Law School Discussion

Did you/will you ever take a weekend off?

GJK

Did you/will you ever take a weekend off?
« on: August 20, 2005, 07:33:03 AM »
After talking to some 1Ls last year, some said they took a weekend off every so often to get away, and others said they would never do this.  What do you guys think?  For incoming 1Ls .... do you guys plan on getting away at all?  and for the older folks, did you find that it was possible to do this with proper planning?

JG

Re: Did you/will you ever take a weekend off?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2005, 07:43:05 AM »
I absolutely took some weekends off, and not always even with a lot of prior planning.  I know one fellow student who claims to have never worked any weekends during his 1L year.  How often you're able to do it will depend on how quickly you can pick up the concepts and how driven you are to be at the top of your class.

Just remember that there is a ton of time during the week when you're not in class.  If you use it wisely, you can have pretty pleasant weekends.

Re: Did you/will you ever take a weekend off?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2005, 09:17:16 AM »
I spent about 7-8 hours studying each Saturday and Sunday (9-5 or so with a break fro a little lunch).  I know other poeple who didn't study on the weekend but in my opinion, failing to do so will likely keep you srom being in the top 10% of your class.  If you don't care about finishing that high anyways, then you really don't need to study all weekend to finish in the top half as long as you stay on the ball.

Re: Did you/will you ever take a weekend off?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2005, 10:53:32 AM »
I don't think I ever took a whole weekend off, but I tried to regularly take Friday nights and Saturdays off and do all of my weekend studying on Sunday.  That way I had some time to clear my brain.  But the closer you get to finals, the more unrealistic it is to take much time off at all.

Re: Did you/will you ever take a weekend off?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2005, 11:28:56 AM »
I definitely think you can take weekends off if you budget your time effectively.  Normally last year I did no work Thursday night or Friday.  I would do a little (a couple of hours) on Saturday morning or afternoon and then would get back to work on Sunday night.

I did pretty well class rank wise taking this approach.  I also had some weekends where I went out of town or had other obligations and studied none.  If you have a little fun every once in a while it will make the workload a lot more bearable.   

Re: Did you/will you ever take a weekend off?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2005, 05:56:01 PM »
I'd second what Kristen said above.  I regularly did absolutely nothing until Sunday.  Go out Friday's (or, go visit friends elsewhere), spend Saturday hungover, go out slightly less-hard on Sat night, and work/relax all day Sunday.  Only time this will be a problem is the last month of school with finals and all that. 

Re: Did you/will you ever take a weekend off?
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2005, 04:51:21 PM »
Honestly, as you get accustomed to law school you'll become much more efficient in your study habits.  I spent way more time studying at the beginning of law school than I did at the end (and my last semester was might highest in terms of grades).  You just learn what you need to look for when reading, etc etc.  It takes everyone different amounts of time to find what works for them.  But once you settle in, you'll absolutely be able to take time off.  I was able to go out most nights and took plenty of time out during the weekends. 

When I look back on it, I wasted so much time in law school doing really useless work.  But of course, only by doing that was I able to figure out what work I really needed to do.  I'm not saying that I did less work in the end, only that I worked a lot smarter.

zaphod

  • *
  • 4
  • worst dressed sentient being in the galaxy
    • View Profile
Re: Did you/will you ever take a weekend off?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2005, 12:39:01 PM »
I spent about 7-8 hours studying each Saturday and Sunday (9-5 or so with a break fro a little lunch).  I know other poeple who didn't study on the weekend but in my opinion, failing to do so will likely keep you srom being in the top 10% of your class.  If you don't care about finishing that high anyways, then you really don't need to study all weekend to finish in the top half as long as you stay on the ball.

This is anecdotal for the most part, but I can't remember studying much at all on weekends (save for finals time), and I was well within top 10%.  My fiancee lives 3 hours away, so my weekends were more often than not spent travelling and hanging out with her.  On the flip side of that, my fiancee wasn't in town, so I had a lot of time during the week to study ;).  I guess my point is, the amount of time you spend studying and when you do it is a very individualized topic.  That being said, I don't know how smart it is to risk knowing whether you can pull off not studying on weekends.  If I had ended up in the bottom half, I'm sure I would have been regretting those weekends away....

Re: Did you/will you ever take a weekend off?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2005, 01:38:44 PM »
Ultimately I think everyone wastes time 1L because you have no way to measure how you are doing until you get your 1L grades.  Then you will know how much time you really need to devote.  Some would say better safe then sorry, and lock themselves in the library, but I'd say a little analysis of study skills and habits is called for.  By now, you should know what you need to learn, what your weaknesses and strengths are.  Next you need to figure out what your goal is- and by the way, I'd suggest that your goal is to do well on exam, class performance be damned.  That means you need to learn the rules, and you need to learn how to write an effective essay exam.  The first will be relavent to your in-class discussion, the second will not.  But don't be fooled. Some guy who was always an underprepared idiot in class will kick your ass in the class ranking, because for some reason, he could actually write an exam.  You, with all your perfect case briefs and outlines and your laptop full of detailed notes, may well panic and fall flat on your face if you think that your 50 pages Contracts outline will be even remotely helpful on the exam.
 
At exam time you need a concise list of the rules, not a huge fact filled outline.  You will know what rules because you will have listened carefully to your prof to ferret out his or her testing preferences.  You will have worked through the practice exams on file.  You will have devoted yourself to learning as much as you can in your legal writing class and you will know how to make an argument and argue the defense.  You will have read a few briefs convienantly posted on Westlaw to see how lawyers use the black letter law to craft arguments.

I have to say I always feel bad for the people who simply work their tails off and just don't get the grades, because they followed all the traditional advice and it did not work.  So outline if it helps you and don't if it doesn't and remember, your goal is to do well on the exam.

Back to topic...

I'd say that as long as you are getting through the material (I'd suggest that a book brief would be perfectly sufficient and I didn't really outline even 1L) and you are ready to do practice exams by November, you will be in good shape.  Expect to buckle down for your writing class as things are due, and expect that from Thanksgiving on you won't come up for air.  But before that you have some time for a life. 

I treat my school day like work and when I come home, I'm done.  I'd say my days are from 8 or 9 to 3.  I usually put time in either Sat. or Sun for a few hours.  I'm also a third year, so like I said, I've figured out what works for me.  I definately put in more hours 1L. 

zaphod

  • *
  • 4
  • worst dressed sentient being in the galaxy
    • View Profile
Re: Did you/will you ever take a weekend off?
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2005, 01:47:40 PM »
Some guy who was always an underprepared idiot in class will kick your ass in the class ranking, because for some reason, he could actually write an exam.   

Hey, that's me ;).  Seriously, it's just a matter of style.  Save for the classes where the professor was really big on socratic method and a full-on brief was necessary because the prof cared just as much about Aunt Susie's middle name as they did about the black letter law, I book briefed if I briefed at all.  I always did the reading (I wasn't that much of a slacker), but I never did any supplemental reading.  I just turn it up during finals, pushing really long days.  Believe it or not, my retention has always been really good as well.  In sum, hopefully you know what's right for you from college or other experiences, and you do what's best for you.