Well, here it is: The eve of my first day of law school. I have decided to start a blog to chronicle the process and help flesh out my thoughts. Perhaps it will serve as guide to some future students. I'd like to take my first post to talk about the past week or so, including moving, orientation, meeting people and surveying the social scene and preparing.
First and foremost I moved about two weeks ago from my home state of Michigan, where I have lived all my life, to Florida. Before I left, I wanted to have roommates and a living situation figured out. No such luck. I did happen to connect with another Michigander who was attending the same law school and we decided to be roommates. It was a bit of a shotgun marriage which was definitely not thought out in its entirety, but hindsight is 20/20.
That really is neither here nor there, it is what it is. Moving on to getting settled and meeting people. My section, as well as others, set up happy hour nights for social mixers. The turnout was marginal, about 10-12 people out of a section of 100, but it was good to get to know some other people. Everyone is trying to size one another up while at the same time trying to be friendly, it was interesting interaction. People try to show off bits of knowledge that impress. Some are adept at doing it subtly, others not so much. Most importantly for me, was that while I may not have had all the glitz and glam to show off, I was for the most part a stranger in a strange place with only as many belongings as I could fit in a car, I wanted to be sure that I felt confident that I could outwork everyone if need be. If I'm disciplined enough to be the last one in the library, it isn't that the work took me the longest, it's that I was the last man standing.
Orientation was less useful for the information it provided but more useful as a getting to know you session. Everyone is nice but reserved. I myself am having a hard time drawing a line on how good of friends to be with people while they are also my competition. I feel that if I open up too much I am putting myself at a disadvantage. I ran into this problem again Thursday night when the 3L's threw a party for 1L's. It was pretty cool of them to do that for us. It was a good time to mingle and I ran into a 3L that I knew who helped show me the ropes. Still I had some nagging questions about whether or not I should be expecting help from these people in the future. Like if the introductions and acquaintances I was making were just paying lip service to be nice or if they were extending themselves to be available to help out in the future.
At this point I have more unanswered questions still than answered ones. My roommate was voicing complaint about his situation the other day (aka my roommate was bitching) and I told him time was the prescription. I think that is advice I should take for myself as well. As you can tell, I am concerned with the social dynamic going on around me. Well the academic side of things, not to be outdone, is proving to be a rolling boil, each bubble a new question. I think to summarize it best would be to say that the opportunity cost is always heavy on my mind. If I am sitting down watching a half an hour of tv I can't relax because I think that I should be doing some sort of work. Even when my casebook readings were done there are still hornbooks, E&Es and other supplements.
As of now I feel a little ahead of the game on reading and I want to keep it that way. I have class usually from 10-4 with a couple hour break in between. I plan to use that break to study, and then hit the library for a few(3-4) hours each day after class. I have no Friday class so I can study Friday-Sat-Sun as much as needed. If I stay diligent it shouldn't be more than maybe 15 hours on the weekends. I am also concerned with working out and eating right. I think I can eat marginally healthy, cereal and fruit in the mornings and something healthy (chicken breast and vegetables) in the evening while probably getting lunch from something like Jimmy Johns. I am worried it will be hard to find time to go to the gym because I've found that working out late at night has a tendency to keep me up later....something I do not want. I can easily get a few mile run in after the library on weeknights, and can then get to the actual gym on the weekends.
As for further strategy, I know that everything I do needs to be done for the exam. That is where the grade comes from and it is the grade that matters. There is a great article about strategy on TLS, and I plan to use the ideas and concepts outlined in it as a guide for my studying and strategy for the semester. I will be using the hornbooks and E&Es to supplement the casebook to gain a comprehensive, encompassing approach in the subjects of study. The goal is to have command of the subject by exam time so that I can work the ins and outs of the issues on the exam in the appropriate context. Wish me luck, thanks for reading, and I hope to post again in this blog next week.
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