The Law School Story

Feminists

 

Choosing to attend law school is a monumental decision.
I’d say deciding to apply, putting yourself through an LSAT exam (and all the crap that entails), applying to multiple programs (if you’re a bit more Type-A, like myself), and impatiently waiting on acceptance/rejection letters (then ugly-snot-crying your way through reading them) takes a whole heap of effort. Therefore, your want/need/desire to attend law school is enough of a motivator to push you through the doors of any legal institution.

However, your exact reason to put yourself through the rigors of law school will differ from every other student you encounter. So, the big question isn’t “should I go to law school?” but rather, “why do you want to be a lawyer?”

lawyer

Your answer to this question will not define you. In fact, how your answer changes throughout your legal education and career is what guides your course.
In my first year of law school, I learned both areas of law I am certain I will not likely pursue, and others that make my soul sing. My peers have changed their minds numerous times, as have I. The law is trial and error, truly. This means you have the opportunity to change your mind along the way. What you feel passionate about today, may change tomorrow. It is so important to understand this notion. You grow and change, every single day. 

Your reason for attending law school does not have to stand up to your classmates’ stories. You’re going to feel the need to one-up your peers when you (trust me, it’ll happen) ask them why they chose law school. Here’s a secret – you don’t have to have a reason at all! Your answer can be as simple as: It was my next step.

There need not be a “why” or any qualifying statement further.
Choose why you want to go – and then make it happen.

I thought I knew why I wanted to attend law school but, once I was accepted and had to make a choice on which one to attend, I realized my reason for attending needed to be about me, and no one else.

You see, I took a winding road to law school.
I used to be a 3rd party logistics broker. Having started as an intern, working my way up the ladder, I enjoyed the benefits of a lax schedule and great pay. Thinking I was doing well, taking a break between medical school and undergrad, I spoke to my manager about moving onto my next step. I wanted an M.B.A.

My manager told me that “a woman doesn’t need an advanced degree.” He went on to tell me that my aggressive qualities wouldn’t likely land me a managerial role in the company. Then he said, “but, you know – do what you want. I mean, you’re going to get married soon anyway.”

huh?

3 weeks later, I quit. I decided it was best to make a difference somewhere else, preferably a locale that didn’t mind my “aggressive” personality.
In a 180 degree move,  I’d taken a position as a science educator in a Dallas high school.

For three years, I taught Anatomy & Physiology. In my time with the district,  I also coached a robotics team, several academics teams, and the volleyball and basketball teams. I threw myself into building up my students, molding them into avid learners. My goal was to make a change in their lives, and better the education received by the students on our campus. But, it wasn’t enough.

I needed to impact more change. While teaching, I earned my M.B.A., and decided to apply to law school. My entire life I told people I was going to medical school. I attended all the science camps, space camp (because, being a flight medic was my ultimate dream), engineering camp – you name it, I trained in it. Medical school was where I was headed. However, every time I told someone I was planning on being a pediatric oncologist or flight medic, the response was always…

“Are you sure? You seem like you’d be a better attorney.”

It wasn’t until I started classes and took my first set of exams that I finally understood what everyone meant. I could be a good doctor. I studied hard, I learned the material, I loved my courses and enjoyed science. But I had to work sooooo hard for it to work.

Law school is different for me. I love every second of it, even the terrifying and stressful moments (like during a timed exam). It feels right.

I chose law school because my path led me there. I witness injustices in both business and education. My life’s purpose is to positively impact every field in which I work. Leave the world a little bit better – my mission.

I’ve chosen to take the Patent Bar, so I may continue to use my science expertise. I would like to work in various pro bono areas, to keep me grounded.
All the time I spent running away from what others expected, actually brought me back to what they saw me doing. It’s quite funny, when you think about it.

Studying law is not for everyone, but it’s exactly right for me. ❤

 

Much love,

sarahheartsig3

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Mesero – Dallas

Summer

The Beau and I brunched at Mesero on Sunday. We took the pups, which was a riot – because getting to the patio (with a blocked entrance…fire hazards be damned) was challenging.

Our original plan was to eat at a pet-friendly restaurant (which is a short list in Dallas proper). Now, I’d eaten at Mesero before and was not super thrilled to go back. However, we were now trapped by cars on all sides and there was no end in sight to get our Jeep back from the valet…so off we went toward the bright umbrellas (seriously, they’re ORANGE). The seating hostess was nice, but when we got to our table, the group nearest us leaned over to say the service was sub-par. One patron went so far as to point out which waiter to avoid!

Their brunch menu is small, but the portions are HUGE. Here’s wahat you need to know:

  1. They portion control the tortilla chips. Which is completely NOT okay.
    I’m a firm believer in spreading the chips and salsa love; if you see two people at a table, and you serve chips in a tiny 10oz container that can only fit 14 crisps (yes, I counted them) – then, by the sweet Gods in heaven, bring more chips!

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  2. The plates look great, but that does not necessarily mean they’re good. My french toast wasn’t cooked. It was a burned glaze on the outside and a mushy cinnamon-flavored mess on the inside. Normally I don’t send food back, but the Beau insisted because they were completely inedible. They did a better job on the second try, but it was still undercooked. 😦 One redeeming quality is the whipped cinnamon butter that comes with the warmed maple syrup to drizzle over the toast. Absolutely sinful. And yet – tragically – not enough of a reason to come back to this pop stand.

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  3. Their chilaquiles (eggs + chicken + salsa + corn chips) were fantastic. Honestly, their salsa verde brings all the ingredients together in a magical concoction. I’d certainly order that dish again. But I probably will not be back here. Two times, you’re out. Their dinner is pricey and you don’t really get much. Basically, if I can make it in my own kitchen – then why bother going to the restaurant?
  4. In a crazy twist – the cocktails are pricey! Nearly every drink cost more than an actual brunch dish. What in the actual hell? Just know, if you do order one (we ordered the Meserita) then you’ll be plastered on just one drink. Fair warning.

wait, what?

Overall, we were not too pleased with this brunch spot. I felt like I could seriously teach the Chef a thing or two about Mexican cooking (or whatever they think they’re actually making…). We will not likely be back, barring some sort of kitchen-staff overhaul and a change in menu options.

I hope you’re enjoying your summer break!

sarahheartsig3

 

4 Things You Must Do After Finals

beachready
Congratulations on making it through finals! ❤ You earned yourself some much-needed time off. But before you can go traipsing off on worldly travels, you need to get a few things handled first:

  1. SAVE your DATA!
    • You worked so hard all year. Prepare for the worst! What if your computer crashes forever? Mine did right before midterms. Thankfully, I didn’t panic. I save everything important to dropbox and to the Sharepoint system for our campus.
    • If you haven’t done so already, BACK UP YOUR FILES! Those gorgeous law school outlines will be plenty helpful when studying for the bar. Do yourself this little favor and take the time to save your hard work. Create zip files and email yourself backups too! Trust me. Your future self appreciates you.

  2. Organize your DESK.
    • I know this sounds lame but, if your desk looks anything like the hellacious disaster mine does, you need to CLEAN it up! Seriously. Go full-on Monica Gellar. Re-organizing your study space will prepare you for a few things: summer classes, summer internships, and the peace that comes from ordered spaces. Get yourself a filing cabinet and organize all your 1L classes. Go through any paperwork you have and determine what’s needed and what’s superfluous. Again, this will make it easier to find your study materials in the future. The Bar exam is right around the corner and you’ll be happy to have retained your study aids and materials for future use.

      monica-shredder

  3. Return Your Textbook Rentals.
    • Forgetting to send them back, even for just a day, is a waste of money. Maybe you have those extra $$$ to spend, but I sure don’t. Send your books back on time and you won’t rack up late fees. Plus, you can cross one more task off your list. [I really love doing that]
    • If you bought all your textbooks, then you may want to hold onto them and sell them to the next class! You can ask professors if they’ll be using the same textbook, and offer to sell yours to incoming students for a cheaper rate than they’d have to pay at the bookstore or Amazon. It’s pretty much a win-win situation. You sell your books for a bit of cash and have moolah to buy your next semester’s books too.
  4. Plan Out Your Summer.
    • Just because classes are over doesn’t necessarily mean you have nothing to do. It does however mean that you need to be more lax with your time. You’ve been selfish (I really hope so) all year. This summer, make time for more friends and family events, or go try a few new restaurants. Some of you may be interning for judges, or working at law firms. [I am studying for the patent bar…yes – more studying.] Make time for more fun activities, which you can intersperse amongst work commitments and possible classes (if you’re taking summer courses).  Don’t lose track of your planner/calendar. Keep up with the good habit of knowing your schedule, otherwise it’s easy to fall out of sync and forget to keep yourself on track.

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I sincerely hope you enjoy your summer. This part, right after finals…waiting for grades to post…it’s the most stressful time. If you’re worried – there’s nothing you can do about it now. Take a few steadying breaths and be thankful you’ve made it through your first year of law school. Congratulations!

 

Much love,
sarahheartsig3

Splurging Is Good for the Soul

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The beau’s brother introduced me to SOYLENT 2.0.
We ordered 12 bottles of Nectar flavor. It tastes like fruity pebbles milk, or a melted strawberry milk shake. I didn’t think it was all bad, but it certainly is a different taste. The aftertaste is great, which is nice – because meal replacement shakes (in my experience) aren’t always so kind to my tastebuds.

Skeptical though I was, I gave this nutrient-rich, plant-based shake a try.
According to Soylent, each shake provides 20% of your daily requirements, and is packed full of energy with only 400 calories. 

As a busy law student, this shake has come in handy. I keep it refrigerated and either drink it for breakfast or lunch. I plan to continue drinking them for the next month, replacing a meal here or there (the consistency of always skipping lunch bothers me, so I am going to work them in on hectic days).

So far, I’m enjoying them.

But, I also enjoy a fun brunch. We moseyed on over to Maple Leaf Dinner in North Dallas. As fairly new patrons, this being our second visit, we opted to try a large spread – so the friends we invited along were in for a treat! The french toast is, in my opinion, the best thing they offer. Everything is wonderful, but the french toast was rockstar-level yummy.

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Cheers to a great week!

sarahheartsig3

The Night Before Your Final

bookstack

The week before Finals is stressful. Deadlines. Meetings. Coffee Runs. Mentor Lunches. Dinner with your neglected significant other.

But now, everything feels like you’re moving in slow motion; no class means you have time to binge-watch every episode of all your favorite shows, which you’ve dutifully ignored and tended to your reading all semester. Right?

Now, here you are, the night before your exam. I really hope you studied. In fact, I am damn well willing to bet, you studied. You completed your readings. You finished your assignments. You discussed class topics with classmates, or even your (gasp) non-law school friends and family.

Without realizing it, you’ve done nothing but think of law school concepts for the past several months. Everywhere you look: torts. That case in law&order? Absolutely, in no way, followed proper federal question jurisdiction procedures. [I, personally, have taken to reciting, out-loud, criminal law elements whenever they come to mind.]

topanga

 

We are all striving for perfection. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se.

But, what doesn’t kill you may just leave you with a giant ulcer.
Now, as much as I love the rush of deadlines and pressure to get something done, I simply don’t enjoy the madness before an exam.

Which is why I am sharing this little piece of brilliance with you.
You’ve studied ENOUGH. Cramming one more piece of information on res ipsa loquitur will not help you.

Sleep, however, will help you!

Rest that gorgeous brain. Pack your backpack, download your exam, and then put your laptop in your bag. Be ready to go in the morning. Get in bed by 10pm. [I know you’re going to surf the interwebs on your phone, or read one last reddit thread…]

My advice is simple: Stop studying.

Your exam is less than a day away. There’s no damn point in wrecking yourself before getting to the gut-wrenching part tomorrow.
Rest up. Be prepared. You’re fierce. You’ve got this.

 

sarahheartsig3

 

5 Tips for a Great Study Space

organized

 

Sometimes [ok, more often than I care to count] I find myself procrastinating. I think we all do it, from time to time.

One of my best friends says she “can’t seem to study until the entire house is clean, [she’s] prepped her next three meals, and there’s nothing left to distract her.”

Another one of my law school besties forces herself to come to the library because then “it’s just you, your books, and zero excuses.”

shocked

Amazing self-discipline, right?

My point is – every student has their own moment of distraction. Many times, my moments last a few hours.

What? Baking brownies for friends that might come over later obviously takes precedence over studying Civil Procedure…right?

oprah

We’ll have none of that, Oprah. 😛

In all seriousness though, sitting down to study takes some serious focus. Here are five tips that will help you find [or make] the perfect study space!

  1. Desk space!
    • Studying law is a hefty experience. There’s so many books! You need to find an area that can hold up all those books. I’d say a good, sturdy table, about 3 feet by 2 feet, will serve the purpose well. Anything larger would be wonderful, but not wholly necessary.
  2. Lighting
    • This is KEY. Lighting is important. I don’t do well with yellow lights, so my study space requires white light. It’s a must. Thankfully, the beau purchased an adorable Pixar-esque lamp. I love him. The lamp – just to be clear. He’s perfect, and I’ve named him Trevor. He’s adjustable and, combined with my other lighting, can lighten or darken my study space.
  3. Comfortable Walking Area
    • I am a firm believer in taking BREAKS! Which means I don’t always like to study in the library. There’s almost always someone wanting to kick me out of a study room (which can only be reserved for two hours) or there’s simply too many fantabulous friends around; we distract each other and can quickly turn to different (more like cute cat videos on youtube) activities.
    • That said, find a space you’re comfortable walking away from for a bit, somewhere you’re comfortable leaving your belongings for a quick minute or two. Personally, I frequent some nearby coffee shops and eateries. The staff know me, so I’m comfortable taking a call and walking away from my laptop and books (let’s face it, the books cost more than my macbook.)
  4. Sounds
    • Ambiance, people. The sounds has to be perfect. I have found a perfect study combination. Spotify’s Instrumental Pop Songs playlist and (judge me, if you must) Hogwarts Rooms. I’ve personally been hanging around in the Hufflepuff common room lately. The chirping birds and raspy quills add to my study mood.  #HermioneRocks
  5. Perfectt Distraction Level
    • As I’ve told you, studying new material with friends is always a non-starter for me. I need to capture the material before reviewing it. So I prefer to study alone and then review with a few people. It keeps my study group small and everyone is easily held accountable.
    • Find a spot that doesn’t necessarily have all your comforts, or maybe even one that does. Just know, you need to find your middle ground and keep yourself focused. Law school is only three short years. Put in the effort and you will pull off the grades you deserve.

 

Happy Studying!

sarahheartsig3