1L Guide: The Last Three Weeks of the Semester

Almost there. These are the last few weeks, the final stretch, and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, it’s a red, angry light – not the warm, golden glow you were hoping for – but that’s show business. Papers are due, and exams are right around the corner. This was never going to be the fun part of the semester.

Still, when you’re done, you’ll be done. For at least a little while, there will be no impending assignments to complete or grade-points to score (and if you don’t move, the summer job application deadlines can’t see you). Winter break will be a time for seeing family, celebrating whatever holidays you observe, and most decidedly NOT reading court cases about the axioms of contract interpretation.

The 2Ls and 3Ls have run this race before. For the 1Ls, Travis pulled together a great compilation of helpful final exam advice, so I’ll not bore readers with too much more of my own. Instead, I thought I’d just offer a few quick thoughts about wrapping up the semester, and the break that follows:

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#FREEBRITNEY, Now Free Yourself From Stress 

Recently, one of BC Law’s arguably proudest moments has been notable alum Mathew Rosengart ‘87 freeing Britney Spears from her conservatorship. To celebrate this victory for the pop culture queen, here is a fitting Britney Spears playlist to help you survive the remainder of the semester. 

  1. Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know (2000, Album: Oops!…I Did It Again) 

This pop ballad will get you in your feels when you are searching the LSA outline bank for that one class where you have no idea what is going on. Whether you’re sliding into an upperclassmen’s DMs for help or desperately emailing your professors to set up office hours, you will be singing this song with Brit. 

  1. …Baby One More Time (1999, Album: …Baby One More Time) 

Does your professor talk too fast in class? Is the Rule Against Perpetuities confusing to you? Do you just need something repeated, say, one more time? Then this is the song for you. 

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2L: Does It Get Easier?

Into the fourth week of 2L, I’m still waiting for it to be “easier than 1L,” as I’ve been told more than once. At BC Law, students are back on campus full time since the Covid-19 outbreak. For many of us, balancing in-person classes, work, student leadership, and free time is a new challenge. My recommendation for anyone who hasn’t started their 2L year yet is to avoid unnecessarily overloading your schedule. I’ve outlined a few tips that apply to classes and extracurriculars that are helping to ease the stress:

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Building Up After Burning Out

A few weeks ago, I shared my story of realizing how burnt out I really was. Since then, I’ve made a few changes in my life. I’d be lying if I said I was 100% better 100% of the time; I still have some great days and other not-so-great moments. However, I can truthfully say that I have tried to be more intentional in my thoughts and actions over the past several weeks, and I do feel a difference overall.

In my last post, I admitted that I didn’t really know how to take a break. In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time I had taken a day off. After much reflection, I’ve realized that this inability to wind down is not something I want to wear as a badge of honor. I have friends who are cardiac surgeons, Medieval Literature PhD students, and budding entrepreneurs- they all are in rigorous professions having to balance numerous responsibilities. If they can consistently take days off, then I can surely manage the same. My life is not going to fall apart if I unplug for a bit. I’ve made Sundays my day off, where I try to spend most of the day doing things I enjoy without feeling guilty about the pile of work on my desk. In doing so, I’ve realized that not only do I feel good on Sundays, but the days when I am working are more productive, too. Before, I used to measure my productivity by the number of hours my laptop screen was on, disregarding that during much of that time, I wasn’t actually getting work done. Now, I give myself permission to take days off and take breaks throughout the day. That way, when my screen is on, I’m doing a better job of being productive during that timeframe. Sometimes when my phone is freaking out, all I need to do is turn it off for a bit and then back on. I guess the same goes for me.

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Taking a Leave

When I started law school, I didn’t think it would go like this. I thought the hardest thing I would have to face would be the workload, and my commute. The only thing I feared was my anxiety taking over, and making it hard for me to get by. I was scared, but excited, at the prospect of three years doing something I had been working so hard and so long to do.

When I started law school I never thought I would miss almost all of my 1L spring to a chronic illness I had only just learned I have. I didn’t think I would have to postpone my finals to accommodate surgery to get better. I couldn’t imagine I would miss almost all of my 2L fall to that same illness, after the first surgery didn’t work. And never, in all my wildest fears did I think I would be taking the spring semester of my 2L year off to have another surgery; my second in less than a year.

But here I am.

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