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Law Students: Law School Survivor
Thoughts at the end of the 1L year
By Tyler Larsen
As my 1L year winds up, I figured I would post some thoughts and "brain droppings" (from George Carlin) I had.
Second Semester compared to first: Wow, what a difference. This second semester has been a lot different than the first. One of the biggest differences is that we had a dead week before finals. I let this fact make me complacent through the semester, and I suggest no one else do that. I didn't do as many outlines throughout the semester as I should have, nor did I keep myself as prepared. I guess we will see how that comes out in grades, but I feel the difference mentally. Another difference was the second round of exams. The first semester was in no way a preparation for the second, and served only to prove that each semester is a new experience with exams. I found that the preparation for first semester exams was different than the the type of prep needed for second since there are new professors, new exam formats and in some cases waaaayyyyy more information covered.
Multiple choice exams: This semester we experienced our first Law School multiple choice exam, and boy were we all at least a bit surprised. During our study sessions, my group said things like "he wont ask that" and "wouldn't it be funny to see...on the exam." And as it turns out, the things we didn't expect to see were there, and the "funny" things were there too. It was an odd thing for which to prepare. My best advice here is to not under prepare (although I have no idea how to do that). It is true that the answers to a multiple choice exam are on the page, but good luck finding them.
Finals preparations: Preparing for finals this year was a big thing for me. I was weighed down by a lot more stress and found myself getting burned out faster and faster as the days streamed by faster and faster. In some ways I think I am preparing better than I did last semester, and in some ways it feels worse. I guess I wont know for sure until the grades come out. I am prepping a lot more with a study group this semester, and my thanks and appreciation go out to them. I studied alone more often last semester, and I have discovered that I like this group plan much more. Even on the days we sat around in mostly silence doing our outlines and such, it was much better than wallowing away alone, and I was able to be supremely more productive.
Stress: Stress definitely ratchets up during the second semester. Our school adds another class to the mix, there are summer plans to be made, interviews to go through, law review invites, second year classes to choose, and anything in your personal life (what little there is) that needs attention. My best advice is to quickly learn to deal with the stress. A friend once said, if you think this stress disappears after law school, you are sadly mistaken, it only continues and usually increases. So I can only say learn to deal with it now. It's tough, but manageable. The best thing I can tell you to do is learn to laugh. Sometimes, that is all you have.
Summer goings-on: I don't think anyone has the same summer plans as anyone else. Some folks are working on classes for a joint degree, some people are doing summer abroad programs, some are just working, and some are just taking the summer to relax. Figure out what is going to work best for you. I'm going to be working all summer, and I feel so happy that I don't have to worry about classes at all. After this second semester, there is no way that I want to deal with any classes until August. Make the most of the summer though, whatever you decide to do. And don't let anyone else's plans make you feel like yours are bad or inadequate or that you are wasting your summer.
That's all I have for now. I have one more final to prep for, and I just can't wait to get done with that. I plan to sleep for a month or so just to catch up.
Till next time....
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