First and foremost, happy new year! This is my first post in 2019 and I’m so excited for what’s to come this year!
Now that the holidays are over and I’ve had time for R&R, I wanted to take some time to reflect on my first semester of law school. If I had to sum up the semester in one word it would be stressful. It’s been SO refreshing to give my mind a break after having six classes! This semester I had Contracts I (M/W), Torts I (M/W), Property I (T/Th), Civil Procedure I (W/F), Legal Research & Writing (T/Th), and Intro to Analytical Skills (M).
I can honestly say that these past five months have literally been the most challenging five months of my life. I’ve had to:
Endure the loss of my grandfather.
On the first day of class. Nothing will ever compare to how hard this was and still is for me. But it continues to teach me just how strong I am, and motivates to do well and make him proud every day.
Learn how to learn.
Yes, I’ve had to learn how to learn, but like a law student. Which involves massive amounts of reading cases, synthesizing rules of law, writing and citing using the BlueBook, issue spotting in fact patterns, knowing rules, sub-rules, sub-sub rules, exceptions to those rules, and so on… It’s a lot, and I’m still learning how to grasp all of the information.
Learn how to study.
Like most law students, we’ve never really had to study in the past. We’ve only had to memorize information, not apply it. So, this is something I can guarantee most people are struggling with. That’s why people form study groups — to pick each other’s brains and see how others are studying. There’s no way around it, you have to study in law school.
Realize how terrible I am at time-management.
It’s all a balancing act and it’s tough. I recently realized that if I treat school like a job, I should be able to perfect my work-life balance. Spend two hours studying for every hour that I’m in class, which is about 40 hours per week of class time and studying combined. If you break it down this way and stick to it, there is still time to have a life and do things that you enjoy.
Remind myself to mind my business.
I have no problem with this, but in such a new environment you will naturally want to compare yourself to others. DON’T do it. Worrying about other people and whether they’ve started an assignment is not going to benefit you. Some people will even lie to you so that they can get ahead. Be in competition with yourself and always do your best.
Figure out how to deal with stress.
I’ve realized that I nap so much because that is my way of coping with stress. I don’t think that’s the most effective nor productive way to deal, so I’ve had to explore other options. So far, I’ve found that I enjoy getting my nails done and going to the gym.
Yet, throughout it all I survived. And I’ve learned a lot about myself along the way. To everyone thinking about attending law school, those currently in law school, and practicing attorneys, stay encouraged! You’re doing amazing sweetie.