« on: March 03, 2009, 10:59:08 AM »
I thought I'd share an email a friend sent me after I decided on Columbia, which was (as the title of this thread suggests) the absolute best advice I got about success (academic, social, psychological) in law school:
oh mang. i've got plenty of words of wisdom about law school in general. i guess we can skip the whole "should i go to law school" discussion since you've already made that choice. here's some hints on first year:
(1) At first, it will kind of suck. How hard it sucks depends on your attitude about a variety of things, but overall, I'm not going to lie, it is going to suck to some degree.
(2) You will meet A LOT of crazy people. In the begining, people are still feeling out the situation and don't really know where they fit in. This makes them act weird. After awhile, you'll make friends with some cool people, and you'll also find out that some of the crazy people are actually cool as well. Then again, you'll find other crazy people that are, in fact, f-ing insane. But you won't figure all that out until at least second semester, if not later.
(3) The key to getting through the first semester is to not freak the @#!* out. This is hard to accomplish because a majority of people around you will be freaking out. In that first semester, and even second semester, you'll constantly doubt yourself, and wonder if you're studying enough, because you heard about this girl in another section who is studying, like 30 hours a day and has already written all her outlines, 3 months before finals. Try to keep calm, and keep it all in perspective, which leads me to . . .
(4) Do your own thing and don't worry about what other people are doing. You have no idea what other people are doing, how much they need to study, or whether they're even telling the truth about how much they study. You're going to need to study of course, but study the amount you feel comfortable with to grasp the understanding of stuff. Don't study 12 hours a day just because your roommate is.
The thing about a law school like Columbia is that everyone that is there is used to being at the top of their class. However, everyone knows that this will no longer be the case. And because you all have just started there, and you don't know each other, no one knows where they stack up yet, which just contributes to all sorts of anxiety. You're going to experience it, at least at some point, but you can totally minimize it by just breatihng and keeping it all in perspective. You've done fine in school so far, you'll do fine in law school.
Also, this is why things get much better second semester after first semester grades come out. Plus, you won't freak out about second semester finals as much because you finally know what a law school exam looks like and (hopefully) will know how to take it.
That's about all I can think of for now. Let me know if you have any questions. I really liked Columbia; it can be a great place. Good luck!