Minimalism in Law School: How Paring Down Can Help You Succeed

Minimalism in Law School: How Paring Down Can Help You SucceedPlease welcome back guest writer Jennifer Warren, attorney and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Oklahoma City University School of Law, to discuss how minimalism may help you to succeed in law school.

In college I often joked that I could fit all of my possessions into a single duffle bag. It wasn’t much of an exaggeration – between relocating each summer, traveling, or moving to new apartments, I had definitely learned to let go of nonessentials. Limiting the items I was sentimentally attached to didn’t just make it easier to move, however, it also brought a sense of simplicity and orderliness to my life that I found gratifying.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve definitely acquired more possessions – a house, a car, a million items for my kids! – but I still make a concerted effort to limit the clutter as much as possible. I’ve also learned that my natural instinct to pare down and simplify is actually part of a bigger lifestyle movement: Minimalism. Numerous books and blogs have been written about minimalism in recent years, and, as I’ve learned more about the concept, I’ve started to embrace its principles in a more deliberate way. During my most recent minimalist motivated clean out, it occurred to me that many law students could benefit from incorporating a little minimalism into their lives.

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Are You Going to Law School Because You’re a Good Writer?

Are You Going to Law School Because You're a Good Writer?This week we welcome back Law School Toolbox Tutor Whitney Weatherly to discuss how writing in law school can be very different from writing you’ve done before (and how to best learn how to write for legal practice).

I can’t even pick out one specific memory of this conversation, because I had it so many times with so many people. Here’s the rough transcript:

Me: So, why did you decide to go to law school?

Law Student: Well, all of my professors at [university] said that I was such a good writer that I should go to law school. So here I am!

Me: Right. OK…so how’s that working out for you?

Okay, so maybe that last reply was (usually) internal. When I first started law school, I certainly didn’t realize what was expected of me from a writing perspective. Like most of my fellow classmates, I usually did well on writing assignments in undergrad, but I’d had the benefit of working for an attorney before law school. Just the fact of working for her helped me shift my mode of writing from “creative” to “professional”, but she also gave me some tips along the way that made me more open to input once I got to my legal writing class. If you’re going into law school with the confidence of a good writer, consider this your wake-up call.

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The Ultimate Guide to the Law in Pop Culture Part III: Travel Media

The Ultimate Guide to the Law in Pop Culture Part III: Travel MediaThis post contains affiliate links, meaning we may be (minimally!) compensated if you purchase after clicking the link.

Please welcome back rising 3L Jaclyn Wishnia to finish up her series on the law in pop culture by discussing some media that can be enjoyed on the go or during breaks!

In our final installment of the ultimate guide to the law in pop culture series, the focus is on forms of media for law students that are easily transportable and non-intrusive, making them great for either travel or those lulls in-between classes. Specifically, those mediums include: books (print, e-book or audio editions), blogs, and podcasts. Keep on reading for a more enjoyable law school commute! [Read more…]

Reflections of a 2L: How to Use Your Experience to Plan Ahead for 3L Year

Reflections of a 2L and How to Use Your Own to Plan Ahead for 3L YearPlease welcome our 2L guest writer to discuss her own personal reflections on 2L year and how she’s looking and planning ahead to 3L year.

In looking back on 2L year, it was a unique and very individualistic experience. Unfortunately, mine was a harrowing one, but that will not be the case for every 2L because the curriculum creates such vastly different scenarios, based on the choices each student selects for themselves. The rest of this article focuses on some personal thoughts concerning 2L year in general, and, stemming from them, changes or items to plan ahead for when thinking about 3L year.

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How I Avoided the 2L Slump

How I avoided the 2L Slump: A 2L PerspectivePlease welcome back 2L guest writer, Shirlene Armstrong to let us know how she managed to avoid the 2L slump.

Like that Britney Spears song, “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman,” you made it through the first year of law school but you’re not a 3L yet. Instead, you are in the middle of the rut: you are a 2L. There is nothing per say wrong with being a 2L. Actually, there are a lot of positives about being a 2L: you get a lot more freedom to choose your classes and activities, you don’t have to stress about 1L classes and reading, the bar exam is a year away, and you are more respected by your peers and professors. However, 2L year is notoriously known as the “work to death year.” (Trust me, it is) So how is it that 2Ls seem to fall into this “slump” and how can you avoid it?

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The Positive Side of a Negative Outlook: How Embracing Your Natural Pessimism Can Work to Your Advantage in Law School

The Positive Side of a Negative Outlook: How Embracing Your Natural Pessimism Can Work to Your Advantage in Law SchoolPlease welcome back Jennifer Warren, attorney and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Oklahoma City University School of Law, to discuss how being a pessimist might not be such a bad thing.

I sometimes describe myself as a “glass half empty” type of person. I tend to be a little on the cynical side and generally assume the worst will happen. This sort of innate pessimism is often seen as a character flaw – something that should be stamped out with positive affirmations and an attitude adjustment – but I’ve often felt that my skeptical outlook can actually be beneficial in certain situations. As it turns out, there’s plenty of research showing that negativity does, indeed, have some positives. [Read more…]

The Difference Between 1L vs. 2L Stressors

The Difference Between 1L vs. 2L StressorsPlease welcome back 2L guest writer Jaclyn Wishnia to discuss the differences between the stress of 1L and 2L year.

As duly noted by the majority of law students, the first year of law school carries a notoriously dreadful reputation that spans continents, even decades. It is characterized by infinite amounts of reading, a highly stressful, anxiety-inducing environment, and often referred to as one of the worst educational gauntlets that a student could scarcely fathom conjuring until personally immersed in the experience. What most law students eventually learn, however, is that this myth is quickly displaced by the juggling acts required to actually survive the second year of law school. Keep that in mind as you read through the discussion. [Read more…]

How to Combat Stress and the 2L Law School Slump – Top Ten Suggestions

A 2L's Top Ten Suggestions on How to Combat Stress and the Law School SlumpPlease welcome back our 2L guest writer Shirlene Armstrong! She discusses the 2L perspective on combatting stress and the inevitable law school slump.

You are an overstressed, overworked law student. You have worked hard in order to get into law school and now you are in the middle of your legal journey with the work continuing to come with no end in sight. You’re slowly losing steam, and it is beginning to affect your social, work, and school life. You are in the middle of your “law school slump.” This is a period of time when a law student has been in school long enough to become comfortable but not long enough to see the graduation finish line in sight. This time is plagued with procrastination, apathy, and longing for freedom. However, there is a way to combat this slump and help you push through to the end of law school. Here are my ten suggestions on how to get out of the grind and back into a better mindset: [Read more…]

New Years Resolutions: Law School Edition 2018

New Years Resolutions: Law School Edition 2018Please welcome back 2L guest writer Jaclyn Wishnia to discuss her plans for the new year and making a fresh start for spring semester.

For law students, the holiday season is often a blur. By the time finals end, there is no recuperation period, the actual holidays have arrived, and family is knocking at your door. Moments later, the new year has begun and right around the corner is spring semester. This leaves law students no time to reflect on the past year to determine what parts of their life need improving; in other words, no formation of a “New Year’s Resolution.” While this phrase commonly connotes a pledge or promise to either commit or refrain from conducting a particular action, in essence, it is simply another synonym for the term, “goal.” Since law school plays such a dominant role throughout a typical law student’s year, aside from personal resolutions, law students should also strive to create one primary law school “goal” to focus on for the year as well. [Read more…]

Three Things I Learned in Law School That Weren’t in the Curriculum

Three things I learned in law school that weren't in the curriculum.As we start off a new year, please welcome back guest writer Christen Morgan, attorney and Real Estate Specialist at a wireless infrastructure company, to discuss what three major lessons she learned from law school (and no they were not on any class syllabus).

It has almost been two years since I’ve graduated law school, and I kid you not, my experience is beginning to become a blur. An experience that was essentially the cornerstone of my life for three years, is beginning to become nuggets of memories that I struggle to piece together. I’m forgetting the names of former classmates and don’t even get me started on the course curriculum, that vanished right after taking the bar exam.

Now don’t get me wrong, my faded memory is by no means an indication that law school was a waste of time. While I can’t recite the Rule Against Perpetuities Theory, law school completely restructured the way I think. Law school taught me more than the nuts and bolts that were embedded within the 90 credits of coursework I completed. It taught me more about myself and the personal limits I had to institute for survival. It taught me that law professors aren’t necessarily the dry, authoritative characters that are portrayed in tv/film, but that they are in fact normal human beings with incredible minds and great senses of humor. Law school taught me that it is in fact possible to balance a social life in what seems to be a period of optimal stress and it gave me the inexplicable feeling of what it means to be an advocate for someone regardless of whether it was in a mock simulated setting or just a one-line contribution to a successful motion during a summer internship. It’s probably evident that I could go on and on with this list, but I’ll spare you and just cover my three favorite takeaways that weren’t included in the curriculum.

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