Shirlene is back to share more about her 1L law school experience. In her last post, she shared about her law school orientation and today she is sharing about her first full week of classes.
Orientation week came and went in a flash which only means that classes are just about to begin. My schedule seems pretty typical for most 1Ls: Legal Research and Writing, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Torts, and Constitutional Law. There are some classes I am looking forward to and others that I am going to have to work hard to fully comprehend. I feel like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, ready for law school but what if I get called on in class and I do not have the answers? The best I can do is prepare for class and study hard.
I am not kidding when I say that I studied all weekend. There are a lot of reading assignments for my coming week and I am the type of student to prepare for class during the weekend. Case reading assignments are no joke, they take much longer to synthesize the material. It is safe to say I am tired and already ready for the weekend. Five days of class, five days of commuting, five days of law, but five days closer to my dream.
Today is definitely a Monday. I am tired and ready to go home. I was up late last night and then early this morning in order to prepare for classes today. Overall, I am very nervous for this day to come. I was able to secure a locker that I found out you get to keep as long as you are a student. Despite the day being a stressful/anxious first day, I was feeling pretty good at the beginning.
Legal Research and Writing
I feel comfortable with this class. Since we had three, three-hour classes during orientation, this almost feels like my ‘law school homeroom’, we are all pretty comfortable with one another. We jumped right back into things and discussed our next big project: a non-research memo. This is a document that typically between a senior partner and associate lawyers to discuss the state of the law in regards to a potential case.
Initially, I was thrilled for this class because I enjoy civil law and plan on going into litigation. It is not to say that I am no longer excited for this class, far from it, more like I am terrified of the class and worried about the cold calls. We first went over an introduction to civil procedure, attempting to get at what it really is. In this conversation, we talked about litigation, the federal court system, and our state’s court system. My anxiety had only increased by the end of the class; I was worried about whether or not I would be successful.
I am going to preface this section by stating that I am not that interested in business or corporate law. I have full respect for people who want to go into the business sphere of law, but that is just not what fancies me. The professor did not blatantly explain what it was. Instead, he utilized a series of hypotheticals in order to create a discussion. I was following along for the most part, but the hypotheticals got more and more circular, so it was a bit difficult to understand the main point he was trying to make. Thus, I left the class a little confused, a little frustrated, and a lot overwhelmed.
After my long day of classes, I was really intimidated. Throughout your first year, you hear about how you need to be in the top 10%, that you probably will not get an A unless you really know your stuff, how you will get cold called in class, and just that law school is difficult. I had a (very mini) breakdown and questioned my decision of going through all this hardship. Fortunately, I have a very supportive boyfriend who encouraged me to keep going even if it is tough. My advice is to just prioritize and do not get bogged down by the grand scheme of everything. Focus on studying and preparing for the exam and less on worrying about your potential success.
Today was an excellent day. I put yesterday behind me and made a good faith effort to make today a better day. Thus, a better mood yielding a great, engaging day of class. It also helped that I had two classes that I was looking forward to: Torts and Constitutional Law.
What is a tort anyway? Well, prior to law school I had extensive practice with torts in undergraduate law classes. Thus, I knew what torts were coming into the class. Not only that, I really enjoy torts. I like civil law and I plan on going into litigation, thus tort suits are the natural option for my future profession. We went over the Vosburg v. Putney case that dealt with the intentional tort of battery. The professor is very straightforward in the way he teaches, utilizing a lot of hypotheticals to attempt to get us to make a certain point. I feel like I will like the class regardless of all the work and thought that will go into the class.
After we got an introduction from the professor and had a description of constitutional law is, we discussed the basis of the American government, republicanism. I am actually pretty excited for class. I have always enjoyed government and history courses, so constitutional law is similar to the government/public policy aspect of law. I also have Political Science background, since I have my bachelor’s degree in this field. I am anxiously anticipating this class and cannot wait to apply my prior knowledge towards the incoming cases.
My classes were the same as Monday, so this was my second time (at least) attending these courses. We covered more material in depth compared to Monday, but still in the introduction stages of the courses. It was easy to say that today was significantly better than Monday. After class, I had a chance to see my sister and we ended up getting stuck in a car cruise on our way to get ice cream. I was able to enjoy myself for the first time after class, instead of non-stop studying for the past few days.
Today I only had one class so it was a very nice day. Normally I have my constitutional law class this day but instead I had an additional contract law class because my professor was going abroad for a conference. While contracts is not my favorite class, I felt very engaged and really enjoyed the class. Today is deemed as my study and relaxation day because I have plenty of time before and after my class to get things I need done. I felt very productive, engaged, and excited today but am really glad that the long week is done tomorrow.
Today started out great. Like Thursday, I only have one class on Fridays which is my torts class. I had a smooth ride into school, which was atypical of my normal, frustrating commute. Torts happens to be my longest class at two hours, twice a week. The length of the class on top of the already long week and that fact the weekend contains a holiday, I was anxious to finish the class. Overall, the day was really relaxing and easy, I was able to catch up on some personal matters on top of preparing for the week to come.
Is law school like Legally Blonde? No, not exactly. Will professors make someone cry on their first day? Hopefully not. I am not going to lie to you, law school is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I wake up and study, then go to class, and then go home and study to figure out what I just learned. Does this mean you should panic? No, take a deep breath and continue on!
I am tired, I am still a bit stressed, but I know that I will be okay. If it was easy, then everyone would do it. Fortunately/unfortunately, it is hard work and I am ready (for the most part) and have a good support system to get me through it. It will be a long three years but it will be worth it for the end goal. This week is my very first week of law classes and law school and being a law student. I am achieving my dream and could not be more excited to continue. Whether you are an incoming 1L or a student that has been in school for a while, you are doing great things and will be successful as long as you continue to work hard and achieve your dreams.
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