What NOT to do in your first year of law school

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NOTxeoh
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What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby NOTxeoh » Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:50 pm

There are a bunch of great posts by successful law students on what to do and how to do it, and how to make it in America. This post will address some common and uncommon pitfalls from the FAILED experience of a first year law student. I am not MTal.

I believe for every Xeoh or Megatron or Arrow, there is one of me. The ratio may be greater but my fuck up is so extreme that I'm going to give it a 1:1.

What NOT TO DO in law school (from greatest importance to least important to rambling and crying):

1. Performance Enhancing Drugs

I do not know about the T14, but in my school, it is not extremely cutthroat, but there is still a lot of pressure to use PEDs. I do not know if this is addressed in other posts but 1/5 of my section is on Adderall. Even after Adderall hindered my performance on the LSAT, I went to a doctor, got an RX and have steadily upped it. Adderall does weird things to your brain. I am not sure I can get off Adderall, but when I was staring at 100 pages of dense reading and the pressure of "being the best or bust" - it sounded like a good idea. Adderall can hinder your sleep. So I started using another drug to help me sleep. I am also not sure if I can get off this drug easily.

You might think, "This would never happen to me! I am drug free!" but there is a lot of pressure because A LOT of people do use these PEDs. If you see someone carrying around a gallon of water, not eating, and dropping about 5 pounds a week, don't be intimidated, don't be peer pressured, don't think you can go on a 1-year drug rampage and "quit" because all that matters if your first year grades.

2. Read TLS so much that you think you can write a law school exam without practicing

This is a bit of a no brainer. I read TLS tips so often. I skimmed GTM. I "did" LEEWS while studying for something else. Idiotically, I somehow managed to NOT LEARN HOW TO WRITE A LAW SCHOOL EXAM because I felt like reading the warnings so many times would help me avoid this pitfall. With the right professors, law school can be an extremely exciting intellectual experience. Don't forget to put in your due diligence because ONE BLIND GRADED exam decides your fate. Taking practice exams is fucking boring when you can read something like the Hairy Hand case or the pure poetry that Cardozo can spit out in Con Law. "Ugly But Effective" is fucking boring and tedious to practice. One exam decides your grade in each class. You don't learn to ski by reading about how not to ski.

3. Get caught up in the game


This goes with 1 and 2. Even AFTER I below-median'd my first semester, most of the class believes I did really, really well. This is because when I get called on in class, I know the cases cold, I'm funny, and I sit up straight, and I reserve the nightmare that I am below median in a shit economy for times when I get home and wonder what the fuck I did wrong. Be social, be smart, be funny, be ready for class. These things are not mutually exclusive with doing well. But do not let it come at the expense of your SINGLE LETTER GRADE that determines who you are (in law school). It is easy to get caught up in the game of law school and creating the facade of being a successful student. Don't trick yourself. I'm not talking about gunning. There are gunners and there are secret gunners and then there are people who appear to know what they are talking about and did not do well. Do not fall into the last category.

4. Spend a lot of money "because all that matters if your first year grades"

I'm not saying don't spend money. But don't justify your every spending toward grades. Look, I came from a pretty poor background. I turned down at least one last minute T14 to get a huge scholarship. I still took out max loans to live in a nice neighborhood right by campus. I didn't cook a single goddamn meal the entire semester (but didn't eat at sit-down, white tablecloth restaurants either). These things add up. Coffee adds up. Supplements (books and drugs) you don't need add up. Rent, cable, smart phone bills, Internet, gas, insurance = debt. You may or may not need these things and at 8.0% interest, lean towards not needing them.

Xeoh commuted an hour or two to get to school. I'm sure other successful students splurged and it paid off. But some law students, like me, will spend a lot of money and think it will all be justified because it is just one year. Now, that $2,000 CC debt is looking mighty scary.

5. There really is no 5. 4 reasons just sounded stupid.

So background info without giving up who I am, if I have not already given up who I am. I'm at a strong regional school. I scored absurdly well on one LSAT attempt. I received a last minute almost full ride. It became a full ride after I got a grant. I turned down two T14 offers. One was a semi-offer which was like "keep waiting for a week" when class was about to start. I guess I am grateful because if I was 150,000 in the hole instead of 20,000 in the hole, I'd be bordering on suicide. If I am not already...

I never did drugs in high school or college, and if I did, they were not pharmaceuticals that will fuck you. I do have a paid job this summer but it may or may not be respectable. I most likely will drop out if I strike out at OCI with no fucking idea about what to do. I did not get a single A or A-. I have exams coming up and because I fucked up so hard first semester, I'm behind on my readings and still am not certain about how to take a practice exam.

Summary

The stark reality for me is if I hit 4 homers after batting 0-4, I might have a shot at OCIs. Think about that. Think about that in terms of baseball. Someone has never hit a home run before and needs four home runs. If he hits all four home runs, "the team" might have a 25% chance of winning. Not winning big law. Winning a job that justified going to law school. This someone also needs to figure out how to get off PEDs...

1. Don't do drugs - don't laugh or mock me, please. A lot of people do drugs for law school. I have heard a lot of people do drugs during big law practice too because it is cutthroat. Trust yourself. I wish I could say the same for me.

2. Practice exams - start as soon as possible. Form a group that realizes how important this is. Practice every week. It is stated so much by successful students that it should be stated by an unsuccessful student. Knowing where the pitfalls are does not mean you know how to avoid them. Sounds fucking stupid but it is true.

3. Don't get caught up in the game of law school. You will see the same people every day. Some people (like me) have a personality where they feel like they need to be accepted. You only need your fucking grades, really.

4. You don't need everything in the world to get good grades. Trust yourself.

5. "You may think that you're a player, but you're completely lost" - Shaggy, "Wasn't Me"

théo
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby théo » Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:21 pm

There are below-median students at every school after first semester. And yeah...it is pretty much the worst thing I've experienced in terms of hating/blaming myself constantly for what went wrong, plus the fear of striking out at OCIs.

Btw, I did a ton of practice exams. They aren't helpful if you're just reinforcing bad exam strategies....

t14fanboy
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby t14fanboy » Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:35 pm

what is this i don't even...

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I.P. Daly
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby I.P. Daly » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:13 pm

OP, could you explain the performance enhancing drug issue in more depth? For example, what exactly do you mean by "it does weird things to your brain?"

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sunynp
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby sunynp » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:27 pm

Dude - you need to deal with your drug issues, including the fact that adderall can cause anxiety. Adderall is not going to help with burnout. You can't just take a drug and work longer when your brain and body are exhausted. Adderall will help with attention and focus but it isn't going to solve sleep deprivation and burn out. Make sure you add in exercise.

Note: I managed to get very burned out in law school. For a while I needed to make myself take a 5 -10 minute break every 30 minutes!! It took a lot of discipline to make myself get up and take a walk outside or get a drink, but I did it. I had to set a timer on my phone. I also limited the total number of hours I studied in a day to 4 or 6 and eventually 8. I made myself stop because I knew if I didn't recover from my burnout my brain would never function well enough for exams. There is no substitute for not going into an exam rested and thinking quickly and clearly. Oh and being on the computer, phone or watching TV counts as work. All that stuff keeps your brain from resting. I still went out to the movies for a break, but didn't stream any at home.

Don't give up on this semester and keep working to get your grades up. It is possible to improve second semester. Figure out why you did badly on your exams last semester. Stop blaming yourself for what is now water under the bridge and go forward as best you can.

You forgot to mention the curve, the effect of the curve and how the curve can own anyone in law school. This is why you hear people on hear talk about how random law school grades can be, you aren't the only one who expects to do well and ends up below median.

Don't try to be Xeoh. Xeoh's schedule would be impossible for most people to manage without getting totally burned out. Figure out how you should study. Maybe check out lazy's guide to doing well, that might work for you.

And you made a very smart decision to take the scholarship money, 20,000 isn't too much debt to handle.
Last edited by sunynp on Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:30 pm

I.P. Daly wrote:OP, could you explain the performance enhancing drug issue in more depth? For example, what exactly do you mean by "it does weird things to your brain?"

on drugs.com it actually lists "unusual behavior" as a side effect for adderall.
http://www.drugs.com/adderall.html

I've taken it to study, and I was not only able to focus and study longer but I was able to absorb the material better. It did make me feel paranoid and on edge. My friend/roommate in college had a rx and he was always very irritable when he took it. This shit really helps you study like a mother, but the risk of addiction and side effects are not worth it......I think. It is an amphetamine and we all have heard the horror stories of what these types of drugs have done to people.

NOTxeoh
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby NOTxeoh » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:39 pm

Wasn't going to feed the troll but Adderall will have different effects on people. One sure thing is you will be thirsty. You will piss a lot. You will have a suppressed appetites. The worst part is it makes you feel like you can do anything. Or is that the best part... It makes you feel like you can read Chemerin in a day...like all drugs, it wears off and you need more

By makes you feel weird, I don't mean you are going to scream "FUCK" out loud in the middle of class. I mean I tried to quit after I got my horrific final grade back and looked at Con Law and got back on...

And Adderall isn't my biggest warning for others: it is the "other" drug that might make you sleep and eat. This one is problematic. No, it is not the pot.

As for me this semester, I haven't given up. Unfortunately, I haven't given up my "drug cocktail" yet - yes this is all RX - because I don't want it to fuck with me four weeks before doomsday. I will taper but that is my own issue.

This isn't about me - just a warning that I understand can/will easily be ignored.

Don't do drugs.

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I.P. Daly
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby I.P. Daly » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:52 pm

NOTxeoh, thank you for the explanation.

I actually was not trolling. I know several folks that use Adderall to study for finals. I had no idea that it's addictive, and I was not sure what you meant by "it does weird things to your brain."

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Mike12188
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby Mike12188 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:03 pm

Seems like you're abusing it regardless of your RX. If you actually needed and it was prescribed by a doctor looking out for you health and not just appeasing some college kid who went to find a cheaper way of attaining it, it should not affect your sleep pattern. You should have went back to a doctor and talked to him about your sleeping instead of trying to fix one drug problem with another. And if by "steadily upped" it you mean you decided to take more than prescribed to read, then it is clearly not the medicine that's the problem but rather you.

So, for those who are actually prescribed ADD medicine and use it correctly, keep doing so and don't abuse it. But in the end I do agree that grades are definitely not worth sacrificing your health. And I've never seen kids carrying around gallon water jugs because of Adderall. I have seen kids d-bags with water jugs at my undergrad school and they may have been on drugs, but probably roids not adderall.

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drmguy
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby drmguy » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:11 pm

NOTxeoh wrote:There are a bunch of great posts by successful law students on what to do and how to do it, and how to make it in America. This post will address some common and uncommon pitfalls from the FAILED experience of a first year law student. I am not MTal.

I believe for every Xeoh or Megatron or Arrow, there is one of me. The ratio may be greater but my fuck up is so extreme that I'm going to give it a 1:1.

What NOT TO DO in law school (from greatest importance to least important to rambling and crying):

1. Performance Enhancing Drugs

I do not know about the T14, but in my school, it is not extremely cutthroat, but there is still a lot of pressure to use PEDs. I do not know if this is addressed in other posts but 1/5 of my section is on Adderall. Even after Adderall hindered my performance on the LSAT, I went to a doctor, got an RX and have steadily upped it. Adderall does weird things to your brain. I am not sure I can get off Adderall, but when I was staring at 100 pages of dense reading and the pressure of "being the best or bust" - it sounded like a good idea. Adderall can hinder your sleep. So I started using another drug to help me sleep. I am also not sure if I can get off this drug easily.

You might think, "This would never happen to me! I am drug free!" but there is a lot of pressure because A LOT of people do use these PEDs. If you see someone carrying around a gallon of water, not eating, and dropping about 5 pounds a week, don't be intimidated, don't be peer pressured, don't think you can go on a 1-year drug rampage and "quit" because all that matters if your first year grades.

2. Read TLS so much that you think you can write a law school exam without practicing

This is a bit of a no brainer. I read TLS tips so often. I skimmed GTM. I "did" LEEWS while studying for something else. Idiotically, I somehow managed to NOT LEARN HOW TO WRITE A LAW SCHOOL EXAM because I felt like reading the warnings so many times would help me avoid this pitfall. With the right professors, law school can be an extremely exciting intellectual experience. Don't forget to put in your due diligence because ONE BLIND GRADED exam decides your fate. Taking practice exams is fucking boring when you can read something like the Hairy Hand case or the pure poetry that Cardozo can spit out in Con Law. "Ugly But Effective" is fucking boring and tedious to practice. One exam decides your grade in each class. You don't learn to ski by reading about how not to ski.

3. Get caught up in the game


This goes with 1 and 2. Even AFTER I below-median'd my first semester, most of the class believes I did really, really well. This is because when I get called on in class, I know the cases cold, I'm funny, and I sit up straight, and I reserve the nightmare that I am below median in a shit economy for times when I get home and wonder what the fuck I did wrong. Be social, be smart, be funny, be ready for class. These things are not mutually exclusive with doing well. But do not let it come at the expense of your SINGLE LETTER GRADE that determines who you are (in law school). It is easy to get caught up in the game of law school and creating the facade of being a successful student. Don't trick yourself. I'm not talking about gunning. There are gunners and there are secret gunners and then there are people who appear to know what they are talking about and did not do well. Do not fall into the last category.

4. Spend a lot of money "because all that matters if your first year grades"

I'm not saying don't spend money. But don't justify your every spending toward grades. Look, I came from a pretty poor background. I turned down at least one last minute T14 to get a huge scholarship. I still took out max loans to live in a nice neighborhood right by campus. I didn't cook a single goddamn meal the entire semester (but didn't eat at sit-down, white tablecloth restaurants either). These things add up. Coffee adds up. Supplements (books and drugs) you don't need add up. Rent, cable, smart phone bills, Internet, gas, insurance = debt. You may or may not need these things and at 8.0% interest, lean towards not needing them.

Xeoh commuted an hour or two to get to school. I'm sure other successful students splurged and it paid off. But some law students, like me, will spend a lot of money and think it will all be justified because it is just one year. Now, that $2,000 CC debt is looking mighty scary.

5. There really is no 5. 4 reasons just sounded stupid.

So background info without giving up who I am, if I have not already given up who I am. I'm at a strong regional school. I scored absurdly well on one LSAT attempt. I received a last minute almost full ride. It became a full ride after I got a grant. I turned down two T14 offers. One was a semi-offer which was like "keep waiting for a week" when class was about to start. I guess I am grateful because if I was 150,000 in the hole instead of 20,000 in the hole, I'd be bordering on suicide. If I am not already...

I never did drugs in high school or college, and if I did, they were not pharmaceuticals that will fuck you. I do have a paid job this summer but it may or may not be respectable. I most likely will drop out if I strike out at OCI with no fucking idea about what to do. I did not get a single A or A-. I have exams coming up and because I fucked up so hard first semester, I'm behind on my readings and still am not certain about how to take a practice exam.

Summary

The stark reality for me is if I hit 4 homers after batting 0-4, I might have a shot at OCIs. Think about that. Think about that in terms of baseball. Someone has never hit a home run before and needs four home runs. If he hits all four home runs, "the team" might have a 25% chance of winning. Not winning big law. Winning a job that justified going to law school. This someone also needs to figure out how to get off PEDs...

1. Don't do drugs - don't laugh or mock me, please. A lot of people do drugs for law school. I have heard a lot of people do drugs during big law practice too because it is cutthroat. Trust yourself. I wish I could say the same for me.

2. Practice exams - start as soon as possible. Form a group that realizes how important this is. Practice every week. It is stated so much by successful students that it should be stated by an unsuccessful student. Knowing where the pitfalls are does not mean you know how to avoid them. Sounds fucking stupid but it is true.

3. Don't get caught up in the game of law school. You will see the same people every day. Some people (like me) have a personality where they feel like they need to be accepted. You only need your fucking grades, really.

4. You don't need everything in the world to get good grades. Trust yourself.

5. "You may think that you're a player, but you're completely lost" - Shaggy, "Wasn't Me"


0 practice exams and top 5%. Try again

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johansantana21
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby johansantana21 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:20 pm

Not bad. Reading posts like these gives me motivation not to end up below median.

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Corsair
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby Corsair » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:26 pm

..

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drmguy
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby drmguy » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:29 pm

TatteredDignity wrote:
drmguy wrote:0 practice exams and top 5%. Try again


[img]cool story bro]

I always tell people to follow their professors and themselves. There isn't a mechanical formula for doing well.

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Corsair
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby Corsair » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:34 pm

..

lobolawyer
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby lobolawyer » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:43 pm

drmguy wrote:
TatteredDignity wrote:
drmguy wrote:0 practice exams and top 5%. Try again


[img]cool story bro]

I always tell people to follow their professors and themselves. There isn't a mechanical formula for doing well.


Also, I've heard that red bull, 5 hour energy, and diet coke work wonders for some people. I'm not a fan of caffeine, so I wouldn't know. I think maintaining a consistent exercise regiment is paramount in law school.

t14fanboy
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby t14fanboy » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:48 pm

If not troll, could you clarify what you meant about TLS making you complacent about exam taking? Every 1L guide on TLS seems to drive in that honing that skill is the most important thing you can do...

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Sapientia
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby Sapientia » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:49 pm

Are you taking xanax every night so that you can sleep?

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drmguy
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby drmguy » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:53 pm

t14fanboy wrote:If not troll, could you clarify what you meant about TLS making you complacent about exam taking? Every 1L guide on TLS seems to drive in that honing that skill is the most important thing you can do...

It depends on you. Honestly, there is no better tip than it depends on you/your professor. Some people(me) just don't benefit from doing practice exams over and over. I would hope that after 4 years of college you would know what works best for you. Repeat whatever works best for you.

EDIT...This is why I NEVER suggest a specific supplement or method.

lobolawyer
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby lobolawyer » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:54 pm

Sapientia wrote:Are you taking xanax every night so that you can sleep?


Sounds like pot. But that's just a guess based on OP's denial that the pot makes OP want to eat more.
Last edited by lobolawyer on Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:07 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Sapientia
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby Sapientia » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:54 pm

lobolawyer wrote:
Sapientia wrote:Are you taking xanax every night so that you can sleep?


Sounds like pot. But that's just a guess based on OP's denial that the pot makes OP want to eat more.


He said it wasn't pot like 10 poasts up.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:57 pm

Took ambien once and I ate a half gallon of ice cream. A lot if sedatives cause people to eat.

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Sapientia
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby Sapientia » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:57 pm

drmguy wrote:
t14fanboy wrote:If not troll, could you clarify what you meant about TLS making you complacent about exam taking? Every 1L guide on TLS seems to drive in that honing that skill is the most important thing you can do...

It depends on you. Honestly, there is no better tip than it depends on you/your professor. Some people(me) just don't benefit from doing practice exams over and over. I would hope that after 4 years of college you would know what works best for you. Repeat whatever works best for you.

EDIT...This is why I NEVER suggest a specific supplement or method.


What do you do? If you don't take practice exams, what do you do to prepare?

Just curious. I did well, and to study for exams I memorized my outlines and took a ton of practice exams. I don't know how else I would have studied.

lobolawyer
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby lobolawyer » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:02 am

Sapientia wrote:
lobolawyer wrote:
Sapientia wrote:Are you taking xanax every night so that you can sleep?


Sounds like pot. But that's just a guess based on OP's denial that the pot makes OP want to eat more.


He said it wasn't pot like 10 poasts up.


OP said that his biggest warning wasn't adderall, it was the other drug (not pot) that makes you want to eat. My guess is that OP uses pot for sleep.

Edit: or I guess that OP uses pot for something else. It just seemed random to me that OP would randomly deny that using pot was the source of some problem.

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drmguy
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby drmguy » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:07 am

Sapientia wrote:
drmguy wrote:
t14fanboy wrote:If not troll, could you clarify what you meant about TLS making you complacent about exam taking? Every 1L guide on TLS seems to drive in that honing that skill is the most important thing you can do...

It depends on you. Honestly, there is no better tip than it depends on you/your professor. Some people(me) just don't benefit from doing practice exams over and over. I would hope that after 4 years of college you would know what works best for you. Repeat whatever works best for you.

EDIT...This is why I NEVER suggest a specific supplement or method.


What do you do? If you don't take practice exams, what do you do to prepare?

Just curious. I did well, and to study for exams I memorized my outlines and took a ton of practice exams. I don't know how else I would have studied.

I learn by reading explanations(THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU DO AS WELL). Therefore, doing practice exams doesn't help me as much as reading model answers. Tons of people suffer in law school by adopting other people's study methods and they shouldn't do that. Step one, know how you learn. Step two, know what your professor wants. Example-I already said I learn by reading explanations. Step 1 done. Next, I found out exactly what my professors wanted. One taught class verbatim from a hornbook so I outlined the hornbook. One taught verbatim from the textbook so I outlined the textbook. The last was strictly lecture so I outlined lecture.

Never read any of my suggestions as guidelines for you to follow. The only information you should ever get from my posts on how to do well in law school is to know yourself and know what your professors want.
Moral of the story is know yourself and know your professors.

There is no mechanical method to mastering law school.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: What NOT to do in your first year of law school

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:11 am

People who take uppers often get addicted to sleep and anxiety medicine. Ambien, which is highly addictive, has caused many to go on eating binges. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... Id=5280950




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