Thank you TLS

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Peg
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Thank you TLS

Postby Peg » Wed May 30, 2012 12:06 pm

A few of you may remember me from this thread back in January. After a spring semester of hard work, reflection, frequent self-doubt, and a dead feeling in my heart, I ended up with straight As in my substantive classes, median in LRW, and ranked in the top quarter. As you can imagine, I was relieved and happy. And completely shocked.

I wanted to thank you all for giving me advice and support back in January, especially those who reached out to me privately with detailed advice and nice, comforting words. That helped. I hope everyone else who failed fall semester as badly as I did turned it around this semester too, and I hope others can find this an encouraging read.

And now to go out and drink like I've been thirsty for centuries.

swt
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby swt » Wed May 30, 2012 12:09 pm

Peg wrote:A few of you may remember me from this thread back in January. After a spring semester of hard work, reflection, frequent self-doubt, and a dead feeling in my heart, I ended up with straight As in my substantive classes, median in LRW, and ranked in the top quarter. As you can imagine, I was relieved and happy. And completely shocked.

I wanted to thank you all for giving me advice and support back in January, especially those who reached out to me privately with detailed advice and nice, comforting words. That helped. I hope everyone else who failed fall semester as badly as I did turned it around this semester too, and I hope others can find this an encouraging read.

And now to go out and drink like I've been thirsty for centuries.

no one cares

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stillwater
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby stillwater » Wed May 30, 2012 12:12 pm

swt wrote:
Peg wrote:A few of you may remember me from this thread back in January. After a spring semester of hard work, reflection, frequent self-doubt, and a dead feeling in my heart, I ended up with straight As in my substantive classes, median in LRW, and ranked in the top quarter. As you can imagine, I was relieved and happy. And completely shocked.

I wanted to thank you all for giving me advice and support back in January, especially those who reached out to me privately with detailed advice and nice, comforting words. That helped. I hope everyone else who failed fall semester as badly as I did turned it around this semester too, and I hope others can find this an encouraging read.

And now to go out and drink like I've been thirsty for centuries.

no one cares


Pretty harsh dude. Glad things worked out for you OP.

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dowu
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby dowu » Wed May 30, 2012 12:13 pm

:shock: :shock:
Last edited by dowu on Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dixon02
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby dixon02 » Wed May 30, 2012 12:27 pm

swt wrote:
Peg wrote:A few of you may remember me from this thread back in January. After a spring semester of hard work, reflection, frequent self-doubt, and a dead feeling in my heart, I ended up with straight As in my substantive classes, median in LRW, and ranked in the top quarter. As you can imagine, I was relieved and happy. And completely shocked.

I wanted to thank you all for giving me advice and support back in January, especially those who reached out to me privately with detailed advice and nice, comforting words. That helped. I hope everyone else who failed fall semester as badly as I did turned it around this semester too, and I hope others can find this an encouraging read.

And now to go out and drink like I've been thirsty for centuries.

no one cares


Makes you wonder why people hate lawyers.

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TTTLS
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby TTTLS » Wed May 30, 2012 12:55 pm

Yeeaaahhh baby! HA! HA! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, MrAnon!

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Br3v
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby Br3v » Wed May 30, 2012 12:56 pm

Congrats OP that's awesome

LockBox
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby LockBox » Wed May 30, 2012 12:57 pm

Peg wrote:A few of you may remember me from this thread back in January. After a spring semester of hard work, reflection, frequent self-doubt, and a dead feeling in my heart, I ended up with straight As in my substantive classes, median in LRW, and ranked in the top quarter. As you can imagine, I was relieved and happy. And completely shocked.

I wanted to thank you all for giving me advice and support back in January, especially those who reached out to me privately with detailed advice and nice, comforting words. That helped. I hope everyone else who failed fall semester as badly as I did turned it around this semester too, and I hope others can find this an encouraging read.

And now to go out and drink like I've been thirsty for centuries.


So what do you think made the difference? What did you change up and what did you keep the same. Congrats, Peg

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moxy
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby moxy » Wed May 30, 2012 1:11 pm

swt wrote:
Peg wrote:A few of you may remember me from this thread back in January. After a spring semester of hard work, reflection, frequent self-doubt, and a dead feeling in my heart, I ended up with straight As in my substantive classes, median in LRW, and ranked in the top quarter. As you can imagine, I was relieved and happy. And completely shocked.

I wanted to thank you all for giving me advice and support back in January, especially those who reached out to me privately with detailed advice and nice, comforting words. That helped. I hope everyone else who failed fall semester as badly as I did turned it around this semester too, and I hope others can find this an encouraging read.

And now to go out and drink like I've been thirsty for centuries.

no one cares


I care. Congrats OP!

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby BarbellDreams » Wed May 30, 2012 1:26 pm

Congrats, thats awesome. TLS should be mandatory for incoming 1L's.

bartleby
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby bartleby » Wed May 30, 2012 1:31 pm

moxy wrote:
swt wrote:
Peg wrote:A few of you may remember me from this thread back in January. After a spring semester of hard work, reflection, frequent self-doubt, and a dead feeling in my heart, I ended up with straight As in my substantive classes, median in LRW, and ranked in the top quarter. As you can imagine, I was relieved and happy. And completely shocked.

I wanted to thank you all for giving me advice and support back in January, especially those who reached out to me privately with detailed advice and nice, comforting words. That helped. I hope everyone else who failed fall semester as badly as I did turned it around this semester too, and I hope others can find this an encouraging read.

And now to go out and drink like I've been thirsty for centuries.

no one cares


I care. Congrats OP!


+1, congratss

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crumpetsandtea
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby crumpetsandtea » Wed May 30, 2012 2:16 pm

swt wrote:
Peg wrote:A few of you may remember me from this thread back in January. After a spring semester of hard work, reflection, frequent self-doubt, and a dead feeling in my heart, I ended up with straight As in my substantive classes, median in LRW, and ranked in the top quarter. As you can imagine, I was relieved and happy. And completely shocked.

I wanted to thank you all for giving me advice and support back in January, especially those who reached out to me privately with detailed advice and nice, comforting words. That helped. I hope everyone else who failed fall semester as badly as I did turned it around this semester too, and I hope others can find this an encouraging read.

And now to go out and drink like I've been thirsty for centuries.

no one cares

Shut the fuck up, swt. I'm just an 0L and even I care. CONGRATS Peg, thanks for coming back and posting about it...it's nice for us incoming 1Ls to see encouraging posts like this. I'm so glad you ROCKED your Spring Semester. You deserve it!!! :mrgreen:

Peg
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby Peg » Thu May 31, 2012 12:10 am

Thanks everyone.

LockBox wrote:So what do you think made the difference? What did you change up and what did you keep the same. Congrats, Peg


Honestly, my study routine was still a little unorthodox. Two big criticisms came out of my fall study method, which were 1) not reading for class and 2) not knowing how to take an exam. This time I did the reading, but very sporadically, and most of the time I still relied on supplement + copying professor's words verbatim. I used supplements that were keyed to my casebook or that 2Ls/3Ls told me matched my professor's take on the subject. I also heavily used old outlines.

The biggest difference was my approach to taking practice exams. Incoming 1Ls, take this with a grain of salt just like you would take all the other advice threads out here: what works for me may not work for you, and it also depends on your professor. For exam practice, I did not once open Getting to Maybe, LEEWS, etc. I used all those exam guides last time and they either hurt me or I just didn't absorb anything from them. Instead, I studied the model answers from last semester and then went over my answers in excruciating detail. It was a painful process, not because of the work involved but because it hurts to see how stupid mistakes really cost you points.

I started taking practice exams early and the difference this time is that I reflected thoughtfully on everything I wrote.

Organization: Should I organize this by party or by cause of action? Which looks neater/cleaner and which is faster to write? This changed for different subjects, whereas last semester I used the same organization (everything by party) for every exam last time and on at least one of them, I realized that it slowed me down and made me get repetitive in my analysis.

Include Everything: Did I forget to discuss everything that is dispositive, to make sure I'm not losing easy points? For example, if you're analyzing a personal jurisdiction question then you need to mention that Shaffer and Burnham leave open the possibility that all PJ questions require minimum contact/fair play analysis...but then even if the fact pattern isn't a stream of commerce case, you can't just ignore the stream of commerce analysis, you have to say Asahi doesn't apply and why.

And apply the policy stuff each time. If the professor told an anecdote to express his take on the issue, include that.

I continued one thing that I did last semester, and that was read the professor's articles - not just law review stuff, but his blog, his articles for newspapers/magazines, etc. So I flattered him by including tidbits from all of that even if it applied to the issue only tangentially.

State All Your Assumptions: I also checked if I made "common sense" jumps in my reasoning, which is another way to easily lose points. Also, just like the LSAT, sometimes your assumptions will trip you up. Read the facts very carefully, because you might assume something that has actually no basis in the facts. For example, in a criminal law fact pattern you might read about how Ben shot Apple Blossom 7 times at close range and then fled as she lay bleeding in the dirt with her intestines coming out. That might be written in a way that strongly suggests Apple Blossom died, but read the facts again: does it explicitly say that Apple Blossom died, or does it just bring her so close to death that it looks like death is guaranteed? Unless the death is explicitly stated, you need to remember to mention attempted murder as well as murder, and state your assumptions clearly.

Figure Out What Matters: Which of these are red herrings and which are the issues that are really central to the fact pattern? Fact patterns are just a minefield of possible issues, of course, that's the nature of a race-horse exam, and picking up the issues that matter the most and analyzing them first is essential because those are the issues with the most points attached to them. Sometimes the fact pattern will include a group of facts that seem to support an inference at first glance, and you'll get excited and waste time reading them more closely to see if they really do support that inference, but then it will turn out that they don't and it was just a red herring put in there to distract you and waste your time. Practice exams help you get good at spotting the red herrings. This is especially true if your professor likes to do it a lot.

Pre-Write Your Answers: Pre-writing an answer isn't about helping you apply the facts so much as helping you improve the way your application is presented. I learned that memorizing the law cold wasn't enough to help me write my analysis the way I wanted to. To do well on an exam you have to 1) get all the issues and 2) WRITE WELL. Some people and some study aids will say you don't have to write well, but this advice, though it has some truth in it, is misleading. This is why: you're not the only one who will spot the most number of issues and analyze them well. Lots of people will manage that. They might even have read the same law review articles and blog posts that you did and included that in their exam answers as well. So how do you distinguish yourself from them?

What I realized, after taking a practice exam, was that although I recalled all the information perfectly, I stumbled on some basic things. For example how do I concisely and comprehensively define the issue? In all my studying, I focused way more on analyzing and applying the law than defining the law. And I also didn't focus on the way I would present my analysis either. Your prose doesn't have to be elegant, but it should be tidy and high quality. Some people can do this off the cuff on a huge time-cruncher of an exam, but I either start rambling tangentially or get lost in the details - I basically lose focus when I try to write nicely on an exam.

So I wrote out the answer template in my outline. For example, in con law you know you're going to get a commerce clause question. So in your outline, do this:
STEP 1: Write this. [commerce clause definition]
STEP 2: Write this. [Does commerce clause apply? --> explore Jackson's three categories, etc.]
Credit for this idea goes to another student's outline I pulled up from the internet. This method helped me put in all the little nuances, details and cases into my analysis that I'd run the risk of otherwise either forgetting or not devoting enough time to otherwise.

It's also nice if you're the type who might get nervous during an exam and blank out/freeze. My word count went through the roof when I tried this method.

Use Office Hours Wisely: When I wanted to ask questions, I scheduled individual one-on-one Q&A time with the professor (i.e. I never went with another student) and when I wanted to hear what others had to say, I would go to the TA's office hours. The reason is that unlike in undergraduate programs, the TA will rarely see you alone. If you email the TA the schedule a time to ask questions, out of fairness the TA will email the whole class to either let them know what you asked (leaving your name out, of course) and share the answer with them, or to inform the class that there will be TA office hours and everyone is invited to come. Despite this I still went to the TA - he/she took the class and booked it, after all, and plus your classmates will come up with interesting questions you might not have thought of. But save your own questions for the professor, and ask them privately. And ask really specific questions, as narrow as possible.

Memorize Everything: Even with the pre-written answers method, you still have to know everything cold.

So that's basically what I did. I spent 90% of my time just learning how to write an exam for each subject and each professor, and learning my personal disadvantages (not a super-fast typer, slight exam anxiety) so that I can find solutions to my disadvantages. I became a little obsessive and warped in my viewpoint, until I would headdesk in despair that I could never write the most perfect exam answer. I couldn't stop thinking about the top ten students from the fall semester and how god-like and spiritually awe-inspiring their exam answers would be, and then I'd have to take a break to get that out of my mind.

For me, my own negative thoughts were often my worst enemy, so my 1L advice to incoming 1Ls (and it's general life advice too, now when I come to think of it) is: don't compare yourself to others. You will be tempted to go down that road more than ever during 1L, but DON'T do it. It will only either make you unnecessarily insecure or give you a false sense of confidence because really, you have absolutely no way of knowing who will succeed and who will not. I gunned harder than a lot of kids in the fall, and still ended up below the curve. One girl who was intimidating, arrogant and an obsessive gunner ended up median-pwned, and a wonderfully airheaded frat boy, who routinely shows how ignorant he is of everything that goes on in the world, ended up in the top 15.

The same advice is even more important in the spring, because the kids who booked exams in the fall might become cockier or more aloof, and it might dishearten you. But remember that their cockiness is your advantage, and besides doing well in one class doesn't mean someone will automatically get all their other classes. Every exam is a fresh slate and there's still an even playing field as far as preparing for that exam goes, so DO NOT ever let yourself despair like I did.

So yeah, that was my technique and my advice. Feel free to ask anything else though.
Last edited by Peg on Thu May 31, 2012 12:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

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MrPapagiorgio
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Thu May 31, 2012 12:22 am

BarbellDreams wrote:Congrats, thats awesome. TLS should be mandatory for incoming 1L's.

TLS would be more effective if it reduced the number of incoming 1L's.

adonai
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby adonai » Thu May 31, 2012 12:31 am

Congrats and great job Peg
Last edited by adonai on Thu May 31, 2012 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

071816
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby 071816 » Thu May 31, 2012 12:31 am

my pleasure

lawyerdown27
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby lawyerdown27 » Thu May 31, 2012 12:36 am

Great hustle OP

Peg
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby Peg » Thu May 31, 2012 1:07 am

adonai wrote:I was wondering how you managed to get over the depression/demotivation of a dismal first semester. I went through something like you did during first semester and I did not recover. Funny thing is despite the fact I did almost none of the reading this semester, I am on par to finish either the same or slightly better than first semester. Law school is a funny thing.


Good question. I'm not sure I ever completely got over it, but I did manage to pull myself out of my catatonic veggie state by some time in mid-late February. Until then I was either crying nonstop, eating my feelings until I probably gained ten pounds, staring listlessly at my ceiling/wall/TV, or telling my parents I just wanted to leave law school because there was no point. On top of all that my boyfriend, who had to deal with an increasingly neurotic, highly-strung Peg who barely had time for him (or anyone else) during the fall and a depressed Peg in January/February, dumped me. So it was a big bad ball of suckitude and I don't think I have ever felt so low.

Part of me didn't want to give up, but part of me did. So I started having conversations like this with myself (not out loud):
"You're going to feel even worse in August when nobody wants to interview you because you gave up now. It's not over yet."
"But I'll feel even worse if I tried harder this semester and STILL FAIL EVERYTHING and have more loans to pay off and no job offers. There's no point, my life is just done."

The process of building up my self-esteem and determination was a gradual, slow one. I didn't have an "Aha!" moment or that miraculous experience where everything just fits together and my energy and spirit are renewed. Nothing like that. I couldn't share my shame with anyone except my parents (my friends, roommates, etc all knew how hard I'd studied, so I couldn't tell them my grades), so it was my parents I turned to for support. They told me to put my Big Girl Pants on and deal with it, but obviously more gently. They also put my failure in perspective and tried to make me understand that it didn't have to dictate what might happen in the spring. I didn't believe them, but I told myself that if two people have so much faith me, then I owe it to them to at least try. And I told myself that I have no control over the outcome, but I do have some control over the process that leads to the outcome.

Almost every day when I studied, I was distracted by the same cycle of depressing thoughts, so I started writing in a journal every morning before I even went to class. It wasn't so much an "I did this yesterday and this and this" type of journal so much as a place for deep introspection about myself, my life and all those philosophical questions. I asked a lot of questions about myself and tried to search for answers - and most of all, I tried to find reasons to like myself again, because I knew I would continue being passively self-destructive if I didn't get some self-esteem back.

I'm not sure that it worked, but I definitely focused better. I just felt a little grimly determined the whole time and said that no matter what, I owed it to myself and to my parents to give it my best shot before finally giving up. Whenever I started to feel confident and optimistic about a subject, I quashed it down. I had become wary of those feelings after being pwned last semester. I studied and practiced till I thought I ought to know it all, but the self-doubt and uncertainty never really went away. I don't think I got out of my depression so much as buried it temporarily.

I also distracted myself with friends, I went to movies and bars, I read the news and occasionally read one of those sensationalist Cracked articles about space science or whatever to remind myself that there is a bigger, more interesting world outside of law school.

I also - and I think this was important - forced myself to accept that my dreams might never come true and that I might never rise above median...and I had to make myself okay with that. I had to make myself see that life would continue and I would eventually find happiness even if I was a broke JD doing contract work in a podunk town somewhere. That was actually the most depressing and difficult thing to do, but once I resigned myself to it, suddenly the stakes weren't so high and intimidating anymore, and I truly had nothing to lose. What's the worst law school can do to me, ruin my shot at Biglaw? Ha, as if I have any chance at Biglaw anyway!

In hindsight, that wasn't very healthy and I'm not saying I recommend it, but for some reason it made me buck up and study really hard.

truevines
Posts: 198
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:16 pm

Re: Thank you TLS

Postby truevines » Thu May 31, 2012 2:12 am

Peg wrote:Thanks everyone.

LockBox wrote:So what do you think made the difference? What did you change up and what did you keep the same. Congrats, Peg


Honestly, my study routine was still a little unorthodox. Two big criticisms came out of my fall study method, which were 1) not reading for class and 2) not knowing how to take an exam. This time I did the reading, but very sporadically, and most of the time I still relied on supplement + copying professor's words verbatim. I used supplements that were keyed to my casebook or that 2Ls/3Ls told me matched my professor's take on the subject. I also heavily used old outlines.

The biggest difference was my approach to taking practice exams.

Pre-Write Your Answers: Pre-writing an answer isn't about helping you apply the facts so much as helping you improve the way your application is presented. I learned that memorizing the law cold wasn't enough to help me write my analysis the way I wanted to. To do well on an exam you have to 1) get all the issues and 2) WRITE WELL.


I think your success can be attributed mainly to taking practice exams and pre-writing your answers.

Answer templates help you to spot all the major issue, if not all the issues. In addition, you don't have to think about how to organize your thoughts/responses. It also save you the time to rephrase the law - you have more time to read the facts and find the so-called "forks."

The importance of taking practice exams is self-evident.

Congrats on your good work!

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queenlizzie13
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby queenlizzie13 » Thu May 31, 2012 9:22 am

Congrats OP! That is awesome.

I also think memorizing everything is really important in addition to practice tests. That way you are only looking at a one to two page checklist and then only flipping through the outline once or maybe twice in case you blank and forget the definition of something, etc.

Helps write a lot more and it also helps in the event your professor doesn't have practice exams.

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iThwl
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby iThwl » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:09 pm

Really good write-up on law school prep/exams. Congrats and thanks, peg!
Last edited by iThwl on Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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diegoforlan10
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby diegoforlan10 » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:03 pm

Super congrats Peg! Its great to see someone helped so much by TLS. A reminder that this website isn't always the cesspool of negativity and egomania that it often seems - there really are some good people and success stories out there.

crossingforHYS
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby crossingforHYS » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:46 pm

.

jurisx
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby jurisx » Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:48 pm

And the case the OP gave is the reason is why I support people NOT dropping when they can avoid it.

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ilovesf
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Re: Thank you TLS

Postby ilovesf » Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:32 am

Congrats, Peg. I'm really happy things worked out for you!




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