every night. Joining a running club or participating in sports is a great way to balance the monotony of the work week and also continue maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Alternatively, you can work on pending school items over the summer such as OCI preparation or your journal note (which I hopefully will be doing).

I hope everyone enjoys their summer and I look forward to checking back in with you soon!

Today’s secret word is …

Readers, I’ve been holding out on you. There’s one essential ingredient for success in law school that I haven’t yet let you in on.

So, here it is: love. Specifically, the love of my husband. Sorry, you can’t have him. Maybe you’ll find your own anchor, confidante, comedian, and helpmeet? Good luck!

Without him (and I hate when people say this, but it’s true), I don’t know that I would have gone to law school in the first place or survived it with my sanity intact.

Today's secret word is ... LOVE. (Image from that one trippy Pee-Wee episode where the playhouse goes to space.)

“Today’s secret word is LOVE. … For the rest of the day, whenever anybody says the secret word, scream real loud!” (Image from that one trippy Pee-Wee episode where the playhouse goes to space.)

We got engaged while waiting on LSAT results and were married a couple of months before law school, which means our third anniversary is popping up just days after I graduate, and that we’ve been in law school together essentially the whole time we’ve been married. I got calls about law school admissions on our honeymoon, for goodness’ sake!

Many (many, many) people told us when we started that we’d be divorced before it was over. Sorry, clairvoyants.

Law school has shaped our marriage, and for the better, I think.

There were times when I actually cried because I missed him — when, even though we lived together, we were so, so busy, it felt like we’d barely had a conversation in weeks. Now, we make time for each other. I began making a real dinner whenever I could sometime in our second year, and we eat together (when we can), too. We chat while I stir, and while he does the dishes. This is love: Communicating because you want to, and because you care about what the other has to say.

That doesn’t mean our study habits mesh perfectly. Right now, we’re sitting basically back-to-back in our preferred spots, me on the couch and him at his desk (mine hasn’t been used in days), while he plays a quiet song that doesn’t drive me nuts and I have on all the floor lamps instead of the chandelier. We read to each other when we come to something interesting, and toss ideas off each other as we write. This is what respect and compromise look like in a law school romance.

We’ve had the excellent opportunity to take (budget) vacations together in our time off in the winter and summer, far more time than we would have had if we were still in our old jobs. We’ve stretched a dollar. We’ve moved somewhere new. We’ve coexisted in (almost) 600 square feet, with a cat.

Taking the whole wedding photo thing about as seriously as we should take everything.

Taking the whole wedding photo thing about as seriously as we should take everything.

 

What a joy it has been, getting to know my social justice warrior and compassionate partner even better in the pursuit of a common goal. Three years down, ninety-three to go.

What can you do to have what I have?

In my first-year section of law school, to my memory, there was one other married woman, a married man, a couple of engaged people, and a few in long-distance or local longer-term relationships. A few paired off with people from our section, others paired with fellow students from other sections, a few began relationships with new non-lawyers (mostly online, let’s be honest), and a lot of people casually dated or ‘hooked up.’ (I’m too old and married to ask for details there.)  Most people found what worked for them, I think.

I honestly don’t know what makes some people cleave together and others cleave apart (“cleave” is a delightful contronym, huh?), but I do know how invaluable a great partner is. So, if you’ve got one coming into law school, I suggest keeping him or her around. I know it’s yet another thing to work on when you’re working on some of the hardest actual work you’ve faced so far, but when it works, it’s even more rewarding than an A on a final exam.

Whatever support you have now will become all the more important, so whether it’s friends, or family, or maybe even a therapist, don’t let those relationships slide when you get overwhelmed by school. You won’t regret it.

… Also, my husband always teased me that I should write about him when I was coming up short on ideas for this blog, and now that I’m just a few weeks from graduation, it seemed like now or never! Happy anniversary, sweetheart.

Staying Healthy During Final Exams

It’s the last week of class here at BU Law, and that means one thing – finals season in here. As the end of my 1L year draws near, we all know that my body is a temple and I am a pure being who eats nothing but kale I’m one short night away from double-fisting two cold brew iced coffees trying to remember what sleep is. As study schedules expand and the amount of time in the day seems to shrink, it can be hard trying to stay healthy right about now. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that our bodies can only function as well as we allow them to, and ultimately we’ll be much better off if we take good care of ourselves. Luckily, there are some things that we can try to do to make staying healthy during finals a little bit easier.

Before we begin, something to consider at the outset – and this seems to be the one piece of advice that frequently makes it into my blog posts, regardless of topic – figure out what is going to work best for you. You know yourself best, and it’s all about being realistic. If you aren’t someone who exercises regularly, it might not be a good idea to go into finals season expecting to wake up at 7 AM every morning to go for a run. Or maybe you love exercising but have never been able to cook without lighting something on fire, and cooking dinner every night is just not going to happen. Everything is about balance, and you don’t want your new health kick to end up stressing you out even more. Even baby steps towards healthier living can make a world of difference.

1. Stay hydrated
This is so important, and yet often overlooked. When you are going to be spending long days studying, properly hydrating your body is a simple way to keep yourself functioning at top form. It will help keep you feeling awake and energized, and less likely to reach for those cookies that you totally only brought for your study group to have and not just for you. Infusing your water or even just adding lemon juice can be even better, and have great effects on your metabolism and energy level.

Not your forte?
Just fill one large water bottle and bring it with you when you leave in the morning, and try to finish it by the end of your day.

2. Eat Well
In a similar vein to staying hydrated, monitoring what you put into your body is incredibly important to make sure you are functioning at your highest capacity. Eating the right kinds of foods can mean the difference between being alert and being sluggish and jittery, particularly if you’re drinking a lot of caffeine. Don’t skip meals, and try to opt for more generally healthy options. Instead of fried foods, see if there are grilled options. Instead of fries on the side, maybe opt for fruits instead.

Not your forte?
The next time you go to the grocery store, focus just on your snack selections. Instead of potato chips and candy, opt for popcorn and nuts. That way when you don’t need to think about how to prepare healthy meals and can just reach for snacks during a study grind.

3. Exercise
Exercising is a proven way to help clear your mind and improve your mood. The benefits that accompany even just 15 minutes of exercise are huge, and particularly helpful to you and your body during exam season. Be reasonable here- this is just about making choices to be more active throughout the day, whether its a getaway gym session, or just a walk around the neighborhood.

Not your forte?
Just do a routine of squats, push-ups, and sit-ups for 5 or 10 minutes either in the morning or at night. This light exercise will help boost your metabolism and help you sleep a little easier at night.

4. Relax
Ultimately, you won’t be any good during the exam if you’re a nervous wreck. Making sure that you maintain your sanity is also an important part of adequate exam preparation, and it needs to stay at the top of your priority list. This will look different for everyone! For some, it may mean making sure you get enough time to sleep every night. For some, it may mean unplugging from virtual reality and spending some quality time with friends or family. Whatever your preferred relaxation method is, make sure that you make time for yourself to get some rest and relaxation in.

Not your forte?
If this is challenging for you, or you need help identifying ways to manage stress, BU has some excellent resources for students. Take the time to make an appointment with a counselor at Student Health Services, or ask a faculty member for advice.