Sunday, August 24, 2008

PSA: First Week of School Advice, Version 1.0

Congratulations, 1Ls. You're here, you're in, you've signed on for a solid 3 years of angst. Yippy skippy, right? As promised, I have some words of wisdom for you. There will be more forthcoming- you know I like to talk.

1. First things first: Sit yourself down. Have a heart to heart. Do you have groceries? Have you called your mother? Where are your shoes. Take care of the basics before you launch into a panic attack about your summer job. Do your reading. If you don't understand it, do it again.

2. Repeat to yourself:
This is not a competition. This is not a competition.

The irony is (haha!)- it is a competition. Your grades are going to be curved- the better your best friend does...hey guess what? The worse you do. There is nothing you can do about this- but believe me, nobody knows how they'll do first semester.

Wait till Little Lucy Library Rat actually gets her grades back before you start worrying about keeping up with her. Believe me, you don't want to be like Lucy. Get down with your zen self and figure out what works best for you.

Remember when your mother said "it takes all kinds"? It takes all kinds in law school, too.

3. Law Students Tend To Lie: There is a one in 50 chance that the guy who just told you he finished the reading in 45 minutes actually did. There is a none in 50 chance that he understood it, if he did. Pretty much everyone is reading more, or less, than they say there are. Unless they are doing your reading for you (have them call me, I tip well), their alleged reading time/level of understanding has no bearing on you.

Except, you should definitely make fun of them if they get too obnoxious. It will build character.

4. DON'T be THAT guy
: Grading, typically, is blind. If you have a question, hop to and ask it, but remember- face time won't necessarily equate with a better grade. Also, if, 4 weeks in, there is no one in your class that causes their neighbors to heave heavy sighs and roll their eyes: SHUT YOUR MOUTH. That person is you. More listening, less talking.

4. Get yourself a hobby: You'll need it. You won't be good at law school at first...but look how clever you are at model plane building! Feel better? I thought so.

5. Learn to cook. Learn to eat: And learn to enjoy both.

6. Don't go buy a new wardrobe. Get a good suit to interview in - but hey, 1Ls? You can't do the job thing until December 1st, so find one you'll actually like. You have time.

Young 'uns: Remember, this marks the end of the "flip flops and jeans are appropriate day wear" era. Don't go buttoning yourself into sweaters and sensible shoes if you wouldn't gravitate toward them, or you'll end up with a closet full of your mother's clothing, and nothing to wear, come October.

No, of course I don't know anyone with this particular problem, but I do have sweaters in 7 different shades of green, if you're looking for something to wear to the nursing home on Friday night.

7. Don't forget: Law is fun. I promise. Sure, your professors will be sadistic, your classmates psychotic, and it is virtually guaranteed that you'll have some sort of dramatic break with reality in the stacks late one Tuesday night...but there's humor here- I promise. Also, have you noticed we all like to talk about how horrible it is? That's because sometimes, we get bored. And we are cynical, but we love to talk. I didn't tell you this, but it probably isn't as bad as They have been telling you...but a year from now- uphill. In the snow. Both ways.

Remember: this is your initiation into the legal fraternity. There's bound to be some naked running and some weird rituals, but ultimately, you'll be glad you rushed.


Brooklyn said...

Fantastic post! I am so lucky to have friends who have similiar strategies for survival as you. I did grocery shop, I have cooked healthy dinners that will last a few days, I did post a note on my door that say..."STOP, do you have....gym clothes, homework, books, ipod, cell phone...etc." I did make it a point to make phone calls in my free time. AND I did spend 5-6 hours reading and re-reading and reading precedent cases, and reading the black letter law, and guess what ....loved every minute of it. I did have to read the Winterbottom case about 6 times but you know what I loved it.

I am waiting to buy the more sensible wardrobe until winter since summer is almost over but I try to dress wifebeater tanks or flip flops.

I really love this so far, it is very hard work and it has tested my confidence since I am used to being able to figure stuff out pretty easily. But the challenge is exciting! I hope I can keep it together. Thank you so much for the tips!

no634 said...

Wait, flipflops aren't appropriate?!

All rights reserved to my snotty and generally self-deprecating writing. And if your comments bother me, I'll delete them. That's right, pumpkin.
...How dreary—to be—Somebody!
How public—like a Frog—
To tell one's name—the livelong June—
To an admiring Bog!
-- Emily Dickinson