Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Picking Up After the Bar Exam

Ladies and gents, I'm back.

For two months I spent morning, noon, and night studying for the Nevada bar exam. The culmination of my hard work ending in a two and a half day exam that would make a marine drill sergeant cry for his momma. Picture this: two months to memorize 18 law school subjects; day one of the exam you write five essays; day two you take a 200 question multiple choice exam; and day three you write four essays without a break. 16 hours of testing, folks. While I sarcastically call that a "party," my good friend Tyler said it was one he never wants to be invited to again. I truly hope I don't have to take it a second time either. But hey, on the bright side I just survived the Nevada state bar exam. A feat I never thought I'd be able to accomplish.

Going into preparation for the exam, all I could think was that failure would absolute crush me. It was honestly a debilitating fear. Thankfully, I had a few friends who had already taken the bar that were able to essentially slap some sense into me. They helped me to understand that freaking out and worrying would only slow down my studying. Further, if I didn't pass then it's okay because I can do it again. So many people make not passing the bar comparable to a scarlet letter on your chest. DO NOT think of it like that. It will just make it harder to focus and carry on. If I can give anyone preparing for a bar exam advice: While studying, put failure out of your mind because it will just slow you down. If you want to agonize over it, take 15 minutes once you get home to cry, scream, yell and beat up on your pillows (or stuffed animals, if you are like me). Then get back to it.

Strangely, I was pretty worried and freaked out during the two months that I was preparing. Yet, during the two and half days of testing I was able to keep myself together. It's not that I felt like I just "had it" but I knew that it was paramount for me to at least remain calm and focus during the test. Then once it was over I could go home and freak out again. A dear friend of mine told me that many people who fail do so because they couldn't keep their stuff (pretty sure she used an expletive) together. So my next advice would be to do just that: keep yourself together.

I'm pretty sure that bar exam prep and the actual test broke my brain. It has literally taken me almost a week and a half to mentally recover. Unlike many others who had to go right back to work after the test, I have been able to rest my noggin for a few weeks. Truthfully, after going to school year 'round since first year of college, not having anything at all to do has been WEIRD. I look at my dog and ask: "So, what's on the agenda today, Sasha? Judge Mathis again?" Although I'm pretty bored, it's nice to experience it for once. Thankfully, I've been able to start writing again, which means my brain has healed a little.

So, what now? Well, if all goes well I'll have a job in the next week or so. Until then, I'm going to enjoy the world of nothing to do. Oh, and playing video games. ;)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Life As A Visiting Student: Part 2

My last semester of law school was amazing.

After a lengthy and, at times, grueling process to visit away for my final semester of law school, I found myself standing in front of a brand new school with a bunch of strangers wondering where in the world I had come from. In a mere 5 months, I was practically integrated into my new school's community as if I had been there from the start. Prior to arriving in Nevada, I was convinced that the experience was going to be tough and I was going to regret leaving my dear friends back in Mississippi. I'm happy to say that my fears were quickly put to rest.

From the first day of class to the last day of finals I was surrounded by amazing fellow law students that were happy to include me in their activities and show me the ropes of desert life. (I have to especially thank Britannica for adopting me from day 1. You're the best!) Thanks to those individuals I couldn't ask for a better last semester. It was fun meeting new people practically every week and coming up with new ways of explaining how other 3Ls had never seen me before. It actually became an amusing game for Britannica and I. For a few months we were able to keep up the ruse that I was her cousin visiting from a law school in the deep south. Not ENTIRELY untrue... haha.

Throughout the fall semester many other law students asked how I was even able to visit away and that they didn't even think that was possible. Alas, it is! I highly recommend visiting away if you aren't comfortable with doing a complete transfer but want an opportunity to study away at a different law school in a city that you want to practice law. You see, it wasn't until the second semester of my 1L year that I decided I wanted to live in Nevada. I still wonder if I should have transferred to the law school here, but I'm glad that I didn't and took this route instead. I've heard horror stories of how some credits don't transfer and some students have to tack on an extra semester or year to compensate for the loss. With visiting away, you don't have to worry about that.

Every law school has different rules for visiting away.
(1) Complete a certain number of credits at your school of origin (60+)
(2) Choose a majority of courses that are not available at your school of origin
(3) Be in "Good Standing" academically
(4) Get permission from the Dean of the law school

Visiting away isn't too difficult but you do have to jump through quite a few hoops to get it done. Some law schools let you visit away for 2 semesters, others for just 1. It's important to read the visiting student rules for the origin school (where you are) and the receiving school (where you want to go). So, as you can see, it isn't always true that where you go to law school is where you have to practice law. The more students I meet and discuss this with, the more I am finding out that few people subscribe to that thought process. You have options! Explore them!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Poll: First Thing You Want to Do After Finals

Vote on your favorite after finals must do!
Courtesy of my friend's meme tumbler:

"How I Feel About My Outline AFTER A Final"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Month with the 5

The iPhone 5 was released a little over a month ago and, as always, there is plenty to say about Apple's newest edition to the smartphone family. Unfortunately, there aren't as many overwhelming qualities about the phone as I had hoped to see. Generally, the iPhone 5 is a really good phone. There are new cosmetic features that offer a nice upgrade and an improved operating system that gives it some oomph.

How iPhone 5 is different from iPhone 4s
Weight & Dimensions: 
  • Taller by .37 inches
  • Lighter by .95 grams. 
  • iPhone 5's larger retina display screen
  • LTE capabilities on iPhone 5 - faster cell network
FaceTime Camera:
  • 1.2 MP photos + 720p HD video = substantially improved
  • I've been using Facetime more often and the picture quality is clear and crisp. 
Video Recording:
  • User can take still photos while recording video
  • Face detection 
  • Redesigned apple ear pods have a better sound quality.
  • New Lightning pin instead of the original 30 pin - The new connector is far less bulky and makes for easy plug and go. If you have other apple devices it can be rather frustrating to keep up with the two different cords especially since Apple has yet to catch up on the backordered adapters. 
Talk time/Standby time:
  • Same 8 hour talk time max. 
  • LTE browsing time up to 8 hours.
  • Increased browsing time on 3G by 2 hours. 
  • Increased browsing time on Wi-Fi by 1 hour.
  • Increased stand-by time by 25 hours. 
  • iPhone 5 is supposed to have a much better battery life, however I have found that my phone runs down rather quickly compared to my iPhone 4s. If someone were telling me this I would suggest that they turn off some of those location services and their bluetooth. Sadly, I always do both of those things and still find that my battery burns away quickly. On the bright side, the 5 recharges faster than its predecessor. 
What Makes "5" Tick
Honestly, the best part of the iPhone 5 is its operating system - iOS6. Although users of the iPhone 3Gs, 4, 4s, and the iPads (1 & 2) can also download and use iOS6 fairly well, it works best with the hardware of the 5, iPad 3, and the upcoming iPad mini.
Definitely take a look at the articles I wrote about iOS6 and Passbook, one of the major additions to the Apple iOS.

The First Month
When it comes to my favorite gadgets it's rather hard for me to wait to get the device after the "kinks" have been worked out. As a tech geek the iPhone 5 was a must have from day 1. So you can imagine how frustrating it was that I had to wait 2 weeks after the phone launched to get mine thanks to the ridiculous back order.
The initial issues I discovered when first receiving my phone were:
  1. Something was rattling on the inside of my phone.
  2. There was frequently a blurry line across the middle of the screen. 
  3. Passbook wasn't working
Thankfully these were all easy fixes. I first took care of the Passbook issue which I explain in my earlier Passbook article. Next I got an appointment at the Apple Store with the Genius Bar. I must say that was actually really easy to do. Download the Apple Store app, it comes in handy. I was able to select which Apple Store I wanted to go to, the date and time for my appointment, and provide a short explanation of the issue. I showed up, checked-in, and was helped almost immediately. When the genius bar guy asked me for details about the issue with my phone all I had to do was hand it to him and tell him to move the phone around a little. Apparently a loose phone battery was common. So my phone was taken to the back and brought back to me in 10 minutes rattle free. So, all that was left was the annoying blurry line. Well, that wasn't fixed until a week ago with an iOS6 update from Apple. 

Now, there is little I can truly complain about with my phone. Passbook is still shaky and will take some time for Apple and third-party vendors to work out the kinks. The battery is questionable so I have to toggle my location services and bluetooth on and off in order to get the most out of it.

All-in-all: the 5 is light, visually improved, and an all-around great phone. Apple always drops a good product and works out the bugs along the way. I'd love to hear how you feel about your 5 or answer questions you may have about the phone - leave comments below!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Amusing Quotes from Gamer Friends

"I miss the days when we had old school controllers with just 4 buttons and arrows." - Elenis, 3L Law Student

Monday, October 8, 2012

Survival Football Challenge: Winner!

I have never been a sports buff or football junkie. Heck, I couldn't even tell you the meaning of a first down. Despite all that I decided to sign up for a survival football challenge hosted by the Sports & Entertainment Law Association (SELA) at my visiting law school. [A recap for anyone new to my blog: I am currently "visiting away" to another law school for my third year.] In a survival football challenge, each week the participant must pick a team that he/she thinks will win their game and hope that the team pulls through. If the participant chooses correctly that week then they repeat the process the next week. For each week you "survive" the team you won with cannot be used again.

Since I know little to nothing about football, I resorted to checking with Siri and the "ScoreMobile" application to learn about team stats in order to make my best guess. A few of my friends were also pretty helpful in telling me which teams I should hold on to for later games and which ones were pretty safe to use right away. The whole process each week was surprising scary. I was fairly certain that I would be one of the first participants to go. Surprisingly, I won. Crazy, right? That's what I thought when I checked the scores this morning.

Now, I know you are wondering how many people I actually had to beat out. There were at least 20 people signed up for the challenge. By week 3 they were dropping like flies. Granted, a few were dropped because they didn't play and several lost in week 2 thanks to the New England Patriots losing to Arizona. By week 4, it was myself and one other going head-to-head. Nevertheless, here I stand, the 2012 SELA Survival Football Challenge Winner. Hooray! What is my prize? Bragging rights and two tickets to a Wrangler's game (hockey). I mostly enjoy the fact that I still won even though I knew nothing about football. Thanks to participating in the challenge I understand football more and even thinking about getting into someone's Fantasy Football League next year. Well, perhaps that's a little ambitious.

Curious about what my team picks were? Take a look:

*The Packers v. Saints game made me the most nervous. I was proud of Nola for holding their own so well in that game.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Understanding Passbook

Like many others, I eagerly downloaded iOS 6 ready to play with all of the new, fun toys. One goodie I was looking forward to was Passbook. This application was created to hold all of your e-tickets, coupons, movie passes, and electronic cards in one place. Awesome, right? Well, the first hurdle I had to cross was getting Passbook to connect to the App Store. When you first open the Passbook application, you see an introductory page and a button on the bottom that says "App Store". When you try to click it you will most likely get a message saying: Cannot connect to iTunes Store.

Well darn. What now? No amount of turning your phone on and off will fix this. Here's what you do:

  1. Go into you iPhone settings
  2. Then to General
  3. Select Date and Time
  4. Turn Set Automatically to Off. 
  5. Select Set Date & Time and change the date to one year ahead. 
  6. Access Passbook again. Select "App Store" and it should work properly. Once you do this you can go back to Date and Time and change it back to automatic.
Hooray! Now let's get some apps that work with Passbook. So far, these are the apps available:

My misunderstanding with Passbook was that you would no longer have to keep the host applications on your iPhone once you moved everything to Passbook. Wrong. Take Sephora for example, which has Passbook support. Sephora provides a customer rewards card called a 'Beauty Insider Card'. With it you can store points to redeem at a later time online or in-store. Sephora was pretty straight forward regarding adding the Beauty Insider card. At the top of the home screen of the app was a link to follow in order to add the card to Passbook. 

I also added the new Target app which allows you to add daily digital coupons to your Passbook. To do so, simply sign into your account on the app, go to My Target, and then click Mobile Coupons
After playing around with Passbook for a while, you'll find that it isn't quite as complicated as it started out being. It definitely needs a lot of work but it will be a great app once the bugs are worked out. 

Leave a comment about your Passbook triumphs and tribulations. Good luck!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Are you ready for iOS 6?

[Updated 9/20/12]
Today Apple is launching its newest mobile operating system: iOS 6. I'm sure it's no coincidence that this release is coming a mere two days before the iPhone 5 drops. Yes, I already ordered one. My tech obsession wouldn't let me refuse. Apple is the king at finding ways to appease its fan base and draw in new apple fanatics. With this newest iOS, Apple is giving us several fun goodies. Altogether there are over 200 new items in the update. Has anyone else noticed that it's always 200 or more updates/changes? I digress. One of the most anticipated additions to the Apple iOS is Passbook, which acts as an e-ticket application. With it you can carry electronic tickets for travel, sporting events, or even digital loyalty cards. Even more exciting is the fact that the tickets also update. Instead of having separate applications for Starbucks, Target, United Airlines, etc., you can hold all of them on your passbook for easy access. Correction: You still need to download the separate apps that support Passbook. After that you can add the coupons, e-tickets, movie tickets, and digital cards to your Passbook. Oddly, the iPhone App Store does not have a dedicated button for Passbook apps. Make sure to download all of the apps you want at the time you are able to view the apps available for Passbook.

More goodies to be excited about:
Smart reminders: For example you can reject a phone call with a message saying your in a meeting with the Hulk. It also lets you set a reminder to return a phone call once you leave your current location.

Do Not Disturb Mode: If you are in an epic meeting with Iron Man and Captain America you probably don't want your phone going off. This mode sets your phone to receive new messages silently and your phone's screen will not light up. You can also set your iPhone to still receive calls from your favorite callers or automatically silence repeat calls from the same individual.

Facetime minus wi-fi: One word: FINALLY. You can now Facetime over 3g/4g.

Integrated Facebook: The last iOS update gave you integrated Twitter. iOS 6 provides integrated Facebook. Definitely a long time coming. You can directly post photos, update your status from the notification center, and sync your contact list with each person's corresponding Facebook.

Improved Siri: Perhaps now there won't be anymore additions to WhySiriWhy.com.

Better Map System: Out with the Google, in with the Apple. The new map system just might get you to your destination with a lot less confusion.
  • Fast loading
  • Turn-by-turn navigation
  • Business card information for each location
  • Siri integration
[Update: Why you may want Google maps back.]

If this isn't enough to convince you that the new, FREE iOS is, for lack of a better word, SICK then be rest assured that the hundreds of other additions will excite you. 
Download iOS 6 TODAY for your iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2, the new iPad, and 4th generation iPod touch. Or you can just be that guy who will have the new iPhone 5 on Friday with iOS 6 already installed. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Upcoming Video Game Releases You Should Care About

September 18
Borderlands 2 
When Borderlands first burst onto the scene in 2009, it was a hit with RPGers who enjoyed a first-person shooter edge to their gameplay. It also gave FPS players a chance to delve into the RPG world while still looking cool. Although I stumbled upon the game a little late, I quickly fell in love with the art style, character development, and group mechanics. It also gave me a chance to play an RPG with others without having to clock 20+ hours a week with a guild.
Borderlands takes place in the delightful planet of Pandora. Players can pick from four different classes called fortune hunters that have varying styles of combat and skills as well as individual back stories. The fortune hunters are Lilith the Siren (my personal favorite), Moredecai the Hunter, Roland the Soldier, and Brick the Beserker. Their differing fight styles plays on the emphasis on co-operative gameplay in Borderlands. However, if you prefer to go it alone that is quite alright as well.

In Borderlands 2, the cast changes and the original Borderlands characters make appearances as supporting characters. Your new fortune hunters will be Maya the Siren (who will be my new favorite),  Axton the Commando, Salvador the Gunzerker, and Zer0 the Assassin. In the new game, the story picks up 5 years after the events of Borderlands and still occurs on the planet of Pandora. Borderlands 2 is said to have more emphasis on the main characters and their development, the same art design only better, more weapons, more in-depth gameplay, and a larger overall map to explore. I'm definitely looking forward to the release and will be in line at the midnight release eager to get my copy.

October 2
Resident Evil 6 

Go reserve this game at your local GameStop. Now. Seriously. Right now.
Resident Evil 6 is one of the most anticipated game releases this year. Practically everyone I have spoken to, regardless of the type of gamer, is going coo coo for cocoa puffs over this game. Whether you are a diehard Resident Evil fan or just started with Resident Evil 5 (like me), this game will definitely be worth the money and time. Besides, who doesn't like blowing away zombies and taking down an evil organization? Thanks to the Resident Evil game and movie franchise, there are few people who do not know the story of the Umbrella Corporation and the few individuals fighting against it, their creations, and the zombies running rampant. Well in this new installment of Resident Evil, favorites Leon and Chris come together for the first time, along with some new characters, to fight an unprecedented threat. The creators are also giving gamers some exciting new multiplayer modes.

  • Survivor Mode: Players combat zombies and once slain reappear as zombies fighting until the last 'man' is left standing. 
  • Predator Mode: Player takes on the role of a 'Ustanak' which is a gigantic monster who is out to kill other players. The other players in this mode combat the giant and must survive until the session is completed. 
  • Siege Mode: One group of players act as security for a single NPC while the opposing players (zombies) are given the same NPC as the target. 
I haven't participated in online gameplay of this sort since my Halo days so I'm looking forward to it. GameStop is offering a midnight release for this game as well. Gamers can reserve this title on its own or grab the Resident Evil Anthology. Being fairly new to the Resident Evil game franchise, I went with the anthology so I can have all 6 games.