Final exams! That wonderful point in the semester where everything you thought you knew turns out to actually be pretty confusing—when you re-do your attack plans because you realize you had the rule completely wrong—when you start to question your judgment, sanity, and basic ability to spell (is it foreseeable for the defendant to be “haled” into court, or is it “hailed”?—By the way, it’s the former).
Because finals can get so serious, I thought I’d share some interesting, unique and truly bizarre things I’ve seen during some of my own exams in my legal career. Here you go:
The peanut butter and chips
Now, barring some kind of blood sugar problem or health concern, I don’t personally think it’s worth it to snack during a three-hour exam. It wastes time and you should really be able to find a meal that can tide you over for three hours before the test starts. This is especially the case when what you’re eating is super distracting to others. For example, I took a fed. tax final in law school and the person directly behind me ate an entire jar of peanut butter during the test. An entire jar. I love peanut butter, and I get that it’s packed with brain-boosting protein, but it’s just plain weird to eat it Meet Joe Black style in the exam room. Same thing goes for an entire bag of chips. If your food involves squishing, slurping, or rustling around and then crunching, leave it at home. It’s sort of like being on a plane, is it technically permissible to eat spaghetti bolognaise with your bare hands out of a zip lock bag while leaning your seat back during mealtime? Sure. Do you really want to be that guy, though? Probably not.
A few gallons of fortune cookies
This one is exactly what it sounds like. A woman in one of my law school exams brought in an entire bucket-sized bag of fortune cookies and set them on the desk next to her during the test. I have seen young children who were smaller than this cookie bag! I can only assume this was for luck since I didn’t actually see her eat any of them.
Edward 40 Hands
I’m sure most of you have heard of this, but if not, check out this extremely awkward video, and just know that (lawyer disclaimer here… wait for it….), I am in no way advocating the consumption of unhealthy amounts of alcohol before, during, or after your law school finals! Now, before you get too excited, the guy I saw in my final exam didn’t actually have the bottles fastened to his hands (yet), but they were sitting on his desk from the beginning to end of the test. I’m sure it was only a matter of time before the duct tape came out. I’m all for celebrating once exams are over (especially your last law school final as a 3L), but don’t bring your celebration into the test with you. That just looks like a tacky call for attention.
The sweet smell of… Vick’s vapor rub?
No joke, there was a woman in one of my classes who used essential oils as a memory aid. I have no idea if this worked or not, but supposedly, the theory is that triggering olfactory responses while studying and then again during the test could help you remember information. Not sure I totally buy that one, but evidently, she was using eucalyptus oil and man oh man was it strong! I am not one of those people who is bothered by food smells, same thing goes for scents like eucalyptus, but keep in mind that some people are and you could be making it very hard for them to concentrate (or even give them an allergic reaction) if you wear super strong perfumes, colognes, or bring in other pungent aromas.
The distracting rear view
I say wear whatever you want to your exams—be you! Just be a comfortable and weather appropriate version of you so you can be sure not to distract yourself by getting bunched up or chilly. That’s why these examples are mostly just for fun: (1) Maybe some people do their best thinking in a completely backless dress that dips down to their L5 vertebra. I can only hope that the woman sitting in front of me during the LSAT was one of those people. Gorgeous dress, odd timing. Who knows, maybe she was going to a gala afterwards. (2) Same goes for the guy who had studs pierced through the spaces between each notch on his neck and visible spine. This was actually pretty interesting and arguably artistic, and hey, it’s not his fault I was so easily distracted.
Look, like I said, these are just some interesting sightings during tests, I’m not saying you should be so conscious of what the people behind you might think, that you distract yourself or change yourself or your exam routine.
I wouldn’t be surprised if San Francisco led the nation in support animals. These are animals that the owner can actually have licensed with the help of a therapist to go with them and help them deal with things like social anxiety or psychological issues. Hey, I would be lying if I said I didn’t love the fact that our law review office usually had a puppy in it (although, this might have just been a pet, I’m not sure). I’ve even had friends who work in non-profit offices where there are office dogs that roam around the cubicles during the day. You might see this sort of thing more and more now that it’s becoming commonplace. Keep in mind, for the people who actually get the school’s permission to bring their pet into the exam, it isn’t just because they love their pet so much (otherwise everyone would do it). There is usually an underlying issue and sometimes it’s something personal, so be respectful when commenting, and, as with any service animal, ask before touching.
What about you, have you seen anything strange or different in your exams? Feel free to comment below.
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