9.23.2011

How'd I Get Here?

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Happy Friday!

In attempt to mitigate my nerves and take away from the panic that I'm experiencing at every waking moment, I'm blogging yet again. As I mentioned in my last post, thinking ahead has been a central theme within my 23 years of existence. I've never really mentioned my desire to go to law school and how it all began so now seems like a good time...

When I was a child I was addicted to reading and writing. I would reread my favorite novels 4-5 times and then I would write "great works of fiction". Since the age of 5, I put on performances at big family gatherings by singing, dancing, doing cartwheels, and then proceeding to answer questions with big vocabulary words. My parents would always get irritated with how much I talked and had an answer for everything. In middle school, grammar and memorizing vocabulary words were my passion. When my stepdad and I were at Round Table for our weekly pizza night, he told me that he could see me as a lawyer. Yes, my dreams of being a dentist were shattered, but after he explained the ins and outs of attorney life, I knew it was for me.

In college, I wanted to be like my stepdad and majored in engineering, thinking I could still go to law school for environmental law. Big mistake! I am such a crapshoot at math and science, there was no way I could maintain a high GPA to get into law school. I decided that I needed to change majors to something I enjoyed to earn better grades, so after my first year, I transferred to business, took business law courses, and found a job at a civil litigation and family law firm where they specialized in insurance defense, real estate defect, and obviously family law. I loved my time there, the energy, the people and being involved in all of the cases. I put together discovery, pleadings, correspondence, evidence, and was very close to the partners at the firm. Although I was making minimum wage, it was the best job I've ever had! Everything was just so interesting to me - the depositions, seeing clients and the clients' situations themselves, meeting all the attorneys and judges, and seeing the entire legal process unfold. I stayed there for over 2 years and regrettably had to leave after I graduated.

The experience made me realize that I could put my editing and reading/writing skills to use and that's how I got to my current job today which I also love. It's different working for a huge corporation but writing their contracts, leases and making sure everything is within compliance is interesting and opens up such a wealth of knowledge to be working with many different personalities from all over the United States. What I love the most about my job is that I work with both internal employees (sales executives and upper management) and clients. It's a great mix of everything and a different side of the legal field besides litigation. I'm still not sure what I want to do after law school but I know that I want to get into corporate law. Let's just hope I can get in first!

9.20.2011

Thinking Ahead

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I think the storm has passed. I've been letting my nerves get the best of me but this little battle of applying to law school has just begun and it will be a continuous uphill one. Once I take the LSAT, I still have to focus on my personal statements, my addendum, resume, and hounding down my contacts for my letters of recommendation. Ever since I was young, my dad has instilled the mentality that thinking ahead is of utmost importance. Needless to say it always worked and I shouldn't forget this little rule at this point in my life.

Being accepted into law school won't be the only victory. As much as I'd like to think it will be easy once that hurdle has been passed, it will just be the beginning. There will be times when I don't know what the hell I'm supposed to be studying, days when I will be called on and won't know the answer and consequently black out from the sheer horror, agonizing nights of hoping to pass my classes and times where I will be hoping and praying that I won't be one of those people who get kicked out of law school!

Thinking of the future is helping me calm down quite a bit as this is not the end all be all of my life. Anyway - on to other more positive items, I really miss the gym and tracking my spending. I know when I make time in being balanced, I feel much better and stronger. At this point, I can't take on any new exercise regimens or add to my already busy schedule but in a week and a half I will have more time on my hands...well maybe after 3 weeks since I'll be working on my applications feverishly.

9.19.2011

From Stressing to Spending

You guys...this studying for the LSAT thing has not helped my frivolous spending. In the beginning it was fine but ever since the 3 week countdown mark began I have been suddenly spending a lot. I'm not sure if it's because I've been away from everything and also because I didn't pay attention to fashion week at all, or if it's from all the non-stop studying, or if it's from the sleep deprivation but I have purchased quite a lot in the past 2 weeks.

Here's a breakdown because I need to be held accountable:
Zappos - Steve Madden Pembrook booties $129
Hautelook - Splendid items (LOVE this brand and have been waiting for a sale) $154
AE - Black ankle boots on sale $35
Forever 21 - some basics for Fall (including the coolest cobalt blue skinnies) $112

As you can see...I basically blew my shopping budget out the window for the entire month of September AND October. I don't know what happened but there you have it. My brain has been mush from studying logic however it still has time to think about shopping.

The stress, anxiety, and panic has set in and I think I have resorted to doing what I know best, and that's shopping. I have found that I turn to spending money when I am in these types of predicaments and by blogging about it, it really helps me realize that I need to reel it all in. I began this blog to stop this habit and I did successfully but when you throw yourself in a busy schedule and you are put under pressure, that's when self control needs to come in.

I also wanted to check out Target to see if they had any Missoni x Target stuff but I held back as I knew I wouldn't be able to control myself. Also I've been wanting to decorate my office space since I am there more than half of my life so I want it to be soothing and comfortable, but I haven't had time to think about it yet.

The LSAT is in 12 days and I'm in panic mode. The studying has been kicked up a notch and I'm now getting 4-5 hours of sleep and drinking coffee like it's going out of style. Starbucks is making a small fortune out of me and yes I know that if I stop buying Starbucks I will have more money if I invest it but right now nothing can buy sanity more than my iced white mocha so Starbucks it is. The library is my 2nd home and I am constantly thinking of fallacies and valid/invalid arguments when I talk to people. It's getting a bit annoying. I'm thinking that I should get a massage the Friday before to release the stress and emotion since it will be the most important test of my life. I just have to keep studying so I don't have to take this test again in December.

Anyone have any tips for combating nervousness, anxiety, panic, stress, or plain ol butterflies? 

9.14.2011

Choosing an LSAT Prep Course

I know this hasn't really been a personal finance blog lately but to be honest my life has been all about studying and studying so I'm going to talk about my journey so far with the LSAT, my prep course, and applying to law school. Stay tuned if you are interested!

PART I. The Prep Course

I'm taking a Blueprint LSAT prep course and it is by far the best one I have ever experienced. I tried taking Testmasters last year and it was horridly dry, we had 2 instructors and they were condescending. I hated being in class. Also at that time, the mere fact that I just graduated college, wasn't ready to study, and moved back in with my parents could have played a role. At the time my mom had me doing all the housework, cooking, being a chauffeur for the siblings and tutoring. I had zero time!

My decision was based upon their intensive amount of resources and aesthetically pleasing (amazing) and easy to use website. They offer video and audio explanations for almost all the homework, practice exams, and also lesson questions. The class costs over $1,199 regularly but my mom paid for the online course last summer (and I didn't have time to do it, what a waste of money) so this time I only paid half ~$750 to "retake" the course (they offer 50% off if you retake the class). I think the cost of a prep course is a great investment and TRULY worth it if you want to take the LSAT.

courtesy of blueprintprep.com

We have class basically 3 times a week for 4-5 hours at a time for a total of over 100 in-class hours. In addition the books lay out immense amounts of homework (which are actual LSAT questions) that require about 8-10 hours of time to do in between classes. This ensures you understand the material and the techniques become ingrained in your head. I wouldn't suggest taking a class if you aren't willing to work hard and study your a$$ off because it won't work. You need to put the time into it, but I'm sure if you are applying for law school you know what you're getting yourself into :).

That said, your teacher plays a huge role like any other classroom class. My teacher is great to look at but in addition and most importantly, he makes class interesting because of his humor and his passion is evident in his teaching style. He responds to my homework questions via email on Saturday nights at 11pm and he also takes the time to answer all my questions in class and after class. He also doesn't make you feel stupid and is extremely motivating and encouraging - exactly what you need to get through this test.

I just took our 3rd practice exam last night (after a 9 hour work day, oh the horror!) and surprisingly I increased another 5 points. Since the first practice exam and almost 1.5 months ago, I have increased my score by 12 points already! I just need another 5 points and I feel like these next 2 weeks focusing on timing, review and just hashing out more practice I can get there. A prep course was exactly what I needed to push myself into studying. If anyone is going to take a prep course I highly recommend Blueprint.

Hopefully this post helps someone out there debating between LSAT prep courses. I'll be updating again on the costs of applying to law school in my next post!

Disclaimer: These are my own TRUE opinions and experiences. I was definitely not paid to write this review. I enjoy and appreciate the class THAT MUCH!
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