Looking back at 1L year

With August quickly approaching, new classes of law students will begin their journey through learning the legal system and jargon that encompasses our country and state. I thought it was an appropriate time to reflect and share my experience this past school year. To be honest, I had to take a few weeks since the ends of finals and return of grades to feel free to discuss my year as a 1L at St. Mary’s University. I finally feel as if I am not reeling from the constant stress of preparing for the next class and balancing a healthy schedule and social life. Everyone told me law school would be hard, and I definitely did not fully appreciate what that meant. Even with my expectations high I was still smacked with the heaps of reading, mind-wracking briefs, and challenges of learning new vocabulary (which was definitely a struggle for me). I have broken down the dimensions of what it was like being a first year law student and hope this rings true to my colleagues and can give some guidance to future 1Ls.

Pros:

  • New friends and old friends supporting you through the good and the ugly. There were definitely some days I was not pleasant to be around. I am naturally very shy and tried to blend into the small sea of people. However, this was tough with the Socratic method dragging you out of your shell in front of a roomful of brilliant minds. However, after enduring the tomato colored blushing a dozen times or so I managed tp adjust to the discomfort that is law school and learned that your peers are more than an audience. At least for me, I secretly cheered for anyone called on for the day while simultaneously thinking to myself “thank goodness it’s you and not me.” Usually the things my peers know were things I had struggled to grasp, and things they struggled with were thoughts that may not even even occurred to me.
  • Throughout the year we watched each other grow and find our voices. Some people who scraped by the first semester lead the class our second semester, and others maintained a steady pace.
  • Accomplished more reading, writing and public speaking than I ever hoped to do.  At the end of this year I was so happy to complete a year that turned out to be tougher than I could have ever imagined.
  • Moot court was surprisingly a lot of fun. My teammate and I to our own surprise opted-in!

    Feeling so lucky to spend my time in law school living in the Alamo city!
  •  Learning to argue. This may seem obvious, but I actually learned how to craft an argument. One of my best friends recently graduated from law school in England and I remember having discussions with her last summer. I remember thinking to myself how logical she was about everything. She could always look at a situation and point out things I never would have thought of. And while my 1L year of education cannot be compared to her education, I would like to think I have developed some of those analytical skills and no longer allow emotions to drive my arguments.
  • Age variation. Sometimes I had to step back when I felt overwhelmed and think about all the parents who were enrolled in my same classes. People came from all walks of live. There were students hot out of undergrad, mother’s with three kids and retirees. I went home to a studio apartment to study with my boyfriend and do our best to unwind from the hectic day. But I can’t imagine the strength it took to go home to a family and provide support to them. So go all my fellow 1Ls who are much more responsible than I am!!! You all amaze me!
  • There is always room for compassion. That’s all.
  • Dating. After I graduated undergrad, the dating pool dramatically shrunk. People were no longer living in a population of potential love interests. My friends and I often commented on this challenge. But on the first day of law school, people began pairing off. Throughout the year many people’s relationship status changed as they all began to find themselves as future attorneys; some left relationships in the past, others clicked with fellow students or took the next step with their significant others.
  • New interests. After reading so many cases and taking an assortment of classes, my interests began to widen. All the sudden my apartment lease became a document of fascination, trying to decipher all the legal jargon I signed my year away to without a care.

Cons:

  • Yes people get cut! And this was weird. In fact it was the buzz the first week of school back from holiday.
    Grades are bittersweet. Strengths get stronger and weaknesses are more pronounced. I was terrified learning that my final exam would make up 100% of my grade for most classes. However, you learn to take each semester in bite-sized chunks and before you know it you are studying for the final. While it can seem overwhelming, the school gave us all the tools needed to learn the material.
  • Second semester was wayyy harder than first semester. This truly caught me off-guard. After struggling through the first semester I couldn’t imagine enduring much more pressure. But second semester hit me like an fire-hyrdrant on blast.

 

 

Challenges:

  • Juggling 7 doctrinal classes in the Spring, a 30 page brief, moot court, 2 midterms, summer applications and your sanity was “interesting” to say the least. I am not going to lie, time management may have been the most frustrating aspect for me. I learned a lot about myself and how I function happily, and law school did a good job of prohibiting me from doing just that. I no longer had the time to spend on the phone catching up with friends for 30 mins or skype the ones that live far away. I missed time visiting with my family and when I did go home I was consumed with reading or stressing about the next assignment. This often made me feel detached from my favorite people. But alongside my local friends  I met other people. I also started my blog which gave me a creative outlet I desperately needed. It forced me to get out and see more of San Antonio and spend time with people who never failed to inspire me. I felt connected to some sort of community other than the law realm.
  • Humility. You’re going to have your bad days and you’re going to have your good ones too. Triumph and enjoy the goods ones and learn from the bad ones. One thing I quickly learned was not to take anything personal and trying my hardest. Everyone fails at answering a question or completing his or her reading. Trust me there were days I gambled with my assignments for an extra couple hours of sleep.
  • Emotional cases. Reading the daily cases offered a variety of emotions: curiosity, boredom, anger, apathy, internal conflictions and compassion. I think every student found a few cases throughout the year that really boiled their blood. The cases can go from a contract breach over a cheese manufacturer to a burned toddler in a second. And there are many times you do not agree with the majority opinion. The law is not as clear as I previously thought, it’s often muddled. There were many times I thought a dissenting opinion was much better than the ruling one.
  • While you may think sacrificing your time, energy and relationships is bad enough, law school also took a little more from my eyesight than I would like to have given. My vision is nowhere near terribl but my once nearly perfect vision has morphed into blurred characters and needed glasses for everyday reading.

    But after all this, there are still moments I am  surprised I made it this far. It has been much more of a marathon than I ever prepared to partake in, but I have quickly realized my effort are worth it. But without the loving people behind me there would be no way. This summer I have been blessed to work at a local immigration firm and have continued to flex my brain muscles. I’ve met some amazing attorneys whose dedication to the profession serve as a light to the end of my law school tunnel. I hope in three years I will be working in an office with a passion for people, their cases and the law that governs all aspects of my work. I am also looking forward to joining a law journal this fall and all the many challenges ahead. If you are on the fence about law school or have any questions, I will be more than happy to try and answer them.

From a rising 2L!

 

Photography: Wayfarer Photography and Froylan Calderon

 

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A Dreamy Day with Miss Emma Faye

Sitting in a white chair, grasping an iced coffee she responded with a beaming smile, “I always would choose to be deaf. I wouldn’t be Emma without all the challenges and struggles everyday. “ Katie, Emma and I had been sitting in the quant Bird Bakery for nearly thirty minutes meeting for the first time and she felt like a friend I’d known my whole life. I had spent the past four weeks reading about Emma Faye anticipating our meeting but could never have expected how charming Miss San Antonio would be!

She sat there dressed in a white and floral maxi dress from a local Boerne boutique Ella Blu paired with clogs fit for a busy day. Her dress was the perfect transition piece from a coffee date to a photo-shoot. In the Texas heat, she not only looked amazing but stayed cool. I opted for a braided crop top and flowy white skirt from my latest trip to La Cantera. I can’t seem to make it out of my favorite outdoor mall without snagging a bag, or two, or three!

While chatting with Emma, it became clear nothing about her was surface level, through and through she was true beauty; sweeter than sugar. Over the past year, the 21 year-old had carefully created the first ever deaf music festival, Good Vibrations. The festival stemmed from her non-profit Aid the Silent. She had raised over $150k to support the event and had even implemented her detective skills to encourage companies to sponsor her event. With a couple giggles, Emma reminisced about finagling her way on a flight to a Las Vegas hotel where she knew a company’s Vice President was staying for a conference only to knock on his door and smile her way into a sponsorship, “my mom and I are crazy in the best way.”

While she makes her success look like a breeze, it was no easy journey. Growing up as a deaf child, Emma often felt isolated, frustrated and her dreams to create a non-profit for the deaf and to compete in the Miss America circuit overlooked. She commented, “no one knew me (the dream in me), they didn’t know I wanted to play music.” It wasn’t until she turned 14 that she realized it was her choice to choose joy.  After attending a Young Life retreat, people said the Emma they used to consider a blank slate now wore joy on her face. While she continued to dream of pursuing music, a deaf non-profit and the Miss American crown, she thought the reality of these were too distant to chase. Even leading up to her high school graduation, Emma planned to attend Beaumont University in Nashville to pursue a degree in Graphic Design following in her mother’s footsteps. But the week leading up to receiving her diploma proved her path would diverge. She felt called to attend UTSA and focus her energy into Aid the Silent.

At this part in her story, Emma interrupted herself inquiring what Katie’s forearm tattoo said. Katie read the handwritten ink “life’s not fair.” Emma nodded with a smile, “so true!” She segways the conversation into her first year in college when she met another deaf person for the first time. She volunteered at a homeless shelter where she had the revelation that she would spend her life serving the deaf. She immediately went home and purchased the domain for Aid the Silent. The non-profit addresses four specific areas in the deaf community: ministry, research, resources and education. Among the many services Aid the Silent provides they offer scholarships for families to obtain hearing aids the government does not provide. The organization also provides classes for people to become bilingual in American Sign Language to encourage communication with deaf loved ones. They also send children to summer camps. The entire non-profit is a rubics cube of bridging the gap between the deaf and hearing worlds.

A few years ago, Emma generated #showyouraids which was a movement to fundraise for young girls. The campaign to show off hearing aids spread across the country and eventually the world! Good Vibrations became an extension of her efforts to integrate the divided deaf and hearing communities. The event embraced the deaf as guests of honor. It welcomed everyone to experience music like never before. The event married the rhythm with visual depictions of sounds such as a light-up dance floor, pulsing LED beach balls and backpacks that vibrated with the beat. Everyone was able to roam freely and not be pushed off into the shadows typical of a hearing environment, isolated to the corner with an interpreter. Emma talked about how dreamy it was to see deaf children experience music for the first time and break out of the silence to dance.

She began to play music at 14 through the vibrations resonating off a piano. She describes the feeling of the notes dancing through her arm as her experiencing music. After learning to play the piano she then added the guitar to her repertoire of skills. When playing the piano she felt the music in her arms, but when she plays the guitar she feels it in her heart. Eventually she began to learn to sing. Instead of feeling the sound in her chest she was able to learn how to control her pitch based on the feeling she had in her head! While she joked about still asking for help to check her sound, she has the voice of an angel. To hear her singing check out “Love Hears: In the Silence.”

Finishing up our coffee we decided to begin our photo-shoot. We had the pleasure of meandering through the recently renovated Witte Museum in childlike wonder. We marveled at the Dinosaur exhibit, interacted with a multitude of technologies and twirled around the temporary whales display. The Witte gave us a chance to step away from the heat but still enjoy the sunny day in its floor to ceiling windows.

Today Emma is working as Miss San Antonio for her second time. She is the first deaf Miss San Antonio as well as the first one to have founded a true non-profit. Because of her job as a public figure, her non-profit has skyrocketed. She aims to advocate for members of the deaf community and act as a role model and lobbyist for others in a world void of deaf leaders. THIS WEEK, Emma will be traveling to Dallas to compete for the Miss Texas crown, taking a step closer to her dreams. The thing that stuck with me after my time with Emma was not just her shear kindness but that love is a language all can hear.

Thank you all for your love and support! And lets cheer our sweet Emma on this week at Miss Texas!

 

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Viva Fiesta Fashion

Medal mania, paper picado, Mariachi music, nightly fireworks,  and flower crowns, are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the South Texas Tradition of Fiesta. For 10 days, city-wide revelry embodies San Antonio. Much like Texas wildflowers, events spring up all over town celebrating years of history and culture. This year the Alamo city is celebrating its 126th Fiesta which calls for lavish fashion that rivals the floral wreaths adorning entry-ways everywhere.

To share in the festivities I have styled a few outfits as a guide to looks I would wear to any Tejano event.

Flirty in Floral

My first look was created by finding a staple blouse, something that embodied the Fiesta spirit (in my opinion) and then pairing it with my favorite pair of jeans for all-day comfort. I found this flirty piece at Hemline in the Quarry for $88. The local boutique celebrated their first anniversary this past Saturday and provide great statement pieces to shop. Once you have your outfit done, throw on some printed heels and you’re all set for anything from Fiesta to siesta. I styled my look with tassel wedges for additional pizzazz.

Puebla Peasant Dress

If you are looking for a more traditional look, bold colors and floral embroidery are a safe start. Since yellow is not usually a color I parade, I decided to give it a try for Fiesta. The loose fitting style is perfect for Oyster Bake and NIOSA (Night in Old San Antonio) where food is as abundant as appetites. This style of dress is wonderful because not only is it Fiesta approved, but they can be dressed up or dressed down depending on your personal preference. Since I take advantage of any opportunity to boost my height, I paired the look with some neutral wedges and a Huipil Market clutch for major Spring vibes.

Embroidery Essentials

The final look I crafted is ideal when have your heart set on wearing a specific piece but aren’t sure how to tie it in with the Fiesta theme. Here, I purchased this Chambray off-shoulder dress and accessorized it with a floral stitched belt. If you haven’t found quite the outfit you’d like for the celebrations, accessories can be your best friend. I added these Elaine Turner earrings to complete my look.

 

Hope these ideas help you invite a little more Fiesta into your wardrobe!

Cheers San Antonio!

 

Fiesta Event Schedule

Photography by Wayfarer Photography

White blouse, Yellow Puebla Dress, and Embroidered belt: Hemline

Chambray off-the-shoulder dress: Banana Republic

Clutch: Huipil Market

Earrings: Elaine Turner

Tassel Wedges: Cabi

 

 

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The Dienger Trading Co. (Boerne’s Best)

If you’ve ever visited the Hill Country of Texas you were undoubtedly charmed by its scenic wineries, quaint architecture and delightful restaurants. While there are many towns to wine-and-dine you, Boerne is by far a personal favorite of mine. It exudes Lone Star pride while welcoming visitors far and wide.

In the heart of this small town is The Dienger Trading Co.; a Boerne legacy reminiscent of old general stores. Not only is it a fabulous restaurant and bookstore, but a unique boutique carrying tons of local treats. It is essentially your one stop shop for all things chic and comfort. I was lucky enough to partner with The Dienger to shoot a few favorite pieces from their shop. Not only did I love the quality of the fabrics used, but the unique patterns and accessories. Each outfit offered a twist to current Spring trends: a striped shift dress, banded long-sleeves, and a cut-out everyday tee. These vibrant Spring looks are available at the store now and are some great options if you are looking for a special piece for Fiesta! And even if you are not in the shopping mood, stop by their bakery and try a quiche or coffee!

 

Photography by Wayfarer Photography

White tee and floral skirt: Synergy Clothing

Giselle purse: Mar Y Sol

Locations: West Elm and Central Market

 

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