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October 28, 2020

Dean's Fellow Digest Issue #19 - Taking a Meaningful Break from Law School

Issue: 2020-10-28

Dean's Fellows consistently strive to support students in realizing their full academic potential, leading ultimately to success on the bar exam and in the workplace. To support all Southwestern students in this goal, the Dean's Fellows created this Digest as a way to check-in at critical times throughout the semester with helpful tips, strategies, and encouragement. 


  • Taking a Meaningful Break from Law School

Taking a Meaningful Break from Law School
By: Abraham Bran*  

Here in the Dean’s Fellow program, we talk a lot about structure and the need to keep an organized schedule to stay up-to-date with assignments. However, I think it is also important to discuss with you a practice I implement that allows me to stay motivated during tough times: having something fun to look forward to.                                                                                                                                   

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Traveling in Cuba

I love to travel. For example, a (fairly) recent trip with my close high school friends provided me with some needed pockets of time away from law school. Since starting at Southwestern, I have had the opportunity to take mini-vacations to Carmel by the Sea, Las Vegas, San Diego, Palm Springs, Boston, Joshua Tree, and I even spent my 1L Spring Break in Cuba.

For you, it might not be travel. It might be going to concerts (when we can once again!), attending basketball games, going fishing, spending meaningful quality time with your family, or reading a good fiction book. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, make time for it. Find time in your semester where you can write into your planner: This is my weekend.

Having these events in my calendar not only motivated me to try harder and keep going but also provided very necessary breaks in the academic year—dissecting the semester into smaller, more digestible chunks.

Now, I can probably guess what you’re thinking: “Abe, I have so much reading to do, how am I going to dedicate an entire weekend to myself?” To that, I would respond with planning and hard work.

Being able to take time off and meaningfully dive into something you enjoy requires a lot of planning. It might be that you take fewer breaks between activities throughout the weeks leading up to your event. For example, take a moment with your syllabi and strategically figure out when your reading won’t be so bad, and then read ahead.

This sounds like a lot of work, and trust me, it is. But if you commit yourself this way, you will be able to go on your vacation, go to your concert, or read your book without the lingering guilt of neglecting your schoolwork. You will be able to actually enjoy yourself and allow yourself to be refreshed and replenished for when you return to your law school reality.

Image - Abe and Friends

**I would like to dedicate this article to my friends Jesseka, Rachel, and Amara who stuck by me as I went through this law school journey and always made time to get away with me.

*About the Author:


Image - Abraham Bran

Abraham (Abe) Bran is a Traditional Day 3L student. He is concentrating in civil litigation and advocacy and public interest law at Southwestern and hopes to pursue a legal career in civil and appellate litigation focusing on human rights. Abe is pursuing an MBA/JD dual degree with the Drucker School of Management. In Summer 2020, Abe was a legal clerk at Cron, Stark & Israels, a research assistant for Professor Jonathan Miller, and a volunteer with Al Otro Lado. 

In addition to being a Dean’s Fellow, Abe is the Student Bar Association President, Co-President of the Latino Law Students Association, Co-President of the Environmental Law Society, and the Special Projects Editor for the Law Review. He is also a Teaching Assistant in Constitutional Law, Criminal Law,  Environmental Law, Torts, and is a former Contracts Teaching Assistant. In the Fall, he will participate in the Ninth Circuit Appellate Litigation Clinic and has earned a Mexican American Bar Foundation Scholarship. 

Southwestern Law School Dean's Fellows | Scheduling and Booking Website

Dean’s Fellows are upper-division students with strong academic skills who go through a rigorous application and training process. They are an integral part of the Academic Success and Bar Preparation Department. They are carefully selected based on their academic excellence and ability to teach other students best-practice study methods that will help them become acclimated to the study of law. Dean’s Fellows meet with students as academic mentors.

Please click HERE to make an appointment with a Dean's Fellow.