As you gear up to start your 1L year, you’ll hear about lots of things that sound like they might be “the magic bullet.” Canned briefs, commercial supplements, your frat brother’s old outline in a class he CALI’d — one of these must be your ticket to a guaranteed A. Right?
Sorry, I’ve got some bad news for you. The only way around is through.
Everyone Has to Struggle
Meaning, you’re going to have to struggle just like every other law student before you. The fact of the matter is, no one is born knowing the law. If nothing else, there is a ton of custom vocabulary that you have to learn before anything else makes sense.
Tempting though it may be, it will behoove you to avoid shortcuts, particularly in your first semester. Why? Because you’re going to have to struggle at some point. Better to do it sooner rather than later and get it out of the way.
Let’s look at one of my favorite law school professors:
He’s brilliant, very well regarded, has a ton of books to his name, and is generally a legal badass.
Did he come into law school knowing everything he knows now? Of course not! In fact, he was an undergraduate Physics major. So his understanding of the law was infinitesimal when he started.
He had to struggle through, just like everyone else. And, just like you.
There is No Easy Way Out
Let’s face it — it’s human nature to look for the easy way out. But, in a situation like law school, this is a serious mistake. Reading a canned brief — instead of really, truly trying to make your own from just the case — can make you feel like you understand what’s going on.
But it’s the difference between reading a book, and writing a book.
One is a lot harder and more time consuming than the other, certainly, but results in a far deeper understanding of the topic area.
I’m not necessarily opposed to “helpers.” They definitely have a place. But — just remember — taking the dodgy shortcut is not going to get you to your destination any faster when it turns out the bridge is washed out and you have to turn around and go back to the start!
Accept the struggle as part of the journey, and I think you will be a lot better off in the end.
Best of luck!
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Here are some other helpful posts:
- Put Down the Computer, Cell Phone, iPad (etc.) (0L to 1L)
- Be Ready to Throw Your Writing Style Out the Window (0L to 1L)
- Hey, Do You Know How to Memorize Stuff? (0L to 1L)
- Lessons from My 1L Year
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