Law School Doesn’t care that your broke: Basic Tips for getting through those 0L expenses

I’m sorry I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks. Life and moving preparations have gotten in the way of my blogger dreams.

In the midst of all these preparations I’ve realized (even more so) the title of this post-“Law School doesn’t care that I’m broke”. If I estimate the total cost of applications, transcripts, seat deposits, housing deposit, and first months rent, moving expenses (etc.) I think I’ve spent (or am going to spend in the next 30 days) almost $3000…three-thousand-dollars…and that’s just in the last few months. I knew law school would be expensive, but no one ever tells you it starts BEFORE you even get to take a class. For those stable adults with full time jobs who have decided to go back to school to get their JD or those trust fund babies who have handbags worth more than that, I’m sure it’s not as big of a deal.

But for a new college grad who isn’t working…

nervous laughter

lets just say I owe it to God for making it all possible.

Since I don’t think there’s enough advice or posts about expenses as a “0L” here’s a few basic financial tips for those thinking of applying to law school!

Here we Go…

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Law School Worries: 1L 15?

You know that whole rumor about people going to college and gaining the “freshman 15”?

Well…it’s not a rumor.

I’m those people…and shameful to say, it actually turned out to be more like a freshman 30 and it didnt take freshman year, it only took the first semester.

It’s pretty common, you go from having your meals cooked or decided for you by your parents to fending for youself. Cooking for yourself, choosing your own meals, staying up however late and being in dorms makes it no easier. Hanging out in the lounge till 2am, what else are you going to do but have midnight snacks? Cafeteria food not looking good today? Burger, pizza, or burrito (my weakness) it is!

Especially when your like me and you came from a house where you never had as much access to all these things. I grew up eating chex and kix, takeout/fastfood was a treat, and buying anything beyond water,icetea or fruit juice meant it was probably a special occasion (party, bbq etc.).

So when I say I went wild, I WENT WILD. I discovered the gloriousness that is Ben&Jerrys, probably had fast food for at least 1 meal 5 times a week,  drank all the soda, starbucks, and energy drinks I wanted, it was a lot of unhealthy madness.

Freshman Year’s motto

After first semester I tried a little harder to watch all the junk food but I fluctuated a lot, losing some, gaining some, losing some gaining some.

An annoying cycle…BUT

Junior year I got it together!

I worked hard, I ate good, and it paid off. I lost 40lbs (and kept it off)! I was even pretty close to some abs coming in before I moved back in January.

However, as I’ve said in a previous post the last 6 months of my life have mainly been like

couch potato status

so I feel like I’ve lost my fitness drive and I really need to get back to it. I don’t want to get so overwhelmed with law school that I forget to take care of myself. With the amount of work and studying I’ll be doing it’s easy to fall into a habit of takeout or frozen dinners every night, along with energy drink induced all nighters.

If I’m going to get back in the groove of regularly working out and getting on that Jada Pinkett status (because how is it legal to look that good? and at 43!) I’ve got to start now.

I’ve just got to get my motivation back…

Surprisingly a lot of the 1L advice post I’ve read (links here) have stressed the importance of exercise. Not only is it good for your overall health, but it’s good for your brain, it keeps you energized and keeps those endorphins up to fend off that ever present law school depression. And as cliche as it is to say, when you eat good you feel good. And when you feel good the studying will probably be a lot easier.

On the one hand it wont be the same as Freshman year. I’ve been on my own, I’m a pretty good (nearing ridiculously awesome) cook and I’ve made exercising a regular part of my life before. On the other hand, it’s the getting back to it that takes all the work. I’m hoping blogging about it will force me to be a little more accountable, because if it’s up to me to make myself go workout I’d rather play sims all day, but if I blog about it don’t I actually have to do it? haha

I think I might do an ab or leg challenge for the month of July so I may post a general plan or inspiration (once I get some).

But in the mean time, any tips for getting motivated? How do you do it? Let me know! I need hellpp

currently

.

Reality Check: Why I’ve Gotta Be The Best

My last post I talked about the game of law school, and working to be the best, and I know it probably made me sound like a potential gunner lol but…

Some of you are probably thinking, calm it down girl, does it really matter if you’re in the top 10%? We’re all getting J.D.s here, just work hard and do your best.

But yes, HECK YES it matters.

Here’s my top 2 reasons why:

#1. I’m black.

Now, this isn’t a problem for the great majority of law students. The school I’m most likely going to has like 3% black people, 20-30% “other” in general, so most law students will never have to consider this. But for all other POC law students out there, average isn’t good enough for you.

You know that whole Scandal scene with Papa Pope and Olivia and he says

That sh*t (excuse my french) is real life. If you’re one of those “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” people, and you think it’s an excuse, just go look at employment and salary statistics. White high school drop outs are just as likely as black college graduates to be hired, so I’ve got a hell of a lot more work to do to get to the top than the majority of my peers. Just graduating, isn’t good enough, and it won’t put me in a position for the type of success I’m after. To get the best, I’ve got to be THE best.

#2. A LOT of Law school graduates are unemployed.

They aren’t the majority, but they’re getting pretty close. If you’ve applied for, or are starting law school and you haven’t researched and read articles and statistics on employment- you are naive.

A J.D. isn’t magic, and I’m not immune to the woes of an over-saturated market. The fact is, not only will I be competing with my fellow graduates, I’ll also competing with the ~30-40% of unemployed graduates that have come through in the last 5-10 years since law employment prospects have dropped. That whole joke about having a law degree and working at target…isn’t really a joke. 

Some people are going to read this and think, “eh, this doesn’t matter for ME because I don’t wanna do Big Law, I’ll work at a small firm or I want to work for the government as a public defender or whatever”. BUT, there are only so many jobs in Big Law, there are only so many prestigious clerkships, so where do you think all the rejects for those jobs are going? And these aren’t “rejects” in the regular sense of the word, these are super intelligent people, with significant skills, polished and awesome resumes who were only rejected because there are just too many lawyers and not enough jobs. Therefore you have to set yourself apart or you’ll be just another face in the crowd. These people are competing with you for the small firm job, or the government job, or any job that’ll hire because at the end of the day, student loans are no joke, and people have bills to pay.

Ultimately my point is, if I want to be on the other side of the employment statistics I’ve got to WORK for it and kick ass in law school.

Because you know who isn’t unemployed? 

The top 10%.

(or top 25%).

The Game of Law

For about a year now (maybe more because my excitement for law school is too much to contain lol) I have been reading all kinds of law blogs and lawyer blogs and law student tips and news blogs like Above the law, Top Law Schools (TLS) forums, Ms JD, Law-School-Hacker etc. (to name a few). I have learned A LOT…what to expect, what I can do to prepare, what I should do during, application tips, transferring chances, how ranking works, etc.- basically tips about hacking the system. Ultimately though, what I have come to realize from all this research is that law school is a GAME. Except, unlike any other game, most people don’t know the rules, don’t know how to play, and are low-key being misled by the teachers/leaders of the game (a.k.a. your professors). Resulting in a blood bath of confusion as unexpected candidates rise to the top, and that person who worked relentlessly briefing every case, or that person who you thought sounded the smartest in class, all end up with mediocre grades in the middle of the pack. 

It isn’t the person who works the hardest, nor the person who has the most intelligence who will ultimately win. It’s  the person who works the SMARTEST within the system of the game- combined with a superb work ethic- who will win the Game of Law School.

The majority of people going into law school are going in with the mindset that they’ll work to be in the top (top 10% usually gets you on Law Review, and possibly a scholarship depending on your school). 90% of them will be wrong. 

If you don’t want to be in that great majority, the key is to get ahead of the game.

To know as much of the rules and moves as you can before you start.

I intend to be the best. Unlike everyone else however, my intentions are backed by months of research and advice from top 10percenters at top law schools (i.e. Standford, UCLA, Berkley, etc.), current lawyers, and law professors.

The first of my steps towards success this summer is 0L Prep.

I’m poor, so I wont be spending $1500 on some fancy Kaplan law school prep that most people say doesn’t help them any way lol.

I have however, researched the best books, the best type of prep, and what I should be working to understand prior to starting, so if you’re interested check out my next post detailing my whole plan and the books with some links to other blogs or forums that helped me form my plan.

Until then…

Introduction: Who am I?

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I’m Kristin, and I’m a 22 year old 1L. I’m Black, Belizean and Honduran, which I think is important to mention, because really…how many famous POC law blogs are there?

(Not that I’m famous……………yet ;D)

My favorite color is blue, my favorite hobby is food (cooking it, eating it, staring at it while I make drool puddles on the floor…etc.) and I’d like to take over the world!

I’m starting this blog mainly for myself, to keep myself motivated and to remind myself why I’m on this journey, why I’m doing what I’m doing and why I chose law school. It’s tough times out here for wanna-be lawyers…applications are down, graduates are unemployed, clerkship competition is up, firms are cutting down and it’s starting to seem lawyers are going out of style.

In a world where everybody is telling you you should’ve gone to medschool, it’s good to have your good ol’ pal Kristin here reminding you why they’re all wrong.

Hopefully this blog will be the memoir of my success story, educating and humoring young law ducklings everywhere for years to come.

If it’s not… at least you’ll know what not to do ;]

Follow me on Tumblr too!