Monday, October 19, 2009

First exams over, but push continues

If law school is like a marathon, we've just rounded the first corner of the race. We are officially one-twelfth of the way through. The upshot at this point is that I still have lots of energy and excitement, having finished our legal research final, our Torts mid-term and our first memo. At the same time, there are days when I feel beaten down, defeated, and downright scared. The mountain looms, and it's only getting bigger.

I know I'm not alone in this feeling, and that's perhaps the most comforting aspect of law school. Here at U of L, faculty and other students are really supportive, perhaps more so than at other schools. For example, there is little sense of direct cut-throat competition between students so far, and our professors are careful to slack up a bit in certain courses when the going is rough in others. But this doesn't make like easier. Some upper-level students have told me in recent weeks that they wish they didn't work so hard during their first year, or that they wish they didn't let the pressure get to them so easily. I now have a sense of the meaning behind the maxim we were given in orientation: "Don't let them mess with your head."

The only remedy to the pressure (at least for me) is to keep working. Even with two children at home and a small business to run, I find that I am able to stay on top of the brutal demands of reading, briefing, and outlining. My case books go with me pretty much everywhere. In the last couple of weeks, I have read Civil Procedure in the parking lot outside a children's birthday party, and Contracts in the middle of my son's Cub Scouts meeting. I even finished off half of a Torts case in the middle of a Chuck E. Cheese play room. And yes, that was no small feat. For better or worse, these are the tactics that seem necessary to survive and continue. So if you see me with a glazed look in my eyes, or holding a book up to my face in the middle of an intersection during rush hour, please forgive me. I'm in law school.

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