I haven’t written here since December 2014. That’s a long time to go without an update, I know. Who would have thought that the first year in law school would be so…busy? Okay, I did. Everyone told me it would be.
And then it began.
August – December
Contracts I, Crim Law, Legal Writing (yes, three classes because I’m part-time. I’m not that crazy). I joined everything. Tried to do everything. I ended up doing just what I needed. Different SBA orgs, study hours. It was enough for me.
Goals. I set lots of goals. I didn’t quite meet them all. Here’s the thing about law school: It’s not your average ballgame. It doesn’t matter if you were queen bee at your old school. It won’t matter if you were the big man on campus, top of the class, president of every club, etc. If you work, it won’t matter that you were the go to person for your department. It won’t matter because EVERYONE is a gunner, a go-getter. Everyone is fiercely competitive. Here’s the biggest thing: Everyone can’t get an A. Remember in high school or elementary school where everyone who had the grade can get an A?
Not in law school! In my 1L year I learned that there can only be a certain number of A grades. That number varies by class but one thing is constant: You better have the top of the top grade and great in-class contribution to secure that A-spot. It’s because we are graded on a curve and the grades will fall along that curve. It’s not uncommon for a B+ to jump to an A or even down to a B. So we gun. We compete. We go to office hours, TA hours, make study groups…we fight (academically of course!).
Did you know that the only grade you get for the semester is from your final exam? Thought you’d get a push because of perfect attendance? Ha! Even the midterms (if there are any) are ungraded. That’s another thing. Midterms are like a mini-final. It has all the stress of a final, it’s taken like a final, and you will get the same feedback from professors as a final. You just won’t get a grade.
And that’s IF you get a midterm. Back to finals.
It’s hell week all over again. For the last month every student, at least us 1Ls are taking up every corner of the library. Study rooms become prime real estate and you hear this word “outlines” being thrown around. To the average person, “outline” probably just means a skeleton of notes. To the law student, outlines are gold. No. They are diamond encrusted gold. A good outline (that you actually worked on for yourself) is what gets you closer to that coveted A.
And then it’s over. First semester ends. Enter Freedom. Not complete freedom of course. That’d be too easy. Remember, classes begin again in just a few weeks and it all begins again.
January – May
Second semester. For me this meant Contracts II, Torts and Legal Writing II. For me this meant spending my entire break wondering if I made it over the threshold GPA requirement for Contracts and then for the school. I did…but I wasn’t satisfied. When it comes to my grades I’m never satisfied.
Second semester was much like the first with the added bonus of mandatory LAWS rounds. Yes that yearlong writing requirement? Not only does it include 15 page briefs, but it also includes a weekend mandatory public speaking! I can’t lie though. I thoroughly enjoyed that part. I’m in the Trial Advocacy track and this was my chance to do something I love: public speaking. It was great. It was wonderful and I decided to continue subjecting myself to the extra pressure and participate in the Intramural competitions. GUESS WHAT?! I made it to the Semi-Finals! I still think if I had just did my prosecution argument in that round I had a chance at the Finals. I did well though!
But the work didn’t end. We still had our doctrinal classes. Once our final brief was submitted, it was just a matter of topping off our other classes. That fateful day came in May. I walked into my Torts final. The skies were grey. I walked out. They were greyer. It was a sign. I would spend the next several weeks obsessively checking my student portal for my Spring grades and rank while also trying to conquer this summer class. Yup!! Who needs a summer break? Not this girl.
Did I mention I started volunteering with a legal service in February? Because THIS girl is a mental masochist. The point is I survived.
I survived 1L and I’m ready to do it all over again.
Here’s to us law students and our futures.