Many reading this might be saying "just drop the damn class," but for me this is really difficult because I feel like that is admitting failure. On the other hand, I may literally fail if I stay in all of my classes. But still, it is very hard for me to swallow that other people seem to be able to handle much more than me. Any suggestions about what I should do would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again
To add to the points EarlCat and BikePilot make, it is very true that what you're describing is a common feeling among all, or nearly all, law students.
Maybe this will help:
We hear repeated again and again words like "drudgery," workload," "overwhelming," and so on. If this is the approach, it would be extraordinary not to feel as you do. What's worse, none of these will help. There's no extra credit in law school for time served.
There might be a different solution: Learn more and better, with less work.
One of the problems, if not *the* problem, is not law school. It's us. The study habits and "techniques" that were successful in college and before simply won't work, or won't work well, in law school. Why? Because law school is not college. That sounds obvious, yet how many law students look at how they are supposed to learn the material? No, instead most simply plow through, hoping against hope (and against advice of nearly everyone who has gone before), that the prof will *somehow* see through their exam to see all the work they've put in. That's not how it works.
BikePilot has just the right advice in his take on reading law review articles. Namely, don't. Or, more correctly, don't "read" them. Slogging through an 80-page law review article is not just an incredible waste of time, it won't help. Will you know what you need to know after reading it that you didn't know before. I can almost guarantee you that you won't get what you're looking for in this way. The real challenge is to stop racing, and start learning in a much more efficient way.
Let's start from the beginning. Why do profs assign reading. Sadism? Well, okay, maybe a little. The main reason, however, is right there. They assign materials to convey a handful of points. That's it. The objective as a student is not to READ. The objective is to LEARN. The challenge is to learn with the least amount of wasted effort. So, reading ANYTHING that doesn't help in that understanding is wasted.
Don't read everything. You can't. You shouldn't. And no attorney does that. What to do? First, confirm every scrap of paper for one thing: its relevance. Figure out why you're reading it. If you cannot state, in a simple sentence, why you're reading it, then don't.
Never, never spend hours reading cases, or anything else for that matter. Instead, try this: Five minutes confirming the rule at issue. Ten seconds confirming the relevance of the document before you. IF it's relevant, five minutes scanning for the essential facts. If it's relevant and valuable, twenty minutes reading--really reading--through what is relevant and valuable. (If it takes longer, fine, but it shouldn't take much longer. This is exactly the same standard in practice.) Now for the important part: You're not done. Spend five minutes updating your outline, and another five minutes pondering a hypothetical or two with the rule you've just learned and facts you've just sifted.
If you're spending time briefing cases, stop. Waste of time. (Do profs check? No? Waste of time.)
If you're highlighting, stop. Waste of time. (Will this be graded? No? Waste of time.)
If you're taking notes, stop. Waste of time. (Do they help? No? Waste of time.)
Brown-nosing? Gunning? Subterfuge? Stop, stop, stop.
The study of law can be truly engaging, and can be done, well, in less time than most now take, slogging about frantically from one source to the next, understanding almost none of it and getting more and more confused with each new stack. Rely on those who've gone before to re-confirm what will actually make a difference, and focus ONLY on those aspects that will make a difference. Unfortunately, this means challenging what has worked for 16 years . . . because it WILL NOT work for law school.
For all, law school is about learning the law, backwards, forwards, and sideways . . . and, just as importantly, learning how to apply those rules to a new set of facts, cold. It is not about brown-nosing, all-nighters, highlighting, note-taking, or any of that nonsense. Re-focusing can lead to much better results, with much less wasted effort. And, of course, to just the right amount of stress. No more feelings of being overwhelmed.
I hope this helps,