The power of a sticky note

Photo by Ashley Golledge

I love a good sticky note. The power of a sticky note exists in the way you choose to use it. A note’s use ranges from a task list to a reminder of why you are in law school to begin with. A sticky note can be the little smile you need at the end of a long reading, or the grocery list that keeps your mind and body fueled.

As a law student, I find sticky notes provide more than just a visual cue for remaining tasks or a house for lists — sticky notes are my motivators. I have a few sticky notes that get me through my 1L workload:

A pink sticky note says, “Done with Torts today!”

“Done with X for today!”

Admittedly, this is probably my favorite sticky note. I put one of these in each of my casebooks and move it to mark the last page of the day’s reading assignment. The note allows me to focus on the material, rather than the number of pages I have left in my reading. I know as soon as I have reached this sticky note that I have finished the reading for that class. I can then move onto the next reading or wrap up my work for the day. It is the little things that get you through hundreds (often thousands) of pages of reading in a semester.

A purple sticky note says, “How do you eat an elephant?”

“How do you eat an elephant?”

I promise I am not eating elephants in my leisure time, but if I were, I would do it one bite at a time. Law school can sometimes feel as if you are drinking water from a fire hydrant. Try breaking up larger assignments and readings into smaller, manageable pieces. Doing so will greatly improve the quality of your work and your mental health. If you think of every assignment, milestone, and activity in law school as a bite, you want to make sure you don’t get too full the first time you sit down. This note reminds me to slow down, pace myself, and plan ahead. Trust me, you’ll need to remind yourself at some point too.

A purple sticky note says, “Squeeze the juice!”

“Squeeze the juice!”

Squeeze the juice? You might ask what this means or what it has to do with sticky notes. You probably have your own version of this saying such as “seize the day” or “if life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” I feel that squeezing the juice is a bit more powerful than just making lemonade. Waking up every day in the middle of a global pandemic to an exhaustive reading list, pending writing assignments, and various extracurriculars can challenge even the most well-adjusted student. I never want to lose sight of the joy I find in being a law student in all the noise. When I see this sticky note, I am reminded to fill a moment with gratitude before squeezing the juice out of my next task.

We are all trying to find little reminders to hold meaning in our lives during this time. Sticky notes are my own little reminders to seek joy, feel gratitude and plan ahead. I hope you find some words worth putting on your own sticky note — may they bring you a smile and inspire you to squeeze some juice.

— By Savannah Lucas, a 1L from Leavenworth and a KU Law Student Ambassador.