Okay, let’s face it. I’ve sucked at reading in the past month. Actually, I haven’t finished a single book this month. It’s mostly due to starting a new job, I haven’t entirely found my rhythm. Some nights I come home and immediately crash.
So in the most DJ Khaled way, I’d like to announce a reading week next week. Anotha one! From July 13 to July 17, there will be a new book review every single day!
Don’t worry, I’m not completely unprepared. It’s not like I haven’t read at all this month, I’ve got a few books that are partially complete. I’ll finish them all and deliver the good (or bad) news to you!
It’ll definitely be a challenge, since the first reading week was filled with the shortest books on the list, whereas this one has some longer reads. In fact, why not just announce it now? I’m almost finished with the longest book on the list: Les Miserables.
As for Abbey, I’ve picked a few books that she’s already read, but work has been busy for her too. She hasn’t promised anything, but there will definitely be a few of her reviews present too next week.
I would announce the books, but frankly, I’m not entirely sure which ones will make it and which ones won’t, so I’ll let it be a surprise for all of us! I suppose I’m open to recommendations, which classics should I read for next week?
The education system is currently in a rapid state of flux. COVID-19 has served as a catalyst for massive changes to schools and universities – for better or worse. In the midst of reopening decisions, students are forced to make big decisions about standardized testing. With each type of test having a different policy, they may or may not be able to even take it. And the ones that are still scheduled… will it even happen?
While it’s certainly not the most pressing issue in the world around us, I thought it’d be interesting to discuss the status of standardized testing because really, it serves as a metaphor for the response to COVID-19 in the United States: inconsistency.
As a law student myself, I’m not out of the woods yet. I’ve got two tests left to go: the Bar Exam and the Patent Bar.
The Bar Exam (generally)
The Bar is the most gruesome test of our careers, passing means we can practice law in that state, but failing means we’ve got to wait 6 months before we can try again. It’s also a curved exam, which means only so many of you will pass. The Bar is a brutal experience.
Each state has their own Bar Exam, but many states have adopted the Universal Bar Exam (UBE) in recent years, which standardizes the experience. Though many states have individual requirements and state-specific portions.
To take the Bar, you apply as a candidate. The application process lasts about a year and a half. During this time, you take an exam on professional responsibility, get hammered with character and fitness evaluations, and shell out thousands of dollars. To put it simply, it’s a big deal.
States are all over the place on what to do with the July Bar. While some states have offered diploma privilege – an exception where having a law degree is enough to be admitted to the Bar, bypassing the exam entirely. Other states have pushed back the Bar to September/October. From these, some have gone fully online and those that are still trying for an in-person exam, haven’t announced the testing center.
All in all, I’m glad I’m not taking the Bar this year. What is the most stressful time in a law students life is amplified by uncertainty to the highest degree. Watching classmates deal with this is devastating. Their careers are on the line. Most have large amounts of debt and no savings, so the thought of not being able to work at a law firm for months is understandably stressful with the current job market.
The Patent Bar
The Patent Bar is an exam for any person looking to work alongside the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This includes patent attorneys. To qualify for the Patent Bar, you need a bachelor’s degree in engineering/science. Since I do, I qualify for it now. I can take it whenever I want. My only restriction is that once I sign up, I have three months to go to a testing center and take the exam.
There is no generally accepted time to take the Patent Bar. Some students take it while in law school, others once they graduate. Personally, I want to make sure I’m in a good spot for job hunts next summer, so it was something I wanted to do this summer.
The material covers the 29 chapter joy that is the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) – which you get on the test. Though when you realize that you have to answer 100 questions in 6 hours, you realize that you don’t have much time to look through the MPEP.
I’ve been hesitant to start studying because if it’s about memorization, I want to be able to take the test as soon as I’m ready. With testing centers pretty much closed, it doesn’t seem smart to start going through the weeds.
Last weekend, thinking I was smart, I made a set of flashcards on the table of contents. It’s several hundred cards of sections and subsections because I thought it would familiarize me with the manual. I use it a bit for work too, so it seemed practical. After three years of not being updated, the MPEP was updated THE DAY AFTER I made the cards. So now I have to go through all of my cards to make sure the chapters and sub-chapters still match. Just my luck.
Everything is such a mess. I can’t possibly predict what standardized testing will look for me or any other student. I’m thankful I’m not a student that requires a test this summer. To all of my fellow students out there, has this year affected your studies? Tell me your stories and we can all stress together. I promise you’re not the only one panicking.
It’s official: I’ve been blogging for six months. I’m not sure when I can accurately carry the title of blogger, but seeing as I got up early to write a whole other post and only after I finished realized it was my six months, we can definitely say I’m in the blogger head space.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on my experience. Because why not?
What I’ve Written
My content has taken a variety of forms as I learned which direction I was heading. I thought it could be fun to revisit my favorite post from each month and see how I grew.
My first project was technically to CALI a law class – which is basically just earning the highest grade in a class. Since then, the project has evolved into general law school success. I was surprised re-reading my original thoughts. What a long way the project has come.
This was probably my favorite book I’ve read in Project 4. It was so thought-provoking. This was also when I realized that I had to put a bit of work into writing a book review. There was so much to unpack and trying to stay spoiler-free was tough. Book bloggers: much respect.
This was one of my first posts that involved research. I did a deep dive on why you don’t wear certain shades of color in your closet. It was the first time I’ve developed my own theory about something – something I’ve done more and more of in the past few months.
It’s always fun to see success. My calligraphy project has been nothing but pure fun and something I didn’t expect to enjoy. I’m looking forward to seeing where this project can go.
What I’ve Learned
What I’ve Learned about Blogging
It’s actually way harder than I was expecting. Writing a post in your head always sounds so much better than it does when you read over what actually made it to paper. Coming up with consistent ideas is impossible and finding the motivation to make sure they all go out on time is comically hard.
But I’m not here to be hard on myself. One of the reasons I write about my projects as I complete them is to reflect on the good and the bad. No journey is ever easy. There are setbacks and failures left and right.
On a more positive note, I think my writing has improved. Or at the very least, I think I’ve found a voice. I write much differently on this blog than I do for anything else – I treat this as a quasi-stream of consciousness, I hear myself talking in my head.
Also, I’m pretty proud of how the blog looks. This is something I touched on yesterday, but I’m proud of the style I’ve created around my content. Besides, there’s only so much you can do on a personal plan and I’m not about to upgrade.
My numbers are still small which is fine with me. I’m still under 100 followers and not many people see my content. This doesn’t bother me at all. My numbers are small but mighty. I’ve met some truly amazing and inspiring people by doing this.
What I’ve Learned about Goals
So if you just did the math, you might realize that that means I started my blog on January 1. While it’s true I went live at the beginning of the year, it was not a new year’s resolution. But hey, if it makes you believe that you can follow through on a new year’s resolution, by all means use me as an example.
This actually is something I’ve really learned about goals: they don’t operate on the same calendar we do. I used to start goals when I finished another task or maybe on the first of the month. This is such a mistake. Start goals while you have the motivation, don’t wait until the time’s “right.”
I’m also very proud of the progress I’ve made on some of these goals. Particularly Project 4, before this project, the last time I read a book was in 2014. Now I’m six months in and I’ve read 15. I’m definitely still learning how to pace myself, but I’m getting better by the day.
What I’ve Learned about Relationships
I’ve become a better friend, girlfriend, and daughter since starting the blog. This is done in two ways: 1) experiencing a fire inside of me, and 2) becoming more cognizant and sympathetic to other people’s goals.
With concrete goals, I’ve been more alive in these past few months. Feeling the roller coaster that is trying something new reinvigorates you. It also has made me really want to bring that out in others. The feelings that I’m feeling, I want to share them.
Understanding motivations is something I’ve tuned into a little more too. I wrote about this a little with the post on my and my boyfriend’s different lifestyles. While he’s more interested in completing daily and weekly goals, mine tend to be so much farther in the future. Learning that these goals were just as important to him as mine were to me allowed me to connect with him in a way I couldn’t before.
That’s about all the self-reflection I have in me at the moment. But let me know down in the comments below, how long have you been blogging and how has your journey changed your surroundings? I’m interested in hearing how people have perceived their own journey.
As always, appreciate you all. Thanks for making this experience so enjoyable.
I have a bit of a confession: I’ve always been a daydreamer. A full-blown Capricorn, I thrive on setting goals far into the future – hello, welcome to my blog! When it comes to working towards improving myself in the short-term, I’ve never really understood it.
While I’m not the messiest person on the planet, I don’t make my bed. I never have. The concept of it bewilders me: why tidy up something I’m just going to make a mess later that night? The times I’ve made my bed are strictly limited to when I think there might be evening visitors.
On top of that, I adhere to a strong indoor-outdoor clothing policy. This might sound strange to some people, but I only wear clothes that are a little bit rattier that in the house. The clothes I wear outside of the house are a little higher quality, so I don’t want to wear them out but running them through so many clothing cycles. Seeing as I like many others have been staying at home for the past few months, my appearance hasn’t been the cutest.
My boyfriend is the exact opposite of me. The yin to my yang, he dresses up every single day, cleans his house every night, and spends time working on the little things. While I’m not a slob, my little quirks drive him crazy. He sat me down to explain his reasoning recently and honestly, it finally clicked. I understood.
The Formula That Changed Me
He argued that our daily life is the majority of our life. Most of the time, we’re just doing what we’re doing. He rationalized it as: if you dress like a slob every day, you become a slob. That one line stopped me in my tracks. I quickly realized the formula applied to every aspect of our daily lives: if you don’t do your dishes every day, you’re a person who lives in a house with dirty dishes.
Understanding that extending self-care to the minutiae of your daily life, you see maximum improvements in overall productivity and confidence. It’s really that simple. Living in a clean house just makes you happier. Sometimes these little things make all the difference.
As someone who didn’t understand this until recently, I felt like I was experiencing a breakthrough. Seriously, my mind shattered. I focus on the long-term and didn’t realize the short-term can help you get there. I shouldn’t be surprised either. After working on projects like organizing my life, I’ve been feeling the difference. I even wrote a whole post on it a little while ago. I guess I just didn’t connect the dots.
And if that wasn’t enough, you can just be a better partner/friend/family member. Grooming makes you more attractive and confident and a cleaner house is more inviting. Make your loved ones happy!
Edit: My boyfriend read this post and added: “if you’re half a percent better every day, that’s a lot of percents better in a year.” Okay, so he’s not the most eloquent – but you get the point. Maybe he should take on Project 4 with me.
Let’s talk about the little things: what little things make your day a little more productive or happier? I’m curious where else I can improve my daily life – help a girl out here.
As I’ve been getting used to my job, I’ve also had the opportunity to spend time on parts of me that have been lost to law school. While I use the blog to channel these outlets, it’s been tough to find time for any hobbies or interests outside my scheduled projects. The one thing that law school took from me that hurt the most was music.
Before law school, I was constantly listening to music. My Spotify averaged 6 hours a day. I knew all the new releases, the underground hits, and was known as the girl who could make a mean playlist. It’s was a part of my identity.
But since being in school, I’ve found that I couldn’t listen to music while doing my readings (back when I was an engineer math and music went hand-in-hand). By the time I finished work, I was fried. No time for any enjoyment.
Slowly, I started losing track of what was coming out. When I did have a chance to listen to anything new, I felt out of the loop because I didn’t know the context behind the song’s release. Older favorites seemed tainted with memories of when my friends were around. Every song reminded me of the person I first showed it too. After a while, the fun was gone.
Starting work has given me that sense of fun back. I’m listening to music at my desk, so I can passively listen to music and make new memories with it. It’s become exciting again.
Listening to music made me want to make some myself. One song I’ve really enjoyed lately is Sugar by Brockhampton. I thought I could get the basic beat in the background – using the same steps as I explained in my covering songs post. Here’s what I came up with:
It’s not great. Currently, it’s not a real guitar, but I plan on recording myself playing the guitar part. I also tried to add a bass, but for some reason I’ve always had trouble with 808s.
I’m just excited I actually made some music. This song especially sound lackluster without the vocals, but the weekend is close, so maybe once I’m off work I can fix this beat a little bit. I’ve got some ideas for how to make the guitar part a little different. Who knows, maybe I’ll record vocals too?
Anyway, that’s all for now. What do you think? Are there any songs that have resonated with you lately?
There’s something so pure about the feeling of completing a goal you set. Not only do you have the satisfaction of completing whatever task you laid out in front of yourself, but it actually can increase your confidence and make you more likely to complete future goals. But when your goal keeps changing, are there different rules?
First, we have to ask why the goal is being changed? If you’re lowering it to something more attainable, then you’re not changing it, you’re settling. Or maybe you’re setting an intermediary goal to work towards what you actually want.
Changing your goal, on the other hand, shows that you’re internalizing it. You’re taking active steps and saying “Wait, wouldn’t it be better if I ____?” It shows self-awareness and evaluating what’s actually important to you.
Evolving goals are completely normal and healthy. I challenge you to look at goals you’ve set and haven’t worked on and ask yourself why you’re not actively working towards them. Do you need intermediary goals or are you just not interested in the goal you set?
My Evolving Goal
This was something I realized recently. I’ve always been in the habit of creating larger-than-life goals and telling myself that it wasn’t the right time to work on certain goals. I didn’t realize it was a sign.
You may have noticed Project 5 has been a little, well, quiet. Besides posting the project topic, it doesn’t seem like I’ve worked on actually writing a book. Abbey and I had this fantastic story, but putting words to paper was something both of us put off.
But we had the outlines of the book – it was a mystery novel. It had the twists and the turns. We planned out the characters and the settings meticulously. It was something we were interested in. But when it came to writing, we had no interest.
I think it’s because neither of us actually want to write a book. At least not at this point in our lives anyway. But we knew we had a story we wanted to see come to life.
I’ve mentioned before that Abbey and I are big fans of the Nancy Drew games. They’re essentially virtual escape rooms, filled with puzzles and clues. We’ve played so many, we’ve begun to recognize patterns in puzzle making. That’s when I realized that that was a way to express our story: making a game.
Everything clicked and fell into place. That’s what we’d do, we’d make a mystery game out of this story. We’d build puzzles and create dialogue and make a playable game. Who knows what form the game takes? Video game, board game, murder mystery party. It’s all something we would actually want to try. Also, wouldn’t it be fun for me to share some of the puzzles with you guys as we make them?
So with that, we have an evolved goal. I’m curious if other people think this way about goals, have you ever changed a goal you’ve had? If so, how did it turn out? I’m really interested if evolving goals have a higher success rate.
So needless to say, not only did I want good grades for personal gain, I also wanted them to work towards achieving for the blog. With Project 1 being dedicated to trying to CALI a law class (getting the highest grade), I felt determined to work towards it.
In light of the grade changes following the school closing for the semester, our classes became pass/fail. I’m excited to say I passed them all! I can’t say I was particularly nervous, but there’s always that one voice in the back of your head that whispers “what if?”
My school also implemented an honors pass which means the top 30% of the class received an honors pass instead of a pass. It doesn’t affect your GPA, but for those that demand competition, it’s what we got.
I received an honors pass in my legal writing class, which means there’s a chance I CALIed in it. If it didn’t, I made it to the top of the class, which honestly is enough for me. I did bet during the last week of class that I had a chance in legal writing. While I’m not going to bet that I got it, we should find out who did in the next few weeks. So who knows, maybe I did complete Project 1?
Hello! Apologies for the radio silence lately, but I come bearing good news: I started a new job!
I’m extremely grateful the summer position I was given was not cancelled due to the pandemic. Many of my classmates had their opportunities cancelled and of course, with the current economic conditions I expected mine to follow suit.
Usually law firms hire several students each summer. My firm hires a few in anticipation of them collaborating and working together. While there are other students working with me, they all started before me and are in the classes above mine. When paired with the fact that this is my first legal position, I am a bit overwhelmed.
That being said, I’m very excited to be starting this position. I’m working for a great company in the heart of the city and everything feels like an early 2000s Devil Wears Prada-esquemovie. Except all the people I work with are lovely.
My days consist of taking the train downtown, walking through the city to my skyscraper, going through the gorgeous marble lobby, and heading to my office. I seriously couldn’t ask for a better gig.
In the midst of it all, I’ve failed to update my blog. As it’s still the first week, I’m still transitioning. I’ve been so tired when I get home, I don’t really have many project updates. However, I hope to find some sort of normalcy soon.
Thank you for bearing with me as I get used to my new routine. I promise, I’ll still have plenty of project updates this summer! I’m looking forward to sharing this next chapter with you all!
My calligraphy journey has been off to a great start! I’ve probably committed about 7 hours or so to it so far but I’m really proud of my progress!
The Skillshare class I’ve been following has been fantastic (not sponsored!). It’s meant for beginners and is a perfect introduction into lettering. Additionally, he shows you how to make a calligraphy pen out of a soda can and a popsicle stick, so if you’re unable to get a pen, he’s here to accomodate.
The first few classes were centered around learning basic strokes. For each stroke he taught you, he asked that you do a full page. At first, I was hesitant since it seemed like so much work. But I did it nonetheless. I’m so glad I did, because it really steadied my hand. It also taught me to recognize how much ink is on the pen and how often I need to refill.
The basic strokes ended up looking something like this:
And because I’m a child, I colored on some of the exercises. Sorry, but I’m not sorry. Note that the smudging on these came from my coloring, not from my ink which was strange since I colored the images days later.
I was really satisfied to see improvement across these images. I was starting to feel really confident with these basic movements.
From there, I tried my first alphabet. It turned out like this:
I apologize for the shortened video, I usually use my boyfriend’s phone but since he’s at work I used mine and well, I ran out of storage. Oops. I’m a professional. I’m also hoping I can make this videos higher quality soon. I’m doing the best I can here.
I’ve got a long way to go – especially with letters that are not within the parameters of the basic strokes I learned. Letters like g, k, p, w, w, x, and z all need a little workshopping. But for a first try, I’m pretty happy. It’s not wedding invitation worthy, but it’s definitely fridge worthy.
So there you have it: progress. Nothing more satisfying than seeing growth, right? Next I’ll tackle uppercase letters.
How do you think I did? Would you ever want to learn calligraphy? Let me know in the comments down below!
Happy Hump Day! After finishing my law journal writing competition, I now have a week of freedom before my job starts. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this week of nothing – maybe a bit too much. In anticipation of starting the job, I’ve been putting my all into blogging. Here’s where we stand with the projects:
This project has most definitely morphed into an amalgamation of legal success, which is fine by me. I won’t mention the writing competition again – but that was tough to do for the three weeks after finals. Burnout is everywhere.
But I’m excited to announce that I’ll be working at a downtown law firm over the summer! I’m really looking forward to trying out the career I’ve worked 23 years for, but nervous nonetheless. I’ve never really had a steady 9-5 job. All of my jobs in the past were either intermittent or entirely at home. It might take a little adjusting to go full adult.
I’m almost done! Yesterday I tended to some much needed lawn care and general landscaping – a task that didn’t even make my list. I don’t have a lawnmower, but my front yard isn’t more than 20 square feet, so I just used scissors. It may have looked stupid, but it got the job done. After I get my next paycheck – shears. The bushes need trimming.
Everything else that’s left is mostly on my hard drive. My hard drive plunges into the depths of my childhood and it’s tough to clean without getting distracted. Oops.
I’m so slow on this project and I’m sorry. I’ve had very little motivation or inspiration for it. However, a slight breakthrough that might be a gamechanger: I got SkillShare (not sponsored). While I got it for my calligraphy project, I figured I could make use of it to really learn how to use FL Studio. Hopefully learning more about the program can inspire me.
Abbey and I have officially started a book club where we’re holding ourselves accountable to reading one book a week. This week is Madame Bovary. Outside that, I’m also working through Beowulf – but progress has been slow. When I’m not reading, I’m listening to Les Mis on Audible (not sponsored). So while it’s been over a week since there’s been a review, it won’t be much longer, I promise.
In the meantime, Abbey’s been crushing it. She actually surprised me by listening to Les Mis at work over the past few weeks. Not to be outdone, I got it too. She’s only one or two books behind me now and I’m a little intimidated (don’t tell her I said that).
Also, I’m on Goodreads! Come stop in and say hello! Reviews will be going up this week!
This project has shown the most promise. I’ve really put in effort here. You may have noticed my posts looking a little better and that’s no coincidence. I’ve been focused on creating better content.
I’ve also been diving deep into social media! It’s beyond overwhelming to optimize one platform, let alone several. I’ve been putting most of my effort into Pinterest, creating pins left and right. Everything’s scheduled, so expect to see a lot of pins there in the coming weeks.
It’s been so much fun meeting new bloggers. To the fresh faces, hello and welcome!
I’m really, really enjoying this project. It’s a bit unexpected honestly. I didn’t expect to sink my teeth in as far as I have. After the first attempt, I’ve begun following a SkillShare course. I’m still learning basic strokes so while I haven’t written any words, I have pages and pages of lines and circles and boxes. I’m glad the course moves slow though, I’m actually seeing real improvement. I can’t wait to share it all with you!
This project was paused for my competition. Each and every day was spent writing and writing and writing. Now that it’s over, I’ve been slow to get back into the runs. Don’t worry, I will. It’s a minor setback.
And that’s where I’m at with everything! If you enjoyed today’s post let me know in the comments down below! Which projects are your favorite to read?