Friday, December 26, 2014

How serving a Mission prepared me for law school.

It's Christmas break and I'm posting about Law School...
It's because I'm in one of my pensive moods. 
On the mission, I would have to explain to my companions that there were (are) some days when I'm quieter than most, and it's not because I'm angry in any kind of way, but because I escape into my thoughts. I reflect on everything and anything all at once. Think of it as intense versions of daydreams.
Today is one of those days. 

I have never enjoyed school more than I have this semester. I don't know if it's simply because I love everything about law school: love everything about what I'm learning, love the people I'm in school with, love my professors and their witty and intelligent personalities... Or if it's something else, if it's because this semester I really tried to live a balanced life. Something tells me it's a mixture of all those things. I have spent more hours in the library this semester than all of my undergrad years combined, and I've been happy to do so!

During the last months of my mission I started making a list of the things I wanted to be staples in my life this time around. On my mission we learned about "altars of sacrifice" we would ask Heavenly Father for help with certain missionary-esque things like finding new investigators, helping our investigators progress, getting people to church, etc. In order to demonstrate our willingness we would sacrifice by abstaining from certain things or putting in even more effort into the work. 

This mission practice inspired me for law school, and I thought long and hard about things that I wanted to do this semester to live a balanced life and put the Lord first. I present to you my

Law School Altar of Sacrifice Fall Semester 2014.
- Temple once a week
- Family Home Evening every Monday
- Attend Tuesday devotionals
- Institute every week
- Daily scripture study
- 100% visiting teaching
- No gossiping/backbiting
- No HW on Sunday
- No social media on Sunday (minus Pinterest & updating my blog)

This way of living combined with my love of law school made all the difference. & on top of the blessings that you would expect coming from doing these kinds of things, there were hidden blessings too. I ran into friends I hadn't seen in a while almost every time I went to the temple. Tuesdays became "Texas Houston East Tuesdays" as I watched devotionals with some of my closest Elderen friends and those I admired most from my days as a missionary. I became better friends with Ana from my law school class because of Institute. I felt like I was a missionary again every time I visit taught with my roommate Angela as my companion. & on Sundays instead of worrying about homework I had the time to visit the families of companions and have fun dinner parties with law school friends. The biggest blessing by far is that these once "goals" have now become habits. 

The last week of classes this semester I read a message by Elder Hallstrom titled "Seeking a Balanced Life." I loved it so much that I shared this passage with the members of my ward council & now with you!

"As sincere followers of Christ, we must constantly evaluate what is most important...Do we need to simplify our lives to keep all that truly matters in proper motion? How can each of us know if our life is out of balance? Well, most of us just know. We simply need to admit it and exercise the discipline to change, substituting higher values and better habits for those we have been living. We need to follow the counsel of our prophets to do it now before any further damage is caused by our lack of attention to other indispensable parts of life."

I have such a testimony that I served my mission exactly when I needed to, and I know that without it this first semester of law school would have been draining and almost unbearable. There were weeks where I didn't live up to my commitments 100% and the change was noticeable. I'm so grateful for my mission and how it continues to bless my life. It is one of the best things that has happened to me thus far. 

& now for pictures.
(I know this picture is horribly blurry, but in a way it's makes it rather endearing to me)
Contracts class with Professor Jennejohn. One of my classmates matched with him three class periods in a row. It became a standing joke, so on the last day of class some of us decided to dress up just like him. Collared shirts with pullover sweaters are his staple.
A trip to In&Out immediately after our contracts final. These people are my people!
Laura & Jacqueline wrote outlines for the first two sections of Torts during one of our study sessions. Believe me, this is only a small sliver of a portion of all we had to know.
Saturday study group sessions were a little more bearable because of the treats Laura would supply. Like these donuts from the time we took a three hour practice Contracts exam. 

Only 5 more semesters of law school to go! :)


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