Law School Discussion

Any Hope for Hopeless Situation?

Any Hope for Hopeless Situation?
« on: December 07, 2007, 11:27:38 PM »
I'll be brief:

Yesterday, I took an exam and I had a panic attack about 20 minutes before time was called.  I've had one before, but this one was very different because it was utterly incapacitating: shaking violently to the point of not being able to type, sweating profusely, not being able to breathe properly, chest pains.  I didn't finish the last portion of the exam, sacrificing about 12 points.  I don't think I failed, but I don't think a D is out of the question either.  I've been in shock since then, not knowing quite what to do (besides contact a therapist).  My question is what are my options (if any)? 

I've considered contacting the Dean of Students, but I've been hesitant to do that because of the fact that I know that the Dean is not particularly helpful/sympathetic to this type of situation.  Also, I know that I should've ran to the office to explain the situation immediately, but I didn't- I ran home.  Even if I did contact the Dean, what would happen?  My best case scenario would be that my exam would be thrown out and I'd have to take the course again, but who knows.  Should I suck it up and deal with the possible lowest grade of my career?  Any helpful advice would be appreciated.

Re: Any Hope for Hopeless Situation?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2007, 12:48:15 AM »
I say this with all possible respect

Law exams are difficult, intensive and stressful. It's understandable to get worked up over exams, but you need to learn how to rise above that kind of pressure.  Especially if you're considering litigation.  Since the purpose of law school is to prepare you for those stressful times, I don't think the Dean will be very sympathetic.  Understanding, maybe. but I'm almost certain you won't get your grade changed.  If you think Therapy will help, take it.  As for me, I LIKE getting worked up before an exam. I feel like the adrenaline and the pressure make me do my best. but to each their own.  I wish you the best of luck in whatever solution you seek.

Re: Any Hope for Hopeless Situation?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2007, 03:40:33 AM »
I have been in your situation before so I know where you are coming from.  You need to train your body and mind to deal with these type of high pressure situations.  Relaxation techniques and meditation have a cumulative effect on the body and allow you to remain calm in pressure situations.  This one D will not kill your career, it may just be a bump in the road.  If you really want a career in law, get control of your anxiety and continute to soldier on.   

Re: Any Hope for Hopeless Situation?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2007, 07:18:57 AM »
Unfortunately, your Dean, and your professor will probably not be very sympathetic. I have a teacher that mentioned that these sorts of things happen to some people and they will be given the grade that they deserve. However, the teacher also mentioned that she has had students fail her exams, then come back the next semester and do much much better. The point is that this could go two ways: (1) you take it as motivation to improve yourself, get your nerves together and work even harder next semester to make up for it, or (2) If its just too much for you to handle (which is completely understandable) this may tell you to follow another path.

I am not trying to be harsh at all...maybe the teachers are right about students who can't handle the pressure, and maybe they are wrong. I feel from your post that you take this very seriously, unfortunately you probably will not be able to have the grade dropped - so take it as a learning experience and try to do better next time. Good Luck!

Re: Any Hope for Hopeless Situation?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2007, 07:22:41 AM »
I would just go to the dean, worst case he says get the hell out of here, then you leave and are out of options.  I cant see them being too sympathetic, because part of the lsat/law school/the bar/the legal career is the ability to perform under pressure.  I know I am a mess during exams.  Hopefully it wont affect you too much, but worse case, if you have bombed one class in your time in law school, it will give you a talking point during interviews.  Everyone will see it as an anomaly.

Re: Any Hope for Hopeless Situation?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2007, 07:49:18 AM »
First, check your student handbook to see if there's anything in there about this issue.

Also, if your panic attack was part of an actual medical condition, were you taking your medication? If I were the Dean, that is one of the questions I would ask.

If you were taking your meds and perhaps your condition has worsened, tell the Dean you want to drop the class completely and have no record of it on your transcript. Tell him you'll have your medication adjusted so that this does not happen to you again (also promise him this is the only time you'll ask to do this). If the Dean does not agree to this, go to a doctor and get a letter explaining your medical condition. If you are prone to having panic attacks, they should accommodate your needs. Don't feel guilty about it.

If the Dean still doesn't buy your story, go higher up on the food chain until you reach someone who agrees with you. Just don't be apologetic and don't get angry with the law school administration when trying to resolve this issue (definitely don't threaten to sue because you'll look like a jackass.) If you keep pushing and you act like a professional, you might get what you want. Or you might not, but you can always key their cars later.

Re: Any Hope for Hopeless Situation?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2007, 08:21:24 AM »
Don't listen to people who act like "oh the pressure is so much you might want to think about another path", it isn't  that what it is, is that you are vested in being important. That is the mainspring of pressure-the fear of what people will think of me if I fail. When you go into an exam and while your nailing this law school thing down you need to just understand that law school is rather like a three year bad joke. I am a 3L I did poorly I believe the other day on my corps final. I don't really "freak out" on exams but I often just simply don't see issues and I often forget what rules apply to what, but I always do ok in the end.I am not vested in being a "awesomest ever" lawyer-many lawyers do poorly in law school. God if we only had Harvard trained picture perfect students practicing law what a bleak world my friend. Look if you get a bad grade who cares? Yes, employers and real life do care but that only begs the question, will that help you overcome your stress knowing that you are to be harshly judged? No, so do not let it. Law school is mainly a lesson in humility and acceptance. Pressure, please, most lawyers cannot handle the pressure though they got out of law school, this fact is reflected in the ridiculous substance and alcohol abuse numbers amongst attorneys. Many law students I know take adderall and valium and ritalin, that's pathetic, if you need drugs now to get through law school wait until you practice and become a pathetic whiny disbarred lawyer. Tis better to face nobly defeat then to hide like a coward and blame other people. So what if your not as smart or as great as you thought, suck it up, drive on and do this deal one day at a time.

Best of luck my friend, I will pray for you and you do the same for me

Re: Any Hope for Hopeless Situation?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2007, 08:55:53 AM »
Like I qualified TWICE in my post, I didn't mean for it to be a put-down or anything like that (since you quoted me there, completely out of context) I just don't think law school is for everyone - and personally I often doubt whether or not it is for me. All I was saying was that if you feel like its too much for you - then maybe it is? I'm not passing judgment - I just think everyone should evaluate what they are doing once in a while. I hope nothing but the best for the OP, and again, did not mean to be discouraging.

Re: Any Hope for Hopeless Situation?
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2007, 10:38:19 AM »
take the grade - and go to a Doc. and figure out why you are peeing your pants during exams

maybe it is mental health or maybe it is a bio-chem issue that can be resolved w/meds.  if you got something treatable & got like a whole letter grade lower than your average, then go back to the dean and be like "Look sucka, i had a problem - but now it is fixed - see.  Be cool, and let me take it over"

if you have not addressed the problem - dean is going to be like "nah."  because it is unpredictable whether you will panic and retake and panic and retake and panic...

Re: Any Hope for Hopeless Situation?
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2007, 11:12:53 AM »

maybe it is mental health or maybe it is a bio-chem issue that can be resolved w/meds. 

Yeah, great idea. Alter the chemistry of your brain with powerful drugs so that you can overcome understandable exam anxiety.

But really, exams get MUCH less stressful after 1L. MUCH less.