Saturday, January 06, 2018

Things I learned my First Semester of Law School

Hello, my lovely readers! I am back from my first semester of law school. I thought I was going to be able to blog, work, and go to law school at the same time but as you can tell that was obviously a FAIL. I also thought that I was going to blog over winter break, well you can see that did not go as planned either. Anyways, I am back and learned how to manage my time better. My first semester of law school was an experience for sure. I learned a lot about myself, my work/ study habits, and of course about the law. These are a few things that I learned along the way.

1. Outline Early. This is so essential to your success on your exams. I highly suggest outlining early, not only will it help you on your exams at the end of the semester, but it will also help you reiterate and understand the information taught in class by the professor. I started outlining close to the end of the semester and some of my confusion during the course was because I did not see the big picture that I could have only understood by outlining. If I had started earlier, I would not have been so confused. Also, it is very stressful to outline and memorize/study information under a time constraint so the earlier you start, the better.

2. Do NOT compare yourself to others. I know this is easier said than done but this is something that needs to be done for your success and mental health. Comparing yourself to your peers will only cause a lot of stress, anxiety, and it is just nothing but trouble. I struggled with this a lot my first semester and I can say that it caused me more stress than good. Just focus on yourself and being the best student you can be.

3. Make Friends and Be nice. This is a no-brainer but some people go into law school thinking that this is graduate school and this is a competition (the dreaded curve does this) but if you think about it you are going into a profession that is based on networking. Everyone in their career is going to need help someday so just be kind and respectful because if you don't it might come back to bite you in the butt. You ever heard the saying it's not about what you know, it's about who you know. Well, that is very true, especially in a small town or state. I go to law school in the state of Maryland. Here, there are only two law schools you could choose from and they are both in the same city. Networking and making friends may help you get that summer internship/ externship or that post-graduation job you've always wanted, you never know. So, make friends and be nice.

4. Experiment. For the first semester of law school, even through the first year, it is okay to experiment and find what works well for you reading, learning, and studying wise. What works for one person to learn and retain information, might not work for you and what worked your for in undergrad might not work in law school. Learn to experiment and let things go that do not work. Also, be flexible and open-minded to new ideas and approaches. That is the only way you will find something that works for you.

5. It will not always click for you in the beginning, or even in the middle, but it will. Law school is a process. They are breaking down the way that you are used to thinking and rewiring your brain to start thinking like a lawyer. This process takes time. You have been through 18+ years of schooling learning and thinking in one way. Law school is a completely different experience and it is okay if it is confusing and frustrating at first, just keep trying. It will click eventually, I promise. Trust the process, it works!

6. GRADES. GRADES. GRADES. If you did well this semester, that is wonderful! You found what worked for you and you should stick to it. If you did not do as well as you planned, I would just say use your grades as motivation to do better. Reflect over what you did this semester and see where improvements can be made. Do not be discouraged!!  You got through your first semester of law school. You survived!! For me, my first semester grades did not turn out as well as I would have hoped, granted I had a lot going on but I do not want to use that as an excuse for my grades. I know I could have done better and will do better, this semester coming up which starts on Monday (help me!)

7. Everything will be OKAY! Do not doubt yourself. You made it this far, you took the LSAT, you got into law school, and you just finished your first semester. You are already on the journey. Do not give up on yourself. The road is long and hard but it will all be worth it!!

As Always... Thanks for reaading!

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