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Author Topic: Is life as a 1L really that difficult?  (Read 3916 times)

ok123

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Re: Is life as a 1L really that difficult?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2007, 06:00:20 PM »
Let me start out by saying I know exactly how you feel right now. A year ago I was in your shoes terrified that my life was on hold for 3 years. Bottom line, its not true. I don't want to make it sound easy, but it is not going to kill you.
     I spent 3, maybe 4 hours a day reading. I always made sure I had my reading done. And this was not library reading. It was in my bedroom by myself reading, less distractions and better environement. I was able to see my family/friends/fiance everyday. For exams I studied for 2 weeks using my notes (took good notes in class) and outlines from others. After the first year I am in the top 10%.
     Be efficient and get your reading done and you will have no problem. Don't let the hype slow you down. Good luck, you'll do fine.
     ******May vary depending on school.

Lascar

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Re: Is life as a 1L really that difficult?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2007, 07:01:36 PM »
It's not nearly as bad as they say it is.  First semester, I had class 9:00-12:00 Monday/Wednesday, 9:00-12:00, 4:00-5:30 Tuesday/Thursday and I had Fridays off.  I woke up early every day, and was at my desk at 7:00 to review that days material for two hours before class.  I would come home at noon, eat lunch, then do work for a few hours, taking a break when I felt like it to eat dinner, go for a walk, go to a friend's, talk to my girlfriend, whatever.  In the evenings, I usually put in a couple more hours, but rarely worked past 10:00. 

I agree that treating school work as a job is the best course of action.  I always felt in college that people devoted more mental energy to stressing out about an assignment than just sitting down and doing it.  I had several years in the work force before starting school, which I think was a big advantage.  When I got an assignment, I immediately went home and did it.  For larger assignments like Legal Writing papers, they required more than a day to complete, but at least beginning them straight away was a big help.

The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is that the work will not stop.  It is not at all like undergrad where you could slack off and then catch up at the end of the semster.  You might only have 20 page assignments for law school, but one of these will be due for each and every class all semester long.  Multiply this out across your four substantive law classes in a semester, and the work can become daunting.  The best way to deal with this is to develop a schedule and stick to it.  I work the best in the mornings, so I made sure to wake up early, but if you work better at night, then alot your time then.  Just stick to it and you will stay ahead of the game.  I would compare it to running along a moving train.  As long as you stay just in front you will be fine, if you get behind your screwed. 

A few weeks into the semester, I noticed that I had much more free time than I had originally anticipated.  This actually made me nervous.  I thought that I was missing something or maybe simply not being thorough enough.  I actually scheduled an appointment with a professor to talk about it, and he assured me that having free time was perfectly normal.

One final thing.  Early in the semester I busted my tail and worked a couple of days ahead, finishing my work for Monday and Tuesday before my last class on Thursday.  I stayed to this schedule the rest of the year.  From then on, I was doing the same amount of work each day, only two days ahead.  For example, on Monday my goal would be to finish all of Wednesday's work.  On Thursday, I was working on Tuesday's work for the next week.  This was invaluable.  First, it allowed me to keep my weekends free for much of the semester.  Second, when a big assignment like a Legal Writing paper or a Moot Court brief came due, I had some fudge room in my schedule during which I could skip daily assignments without getting behind.  Third, once it came time to begin outlining, I had entire weekend to work on my them, never sacrificing the daily assignments. 

I very much enjoyed first year.  I hope you will too.  Good luck. 

moonchigger

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Re: Is life as a 1L really that difficult?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2007, 08:39:08 PM »
Most people who say law school is unbearable are those straight from undergrad.  If you treat it like a job, it's completely manageable.  I was in the library at 7:30 AM every morning and left by 4 most days, sometimes 5.  I almost never worked on evening or weekends.  The only time I had to do this was during law journal edits and when memos or briefs were due.  Treat it like a job and it is very manageable. 

vaplaugh

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Re: Is life as a 1L really that difficult?
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2007, 09:23:51 PM »
tag

LBJFan

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Re: Is life as a 1L really that difficult?
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2007, 11:10:27 PM »
You know what I would steer clear from?

Being in places or around people that keep you from actually STUDYING while you're studying. I know SOOOOOO many people that said "I studied until 1:00 a.m." when really there was a fairly large amount of screwing around/ watching TV/ text messaging/ eating/ chatting in that time frame. Although you feel like you've had to stay up late to get your work done, you really didn't have to at all.

during 1L, I hated studying with people that were always breaking into random stories or ordering pizza or playing Xbox because I liked to get what I needed to get done...done.

If you study during study time, you'll find you have much more time than you'd imagine. May seem like a simple concept but it isnt.

And Im actually a hypocrite because Im "studying" for the bar as we speak :D ((Do as I say, not as I do  ;) ))

Strong

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Re: Is life as a 1L really that difficult?
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2007, 11:33:16 PM »
You know what I would steer clear from?

Being in places or around people that keep you from actually STUDYING while you're studying. I know SOOOOOO many people that said "I studied until 1:00 a.m." when really there was a fairly large amount of screwing around/ watching TV/ text messaging/ eating/ chatting in that time frame. Although you feel like you've had to stay up late to get your work done, you really didn't have to at all.

during 1L, I hated studying with people that were always breaking into random stories or ordering pizza or playing Xbox because I liked to get what I needed to get done...done.

If you study during study time, you'll find you have much more time than you'd imagine. May seem like a simple concept but it isnt.

And Im actually a hypocrite because Im "studying" for the bar as we speak :D ((Do as I say, not as I do  ;) ))

Study with your computer off and your phone on silent and out of sight. Seriously texting and surfing the web or checking your e-mail every 5 minutes wastes alot of time.

Legal Eagle 2010

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Re: Is life as a 1L really that difficult?
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2007, 12:33:41 AM »
It's not nearly as bad as they say it is.  First semester, I had class 9:00-12:00 Monday/Wednesday, 9:00-12:00, 4:00-5:30 Tuesday/Thursday and I had Fridays off.  I woke up early every day, and was at my desk at 7:00 to review that days material for two hours before class.  I would come home at noon, eat lunch, then do work for a few hours, taking a break when I felt like it to eat dinner, go for a walk, go to a friend's, talk to my girlfriend, whatever.  In the evenings, I usually put in a couple more hours, but rarely worked past 10:00. 

I agree that treating school work as a job is the best course of action.  I always felt in college that people devoted more mental energy to stressing out about an assignment than just sitting down and doing it.  I had several years in the work force before starting school, which I think was a big advantage.  When I got an assignment, I immediately went home and did it.  For larger assignments like Legal Writing papers, they required more than a day to complete, but at least beginning them straight away was a big help.

The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is that the work will not stop.  It is not at all like undergrad where you could slack off and then catch up at the end of the semster.  You might only have 20 page assignments for law school, but one of these will be due for each and every class all semester long.  Multiply this out across your four substantive law classes in a semester, and the work can become daunting.  The best way to deal with this is to develop a schedule and stick to it.  I work the best in the mornings, so I made sure to wake up early, but if you work better at night, then alot your time then.  Just stick to it and you will stay ahead of the game.  I would compare it to running along a moving train.  As long as you stay just in front you will be fine, if you get behind your screwed. 

A few weeks into the semester, I noticed that I had much more free time than I had originally anticipated.  This actually made me nervous.  I thought that I was missing something or maybe simply not being thorough enough.  I actually scheduled an appointment with a professor to talk about it, and he assured me that having free time was perfectly normal.

One final thing.  Early in the semester I busted my tail and worked a couple of days ahead, finishing my work for Monday and Tuesday before my last class on Thursday.  I stayed to this schedule the rest of the year.  From then on, I was doing the same amount of work each day, only two days ahead.  For example, on Monday my goal would be to finish all of Wednesday's work.  On Thursday, I was working on Tuesday's work for the next week.  This was invaluable.  First, it allowed me to keep my weekends free for much of the semester.  Second, when a big assignment like a Legal Writing paper or a Moot Court brief came due, I had some fudge room in my schedule during which I could skip daily assignments without getting behind.  Third, once it came time to begin outlining, I had entire weekend to work on my them, never sacrificing the daily assignments. 

I very much enjoyed first year.  I hope you will too.  Good luck. 

Thank you very much! Your comments and advice are greatly appreciated!... The same goes to everyone else who has shared advice. I definitely will take all of this into consideration when beginnin my legal career, because I certainly do not want to start law school out on the wrong foot. Thanks again!

tacojohn

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Re: Is life as a 1L really that difficult?
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2007, 08:06:55 AM »
It's only as bad as you make it.  I second whoever said that law students like playing the role of "stressed-out student."  You can tell that some people are intentionally burning themselves out because they think they're supposed to, and, more importantly, it gives them an excuse to act however they want.  I would say a lot of people justify the drama they create by being a stressed-out student.

The biggest key to doing well in law school is confidence.  The one big advantage non-trads have generally over the straight-from-UG crowd is that they have confidence in their ability to get that volume of work done.  The process of starting law school, from taking LSATs to applying, to choosing a school, to enrolling, all the way through 1L seems designed to erode your confidence.  Especially all these books and people on here preaching their systems and guaranteed successful ways to study.  A lot of 1Ls enter law school thinking it is fundamentally different than other types of school.  It's not.

Most undergrad programs are poor preparation for law school, not because law school is completely different, but because you don't have to be on the ball to do well in a lot of UG programs.  You can slack off, you can catch up, you can only study for a month or two out of the semester.  Law school is fundamentally different only in the sense that most of this slack is gone.  If you had good study habits, they don't need to change, you just need to use them more.

The worst part is not only does the whole process make you think you need to change the way you study, it seems like it can make people believe that they aren't intelligent.  Don't let anyone do that to you.  If you got into a law school, you're a smart person.  If the school let you in, the school believes you are going to be successful.  You need to believe the same thing.

As far as specifics, treat it like a job.  The work is not 24/7.  If you can put in a solid 40-50 hour work week Monday-Friday, you'll be studying on few weekends.  Get a little ahead, so you have some wiggle room when a big assignment comes your way.  And when it comes to studying, don't listen to what anyone has to say unless you want to.  It's your education, there's no rules about how you do it.  Don't even let people question anything you do.  "Oh, you study in the library, doesn't that make you much more stressed out?"  Stuff like that.  Most of the time it's harmless but even then, it can cause you to doubt yourself.  Just do whatever seems to work, and if you have a bad semester, put it behind you, think about what you can do to change, and work on it.

p0six

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Re: Is life as a 1L really that difficult?
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2007, 08:29:29 AM »
1L is the h4rd35t EVAR.

Actually not really, it was even fun for me.  Although maybe I would've have less fun if I had done poorly.

Also you should recognize that law school likely will affect your interaction with non-law school friends.  Why?  Well, in many respects, you'll just have less to talk about unless you're going to regale them with wonderful tales of torts.  I found that the weeks around finals there was no use talking to non-law school people that much - all you're thinking about is finals and they don't care THAT much.

wakaranai

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Re: Is life as a 1L really that difficult?
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2007, 11:56:19 AM »
1L is the h4rd35t EVAR.

Actually not really, it was even fun for me.  Although maybe I would've have less fun if I had done poorly.

Also you should recognize that law school likely will affect your interaction with non-law school friends.  Why?  Well, in many respects, you'll just have less to talk about unless you're going to regale them with wonderful tales of torts.  I found that the weeks around finals there was no use talking to non-law school people that much - all you're thinking about is finals and they don't care THAT much.

I don't know what I would have done without my non-law school friends. I think they're critical to helping you keep a grip on reality.