Shirlene is back to share more about her 1L law school experience. In her previous posts, she shared about her first week of law school, law school orientation, and dealing with death and hardships as a law student. Today she is reflecting on her first semester.
Believe it or not, I survived my first semester of law school! There were tears, laughs, and days upon days of studying. Nevertheless, I cannot articulate fully the feelings I have about being done with semester one! I have conquered the dreaded first semester and I am ready to take on the rest of the year!
I am sure I’m not the only one that feels this way but when I reflect on the start of the semester, I feel like a changed person. I remember the beginning of the semester feeling stressed, anxious, and worried about how the semester would go. I remember in the first week sitting at my desk while looking at my casebooks wondering how and the heck am I going to do all this?? After taking my exams, I was surprised at how much I know about the law and the specific details that I remember. Reading also gets MUCH easier as you go. Before, I would highlight a ton of sentences and take pages of notes while reading. Now I realize that is a huge waste of my time and I need to focus on pulling out the rule of law from the case rather than remembering every detail about Hudson v. Craft. So if you are feeling stressed now, trust me when I say you will get a handle on it and things will get much easier!
Stick to Your Goals
Everyone sets some sort of goals for themselves at the beginning of the year or semester. Whether it is to get good grades or stay alive this year, all goals are important and special. Accomplishing each goal gets you one step closer to your next step in your legal journey. This is why it is crucial to stick to them. Halfway through the semester, you may feel like giving up or feel discouraged, but you will persevere and be successful. Thus, try to stick to your goals but always be willing to be flexible and alter your path where needed.
I am a big advocate for balance. In order to be successful in anything, you need to have a balanced life. This is especially true for law school. The real life clock does not stop once you enter law school (I’d argue it speeds up because time flies). That means you need to figure out a schedule and stick to it. Some people need to work in order to support themselves in school while others have to take care of children once they get home from class. Ultimately you need to prioritize your schedule and shift when needed. During this semester, there were some times when I had a lot of family obligations I needed to take care of so I had less time to clean, cook, or do something with one of my hobbies. Balance is achievable and will make your stressful life so much less hectic.
This was something I struggled with this semester. With the craziness of starting law school and trying to adjust, I did not work on my outlines during the semester as much as I would have liked to. While I did finish them during my exam period while studying, I found myself wishing I had finished them before exams began. Next semester I am going to try to work on them each week, at least for an hour or two. You will thank yourself if you think ahead as well! Studying for exams is stressful by itself and it is made worse when you are rushing to finish your outline.
The curriculum only gets more challenging at law school but surprisingly it gets easier to understand. The student that I was at the beginning of the semester is drastically different than the one today. I am excited for what the next semester (and the next year) has to offer me. I have some new opportunities coming up this semester and I will be applying for my 1L summer position soon so I am very anxious to get back to business as usual. Overall, law school has exceeded my expectations. The classes are challenging yet intriguing and my professors are admirable and intelligent. I also really like all my classmates too. The next semester is going to come and go in a flash but for now, I am anxiously awaiting my grades from my finals!
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And check out these other posts from a student’s perspective:
- A Student’s Perspective: The First Week of Law School
- A Student’s Perspective: Orientation
- A Student’s Perspective: Dealing with Death and Hardships in Law School
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