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December 07, 2004

Oh final exams, how I loathe you!

As I study for finals once again, in this, the third finals season of my law school “career,” I once again find myself having difficulty studying. I need to run an ad like this, too. Apparently, fear is a bad motivator for me. But as I try to make myself study, I'm also hoping that these stupid tests won't be as hard as I anticipate they will be. I've come up with a great rationalization for convincing myself that they won't be. I used to be a teacher; I've written and administered final exams. So I know that one of the things teachers do, collectively, almost without realizing it, is attempt to convince students that their exams are very difficult and important and must be taken seriously. This is because teachers have so little means by which to encourage students to actually study and maybe even remember some of the material covered in their classes. But I also know that my final exams were never as hard as I tried to make them sound; I knew that a smart student could get an A just by showing up in class most of the time and remembering a few of the things I'd said. I can only assume that law school exams are the same. While none of my professors has tried to make his (yes, all male profs this semester) final seem overly difficult, they don't have to; the difficulty of law school exams is legend. But that's just it—there's no way they could live up to their purported difficulty, is there? Spot a few issues, write a few essays about them. How hard can it be? ;-) One other thought on finals: This is the time when I once again become convinced that I am not cut out to be a lawyer, that I don't have what it takes, that I'm not good at the the things the legal profession requires and values, that I, in fact, hate the law, and that it hates me. I start thinking about what I will do when I drop or flunk out of law school. There's this guy who owns a little quickie mart a few blocks away where I go sometimes and he always seems happy; he just hangs out and reads books and listens to the radio and rings up a customer now and then. At finals time I start thinking, maybe I could do that, too. Maybe that would be just fine. Thankfully, now that I have a little, teensy weensy bit of experience working in legal offices, I can look at these feelings of inadequacy and imminent failure with a bit of perspective. When I was working last summer at the public defender's office, I didn't feel inadequate; in fact, I enjoyed just about every part of what I saw of that job. And when I've gone to work this semester at the civil law nonprofit where I've been working, I've enjoyed that a great, deal, as well. When I'm faced with a “real” legal task, I seem to be able to complete it just fine, and to even get some enjoyment out of the work. It's only when I'm faced with a law school final, and with all the anxiety, stress, and oh-my-gosh-my-whole-future-is-riding-on-this-grade hoohaw that goes with it—only then does my confidence crumble, my desire to complete this degree evaporate. So the lesson is simply that the cliche has proven true so far for me: Law school is not law practice, and just because you hate the school part doesn't mean you'll hate the practice part. (And btw, I don't hate the school part; I hate the finals part. The rest of the school part is ok, although it does leave a lot to be desired.) Um, but if anyone has some great study aids (I'm thinking killer concise reference charts or tables, stuff you can glance at for an overview or reference) for an introductory course in labor law or a standard sort of Con Law II survey, please do share.

Posted December 7, 2004 10:30 AM | 2L law school

northeastern kids share their stuff here. there are a good amount of labor law outlines, as well as links to other places. (we don't have a Con Law II class, so i'm not sure what that would correspond to on the site.)

Posted by: monica at December 7, 2004 04:14 PM

Very cool! Thank you!!!

Posted by: ambimb at December 7, 2004 07:44 PM

Why are you doing this? Don't you know your dissent only hurts your brave 1L soldiers? Why do you hate Lawmerica?!

Posted by: Mary at December 8, 2004 09:43 AM

With contracts behind me, Civ Pro in less than 15 hours and Torts yet to come, I'm finalizing my plans to start a country radio station (there isn't a single one in NYC!) and get Taco Cabana franchises up here. Honestly, I'll probably be serving humanity much better this way than if I actually passed, graduated and joined Dewey Cheatem & Howe. New York has plenty of lawyers, but apparently no breakfast tacos.

Posted by: PG at December 15, 2004 12:22 AM

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