One of my clearest memories from my first year of law school is walking through Central Park on a crisp October Friday, looking at the leaves changing colors and thinking about nothing. Sounds great, right? Well, I was only there because I’d had a total meltdown earlier in the day (think suddenly sobbing in a meeting), and a 2L friend insisted I take the rest of the day off to avoid a complete nervous breakdown. (You can read that whole story here.)
That day, I experienced the dreaded 1L October freakout! For most new law students, there’s a point mid-semester, where – suddenly – everything is overwhelming. The novelty and excitement of being a law student has worn off (remember Orientation, when it was all so shiny and new?) and the days are getting shorter and colder. Your professors may be moving through the material faster, and midterms are often looming on the horizon. It’s a lot.
This is also the time you start to realize that the cases you’re reading and talking about every day aren’t the whole game – you’re going to have to be able to use these rules and apply them to new scenarios, not just recite them, as you might have been rewarded for as an undergrad.
What to do?
That’s what we’re going to be talking about this month (lucky you!). If it’s not clear by now, this is the time in the semester where you really need to be putting the material you’ve learned together and making sense of the bigger picture. For many students, that means finding a solid supplement and using that to help scaffold your understanding of the law. Not sure where to start? Here are some resources.
Lee and I talk a lot about deep work, and this is it! You’re in the messy middle, and it’s going to take some hard work and focus to come out on the other side with a helpful outline, or other study aid (personally, I love a good flowchart) that you can use to apply your legal knowledge to new scenarios.
Have specific questions? Feel free to reach out.
And if you’re feeling really overwhelmed or find yourself sobbing at office hours for no apparent reason? Take a long walk. Trust me on this one! Things will seem at lot more manageable afterwards.
Looking for some help to do your best in law school? Find out about our law school tutoring options.