A Day In The Life

I’ve gotten several requests to discuss my day-to-day schedule, and this week I decided it’s time! On Monday, I started writing about A Day In The Life Of An Average Harvard Law Student – based on my real Monday schedule. I even took a few pictures to show off the classroom environment! And then, less than 24 hours later…Harvard decided to cancel on-campus classes and go completely virtual.

That, my friends, is what we call “irony.” (For more information on the current state of affairs, check out my next post: https://rileyv.com/index.php/2020/03/19/a-day-in-the-life-pt-ii/)

As you might expect, this is a pretty confusing time for the entire campus (to read more about how the students feel, check this out: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/10/harvard-gives-students-5-days-to-evacuate-dorms-over-coronavirus-fears.html) I don’t know exactly how my schedule will look in the coming weeks, but I still want to show off what it’s USUALLY like! And as I said, each day looks different depending on my class schedule; Tuesday is stacked, Thursday is empty, and Monday is a decent middle ground. So Monday it is – here we go!

MARCH 9, 2020

5:50 am Ben’s alarm goes off & the day begins. The 5:50 wake-up is based on Ben’s schedule, but once I’m up – I’m up. However, I’d be lying if I said I got up immediately….I usually hang out for another ten minutes, envisioning the day in my head and making a mental to-do list. On tough days, I use those ten minutes to list the things I’m grateful for!

6:05 Draggggg myself to the shower and crank a great podcast – usually My Favorite Murder.

6:20 Get my coffee brewing (good ole Trader Joe’s dark roast with vanilla creamer) and blow dry my hair. Once it’s dry, I usually throw it in a ponytail; if I’ve got a little extra time, I might style it more. Then I sit down to coffee and hockey highlights before Ben heads off to work.

6:40 Make-up time! (When I laid everything out for this photo, I realized just how much it takes to make me look human 😂)

6:50 Finish my coffee & check the bus schedule on mbta.com. My first class doesn’t start until 8:10, but I like to catch the 7:09 or 7:12 bus. The school is always empty in the morning, and I enjoy having time to settle in & start some work.

7:00 Ben leaves, I try five different outfits. Why? No idea. It’s a total waste of time. But the weather looks nice so I end up in jeans, flats, t-shirt, cardigan & leopard earrings.

7:08 Grab my bag (complete w/textbooks, notebooks, computer and water bottle) and walk to the bus stop. It’s right across the street from my apartment and today is BEAUTIFUL timing – I only wait for a minute or two before #78 rounds the corner!

7:10 It’s about a ten minute bus ride, and I usually get a seat in the morning; I also use the time to work on a blog post or finish an instagram post if I’ve got one in the works. Then, it’s a three-minute walk from the bus stop to Wasserstein Hall, right along Massachusetts Avenue.

7:22 Yes, I AM 100 years old and have a favorite morning chair – if anyone is ever in my spot, I get quite perturbed. Today, I skim the cases we’ll discuss in my first class, then open an application which is due on Wednesday.

8:05 Head to my first class, Criminal Law. I prepped these readings on Sunday, and have my written notes and textbook for class. We aren’t allowed computers in here, so my class notes are also hand-written!

9:10 We usually take a 5-minute break around the halfway point of class – it’s necessary. Two hours is a LONG time. And it’s just class #1…

10:11 We ALWAYS get out of Crim one minute late. My second class starts immediately so I have to roll on upstairs, put my things down, run to the bathroom and fill my water bottle. The nine minute break is always barely enough time!

10:20 Constitutional Law begins – this class is an hour and twenty minutes long. It’s not Wednesday so I can volunteer to speak in this class, but won’t be cold-called. And luckily we ARE allowed laptops in Con Law, so I take notes on Google Docs.

11:15 Another quick, 5-minute break. My Con Law professor doesn’t let us leave during the class so ALL eighty of us run to the bathroom/get coffee/eat a snack/mentally recover. Then we get right back to it.

11:45 Class ends. My last class isn’t until 3:20, but I usually stick around campus instead of heading home. Unfortunately, it’s not three hours of down time! On this particular Monday I have a lot to do, so I skip lunch talks and walk to my favorite cafe in Harvard Square.

*Note – I only eat out for lunch once a week, max. Saving = homemade coffee and leftovers at home & lunch talks 💃

12:00 I settle into a counter spot at Tatte to do the following:

  1. Work on my application
  2. Re-skim the material/my notes for my afternoon class (which I read on Saturday)
  3. Start to read and take notes for Wednesday’s Torts class*

*I’m reading for Wednesday,’s class, not Tuesday, because I usually prep my Tuesday classes on Sunday. I’ve found that using the weekend to read for my Monday and Tuesday classes, and then skimming the material again before class, is the way to go – Tuesday is SO full that I can only prep for one new class on Tuesday itself. It sounds confusing as heck, but basically I end up ‘flush’ by the end of each week!*

1:45 Pack up my things and head back to the law school campus for Office Hours with my Criminal Law professor. Office Hours are a way to ask questions outside of class, one-on-one with a professor, and I scheduled a fifteen-minute slot to clarify a few concepts.

2:15 Wrap up my meeting and head back to Wasserstein Hall – for the last hour before my third class, I finish my reading for Torts and get working on a memo for my research and writing class.

Wasserstein Hall (not sure why there were balloons? But they were a morale-booster!)

3:20 My third and final class of the day starts, Comparative Legal Institutions. This one is an hour and a half, with no break – it’s also compromised of 1L, 2L, 3L and LLM students, and is a solid mix of cold-calling and volunteers. Computers are allowed!

4:50 FREEDOM!!!!! I walk five minutes to the bus, and wait another five or ten minutes for #78 to show up. This bus is always very crowded, standing room only! And the trip usually takes fifteen minutes instead of ten, because the traffic is prime time at 5 pm.

5:20 Get home, immediately change into sweats (duh) and start dinner if we don’t have leftovers – tonight is Sloppy Joe’s. Ben is already home but has schoolwork too, so we make them quickly and throw the mess into the crockpot. He goes back to studying and I get my yoga stuff together.

5:50 Take Ben’s car and head to Corepower – I’m always a little crunched for time, but it works out! The yoga studio is very close, so I only need a few minutes of transit.

6:00 CorePower Yoga 2 at Fresh Pond, let’s go! Hot yoga is more than a workout – it’s a school-free meditation zone. No matter how much I have going on, or how stressed I am, yoga always helps.

7:10 Head on home, straight for the shower and DINNER.

7:30 Housekeeping! This is where I a) clean up for the day and b) prep my things for the following morning. Wipe down the bathroom and put everything away, fold/hang my clothes and start laundry, clean up after the sloppy joes, etc. I’ll also take my Monday stuff out of my bag and replace it with my Tuesday books – basically the same materials, with some swapping of reading packets and an additional folder for my fourth Tuesday class.

8:00 Settle back onto the couch with Ben; he sits and watches YouTube videos (or The Office) while I mess around on my computer. This is when I do “non-intensive” work – today was completing that application, and doing a little work on the blog. Other days, it’ll be working on essays. But not studying – at this point, my brain is shot!

9:15 Around this time, we’ll start getting ready for bed. On my end, that’s a three-step process – wash my face (Ben makes fun of my “old lady” face lotion), brush and floss my teeth, and take out my contacts. Then finally – FINALLY – hop in bed.

9:30 Fun Reading Time!! Apart from yoga, this is my favorite de-stressing tool. These are the last three books I read (I LOVED Educated, appreciated & struggled with So You Want To Talk About Race, and didn’t care for The Rules Do Not Apply) Right now I’m reading an oldie called How to Win Friends & Influence People, which has been great!

10:00 pm This isn’t a hard and fast time, but this is approximately the ‘lights out’ point each night. I’m definitely more of a morning person than a night owl, and am EXHAUSTED by 10! After making sure Ben has his alarm set, we go to sleep and prepare to do it all over again.