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Angela

2L > 1L

January 21st, 2013 by

2L year is better than 1L year.

The first semester of 2L year went by like the blink of an eye. I’ve never been so busy in my entire life. To-do lists were never ending. Between classes, student orgs, interning at the California Innocence Project, tutoring, breathing, and moving my car to avoid tickets downtown I barely had time to think. If I had to sum up my fall semester in one word I would say it was, overwhelming.

Despite feeling constantly overwhelmed and exhausted, 2L year so far has allowed me to keep track of the bright side of things, and maintain my sanity. I’m not lost anymore. I may have a million things to do, but I know how to do them, or I know how to figure out how to do them relatively quickly. I’m not constantly anxious anymore. All the worries about “will I still be in law school next year” are gone, and I can focus more on choosing a career path and becoming a good lawyer rather than just a good law student.

I could go on for a while about the reasons why 2L year is better than 1L year, but I won’t. Overall, 2L year has been harder than 1L year, but it’s better. The good outweighs the bad, especially when I remember that I’m one year closer to being done with law school, and on my way to practicing law. Officially halfway done with law school, and from what I hear the worst is over.

Hola From Chile!

June 12th, 2012 by

1L year is officially over, and I’m enjoying my summer from Santiago, Chile. After all the talk about grades and the first year cut, me and the vast majority of my friends made it through to 2L and that feels good. Choosing what to do with my summer wasn’t easy but, I’m a traveler at heart so I know I made the right choice. I have a hectic 2L year waiting for me back in San Diego, so I’m going to enjoy my last trip abroad and rest up for the challenge ahead. Also, some of the best advice I got last year from upper class men was to enjoy law school as much as possible. Keeping that in mind was probably the only thing that kept my sanity at some points last year, so I’m going to continue the practice.

I’ve been in Santiago for about 3 weeks, and have mastered staying out late with my colleagues then waking up early to catch the Metro to school. It has been a crazy three weeks. We’ve been to former torture camps, studied under one of the world’s leading Trade Law scholars (Raj Bhala, google him) and spent a weekend in Buenos, Aires Argentina. Not to mention, I’ve met some great people. Everything has happened really fast, and the last class was extremely difficult, but overall I’m having an amazing time. One down side is that it’s winter in Santiago, so I’m missing that beautiful California sunshine, but next week we have a break and I’ll be in the Dominican Republic shedding the chill for a few days.

Professor Cooper keeps telling us, “it’s a marathon” so we should pace ourselves, but when you set 18 law students loose in Santiago, with friendly locals, cheap taxis, and lots of time to explore I don’t know what he expected. Plus socializing with the locals is helping my Spanish skills ;)

Here’s the view of the Andes from my apartment Balcony

Walked by a Mirror

March 12th, 2012 by

I walked by a mirror today, and it wasn’t a good look. I look a MESS! So it begins again. Heading into finals and not taking care of myself. I’m not super into how I look, but I usually try to look presentable.  I thought I was until I went to the bathroom and caught a glimpse of myself. My hair stylist probably thinks I abandoned her. If I’m not dressed in a suit for a competition or an interview, I look like I got dressed on the way to school (this probably has something to do with all the laundry that I have piled up in my apartment). The sad part is that I did not realize how bad it was. I get up in the morning and just go. Earlier in the semester it was important to look decent because you never know when you’ll end up at a bar after class. But lately all I see is library and study rooms, and it shows. I guess this is a side effect of upcoming finals, and second semester. As soon as my last final lets out, I’ve got work to do on myself. Not to mention, my refrigerator is empty, and I can barely remember if I ate today. If I did eat, I don’t know what it was except that I have heartburn. I don’t miss this feeling. On the upside, I do miss the feeling I got when grades came out and I could be proud of myself for pushing through. I ‘m just going to stay out of the mirror for now, keep my head in the books, and imagine I still look like the picture next to my blog.

And the Beat Goes On…

January 25th, 2012 by

So about four weeks into the second trimester of law school and six weeks removed from finals, and the grind continues. Finals time was possibly the most intimidating experience of my life. On top of that I think I’m still tired from all the build up leading into the exams. However, to be fair some of the fatigue may be from all the partying me and my colleagues did immediately following the last test. I don’t see any reason to sugar coat my experiences thus far. The four weeks leading up to final exams, and exam week itself were terrible. Stress, anxiety, fear, mental fatigue and not much more. My hair looked a mess, finger nail polish was chipped, bags under my eyes, and who knows what I was wearing most of those days. Not that those things are super important in the grand scheme of things, but they do illustrate the amount of time, energy, and mental work went into preparing for those tests. The good news is that it’s over! As bad as it was going through it, everyone does it and everyone survives. A few people cried, and one kid threw up after Contracts but I heard he’s doing fine (joke).

The craziest part of finals is how quickly you have to put the test behind you and keep pushing forward. The first day back to class we were lucky if the professor said anything more than “I’m not done grading” and started teaching new concepts as if the tests never happened. So, the beat goes on. More cases, more rules, more holdings, more recitations in class. The upside is that the cases read easier, the rules are spotted quickly and the holdings actually mean something. With all the time I save briefing cases, I can write cover letters, personal statements, and arguments for the 1L competition, all the while pretending like I’m not agonizing over waiting for grades. And, the beat goes on.

 

Bump in the Road

December 3rd, 2011 by

Today was maybe the worst day of law school yet. One of my classmates decided to withdraw. Shock was only the beginning. What was difficult to cope with was the fact that we all understand what he’s feeling. I understand why people say that nobody makes it through law school on their own. The stress, confusion, pressure, and anxiety forge a bond between you and your classmates. I feel connected to people that I never would have otherwise, simply because day in and day out we face the same challenges. We’re all tired. We’re all nervous. We’re all stressed. And now, we lost someone. I had to take a minute to re-evaluate. Why am I putting myself through this? Am I going to be happy with my decision when I walk out of the finals room? My answers are yes, and yes. But I respect anyone who answers no, and is mature enough to walk away. It just hurts.

Thanksgiving BREAK

November 30th, 2011 by

Thanksgiving break couldn’t have come at a better time. Under the weight of finishing the reading for the semester, finals study schedule, outlines, practice exams, resume, cover letter, and the occasional eating and sleeping I was reeling. I was really worried about taking the time off from studying to go home for Thanksgiving break, but now that I’m here I know I made the right choice. I still have a lot of work to do, but having a glass of wine with my father, and laughing with my best friend were priceless. My head is clear, and I’m excited to get back to work again. When the 4 weeks from finals hit, all of sudden every last one of my “balance” techniques went out the window. Studying became the only thing that mattered. Thanksgiving reminded me that I have to work smart, and that means only working while I’m effective. My friends and family were able to encourage me, and remind me that law school isn’t everything. Don’t get me wrong, it means so much and ranks at the top of my priorities list, but Thanksgiving break reminded me that there is life outside the library that matters regardless how well you do on final exams. It’s easy to lose perspective and I’m fortunate that the break reeled me in. With that said…I’ll use the microwave in the student lounge to re-heat some of my Momma’s left-over dressing and get back to work.

Waiting Was the Worst

November 14th, 2011 by

The worst part was the waiting. I’d done all that I could do. Fine tuned my resume, poured my heart and soul into my personal statement, collected my letters, and transcripts, paid my application fees, and hit that ever fateful “submit” button. Ten schools total, then…wait. I woke up everyday went to work from 7:30-6:00, and ran to that mailbox from February on forward. The letters start to come, some say “congratulations” others, “thank you for your submission, however…” Once the sting from the rejections wore off, the real challenge began, looking at the pile of acceptances and deciding, where to take my life from there.

I made charts, listed pros and cons, researched everything from programs and bar passage to climate and local festivals. I consulted my family, friends, mentors, and  my hairdresser. When I asked her what she thought, she said that I should go somewhere where I could feel at home again…and that helped make the difference. I chose Cal Western because when I came for a visit, unlike other law schools, everyone made me feel like this is where I belonged. The greeters at the door, current students, dean’s and faculty all approached me as though I was one of them.

One thing that I value in my life is having a sense of community. I chose Cal Western because they promised to nurture that value. I  researched law school, and read the horror stories about the competitive nature, and rigorous work load. I felt like I could handle all that (everyone does, that’s why we come to law school). What Cal Western promised me was an opportunity to become part of a community of lawyers and academics that were committed to student success. I trusted that promise, and committed to Cal Western. I can honestly say, that from day one, they lived up to what the said.

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