Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

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Malcolm1991

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Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:54 pm

a
Last edited by Malcolm1991 on Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Nebby » Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:09 pm

There is a lot going on, so I'll start small. First, everything will be okay.

Are you able to keep up with the readings? Do you feel like you know what is going on during lecture? Are you taking notes during lecture, or just listening, or do you have a computer and tend to browse the internet while in class?

Malcolm1991

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:18 pm

I'm barely able to keep up, the majority of my time is spent just getting it done before the next class. In lectures sometimes I will understand some of what's going on but a lot of the time is spent lost. I try my best to take notes but it's a struggle to listen actively and keep up with taking good notes. (I barley had to take notes in undergrad so my note taking skills aren't great). I have a computer but I'm pretty good with not surfing the web and trying to listen even if I'm lost.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Nebby » Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:26 pm

Malcolm1991 wrote:I'm barely able to keep up, the majority of my time is spent just getting it done before the next class. In lectures sometimes I will understand some of what's going on but a lot of the time is spent lost. I try my best to take notes but it's a struggle to listen actively and keep up with taking good notes. (I barley had to take notes in undergrad so my note taking skills aren't great). I have a computer but I'm pretty good with not surfing the web and trying to listen even if I'm lost.

How many classes are you taking?

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Nebby » Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:29 pm

One suggestion: Try to get your readings done earlier. For instance, if you have 4 classes, you could do what I did in 1L. On thursdays, I read class 1's next week readings (2 or 3 hours). Friday, I read class 2's readings, Saturday class 3, sunday class 4, etc. On weekdays, I would spend 30 minutes reviewing (basically skimming what I read) each class for that day. So like on Mondays I had two classes, therefore I set aside 1 hour in the mornings to review the readings. This made the readings very fresh in my mind, and it allowed me to really "get" what was going on in lecture. This reading schedule was also a lot more managable than the method most students use, which is to read a class' readings the night before. When everyone else was reading on a monday, I was home going for a run, cooking dinner, playing some video games or watching netflix, and able to go to sleep by 10pm or 11pm without any stress. It was incredibly helpful.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:37 pm

I have six classes and I definitely try and read for the them ahead of time but with six classes worth of reading it can get tricky. Plus the sheer amount of reading for each class makes it difficult as well, (100-120) avg. pages a week for each class. I don't mind working hard or even struggling if need be as long as I don't put myself in a 200k hole that I can't climb out of making 40-50k because of poor grades, that's my main concern right now unfortunately

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Shema » Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:40 pm

I wonder if your experience might be related to the law school pedagogy not being best suited to your learning style. Do you have any idea what type of learner you are. Law school rewards people that learn primarily from listening and reading. Visual and kinetic learners are really at a disadvantage.

But just because you are not following in class doesn't mean you can't write a competitive exam. Some students who perform at the top of the class can hardly stomach class and find it to be a complete bore or even painful to follow. Still I have seen these students do well.

The bottom line is that you must get to exam writing as soon as possible.

Also take a look at this exam template for Contracts. My mentor made a bunch of these for 1L courses and I found them very helpful because they take black letter law and tie the content to a step by step exam approach. Here's a link!

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4tpc ... Wl2YkxwRkE


Your success will depend on the exam. You still have time to prepare for exams and out perform many of your peers if your study is exam focused. Good luck and let me know if I can send you any other resources.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Nebby » Sun Nov 06, 2016 12:45 am

If you go into government or public service, you can combine PAYE and PSLF and end up not paying off your debt before it's discharged. That's also a feasible option

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Wolfie91 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 12:47 am

I'm assuming you're at UT or SMU. If so, I may be able to help with outlines or something, but they'd be old.

But dude, you have no idea where you stand until after exams. Outline your notes. Believe me, a ton of people in your class are confused. But when you start to outline and separate these hundreds of cases from basic black letter law, you begin to understand where you're at.

edit: you're definitely at SMU. 200k debt is kind of a commonality there.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby acr » Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:04 am

Everything will be fine, man.

You are probably doing better than you thought.

Give it your all until the exams are over, figure out where you are, and reassess then.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby sweets91 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:04 am

I agree with the above posters that you shouldn't lose hope because you haven't even taken your exams yet!

Just continue to work hard, do the readings, and ask for help from peers/upperclassmen/professors if you need it.

It really does help to befriend upperclassmen who can help you out with helping you understand exam format, and even have some outlines that they can give you.

Good luck

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby rcharter1978 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:53 am

Have you considered getting supplements? The E&Es for first year classes are pretty good. They will likely help you to understand some concepts.

When you read, maybe you don't need to really heavily read cases. Sometimes when I did that I got mired in the details and couldn't see the forest. It was better when I read faster because I skipped some of the unnecessary details and was able to see the point faster.

Maybe reading faster (not skimming per as, just a little less in depth) and supplementing with the e and e's will help you to grasp the concepts. I think it would be less frustrating because the supplements are pretty easy to follow.

And yes, go see your professor. I had a few professors tell me that people came in at the start and end of the semester, but it was crickets mid semester so they were happy to see students.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 10:54 am

Shema wrote:I wonder if your experience might be related to the law school pedagogy not being best suited to your learning style. Do you have any idea what type of learner you are. Law school rewards people that learn primarily from listening and reading. Visual and kinetic learners are really at a disadvantage.

But just because you are not following in class doesn't mean you can't write a competitive exam. Some students who perform at the top of the class can hardly stomach class and find it to be a complete bore or even painful to follow. Still I have seen these students do well.

The bottom line is that you must get to exam writing as soon as possible.

Also take a look at this exam template for Contracts. My mentor made a bunch of these for 1L courses and I found them very helpful because they take black letter law and tie the content to a step by step exam approach. Here's a link!

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4tpc ... Wl2YkxwRkE


Your success will depend on the exam. You still have time to prepare for exams and out perform many of your peers if your study is exam focused. Good luck and let me know if I can send you any other resources.



Thank you! that should help some as far as seeing the black letter law put out step by step.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:01 am

Nebby wrote:If you go into government or public service, you can combine PAYE and PSLF and end up not paying off your debt before it's discharged. That's also a feasible option


Yes those are the options I was told about, basically it was explained to me with both of those options I would be looking at 40-50k and paying on my 200k loans for 10 years before possible discharge. So I guess I'm trying to figure out if those numbers add up, considering government and public interest lawyer don't make 100k (from what I've been told anyone please correct me if I'm wrong). At this point I don't see how I can justify going 200k in debt if I can't make at least 100k if not coming out of school in the not to distant future

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:05 am

Wolfie91 wrote:I'm assuming you're at UT or SMU. If so, I may be able to help with outlines or something, but they'd be old.

But dude, you have no idea where you stand until after exams. Outline your notes. Believe me, a ton of people in your class are confused. But when you start to outline and separate these hundreds of cases from basic black letter law, you begin to understand where you're at.

edit: you're definitely at SMU. 200k debt is kind of a commonality there.


I mean I know I'm not the only one confused of course but just judging off of class and the % of time I'm lost doesn't give me the best feeling about how exams are going to go. As far as the debt from what I've heard (at the school I'm at) from others the most debt is 125k or less, so that also gives me pause thinking that 200k is a lot even for law school

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:10 am

I appreciate everyone's responses they have all been helpful and I'm definitely going to incorporate them into my efforts for this semester. My thing is more of my plan moving foward after the semester, while I will be working extremely hard to get a better grasp, if my grades end up being poor. I'm just looking to know if there is a career path for me that my low grades won't close the door on and that will pay enough to make 200k in loans workable and worth it in the first place????

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby mvp99 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 12:06 pm

Malcolm1991 wrote:I appreciate everyone's responses they have all been helpful and I'm definitely going to incorporate them into my efforts for this semester. My thing is more of my plan moving foward after the semester, while I will be working extremely hard to get a better grasp, if my grades end up being poor. I'm just looking to know if there is a career path for me that my low grades won't close the door on and that will pay enough to make 200k in loans workable and worth it in the first place????


No, there is no "career path." it is very unlikely that a juris doctor will help you obtain a job that will make it worth having 200k in loans. This is true even assuming you were number 1 at your school.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Wolfie91 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:48 pm

200k is a lot.

But you should definitely meet with your professors ASAP if you're uncomfortable. If you're outlining in each class and STILL don't have a grasp on the material, it's probably because your note-taking is poor.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:08 pm

Yes, my note taking isn't the best I know that. In undergrad I rarely needed to take notes and didn't most of the time. This is the first time I've attempted to take notes on a regular basis and it's been tough.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Wolfie91 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:16 pm

Have you used Westlaw study aids? People use those all the time. And if you just go over several of the briefs they have, it would help.

E&Es also help.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 5:44 pm

I've used the westlaw study aids and quimbee as well they do help some what but overall I still feel pretty behind. I'll have to check out the E&E's to see how they are. At this point I'm just trying to weigh pros and cons again to see if it will be worth it for me considering the high potential for low grades for this semester. If it was one of those situations where once you get the JD and start out working your gpa won't matter I would feel A LOT better. For instance I have a good friend who went to a top pharmacy school and consistently struggled maintaining a C average he was barley able to graduate and he is now making 110,000k right out of school, the same as some of his classmates who had A's. From my limited time around law it seems nothing like this, in a nutshell the only way to get close to six figures starting out is to be in the top 10% and work for a big firm and if your in the bottom 25% you will be lucky to make 50k, is this an accurate assessment generally speaking or am I off base??

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby rcharter1978 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 6:13 pm

Malcolm1991 wrote:I've used the westlaw study aids and quimbee as well they do help some what but overall I still feel pretty behind. I'll have to check out the E&E's to see how they are. At this point I'm just trying to weigh pros and cons again to see if it will be worth it for me considering the high potential for low grades for this semester. If it was one of those situations where once you get the JD and start out working your gpa won't matter I would feel A LOT better. For instance I have a good friend who went to a top pharmacy school and consistently struggled maintaining a C average he was barley able to graduate and he is now making 110,000k right out of school, the same as some of his classmates who had A's. From my limited time around law it seems nothing like this, in a nutshell the only way to get close to six figures starting out is to be in the top 10% and work for a big firm and if your in the bottom 25% you will be lucky to make 50k, is this an accurate assessment generally speaking or am I off base??


You probably can't drop out at this very second, so the only thing you can do is try to get the best grades you can.

Get the E&E's and review the concepts that are confusing you. Once you gain clarity in a few areas, everything else could fall into place.

Do practice exams. Turn them in. Go over them with your professor.

Do any or all of these things instead of worrying about what is going to happen when you get bad grades.

Malcolm1991

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 6:40 pm

rcharter1978 wrote:
Malcolm1991 wrote:I've used the westlaw study aids and quimbee as well they do help some what but overall I still feel pretty behind. I'll have to check out the E&E's to see how they are. At this point I'm just trying to weigh pros and cons again to see if it will be worth it for me considering the high potential for low grades for this semester. If it was one of those situations where once you get the JD and start out working your gpa won't matter I would feel A LOT better. For instance I have a good friend who went to a top pharmacy school and consistently struggled maintaining a C average he was barley able to graduate and he is now making 110,000k right out of school, the same as some of his classmates who had A's. From my limited time around law it seems nothing like this, in a nutshell the only way to get close to six figures starting out is to be in the top 10% and work for a big firm and if your in the bottom 25% you will be lucky to make 50k, is this an accurate assessment generally speaking or am I off base??


You probably can't drop out at this very second, so the only thing you can do is try to get the best grades you can.

Get the E&E's and review the concepts that are confusing you. Once you gain clarity in a few areas, everything else could fall into place.

Do practice exams. Turn them in. Go over them with your professor.

Do any or all of these things instead of worrying about what is going to happen when you get bad grades.


Your right, I'm doing my best to do exactly that. As far as this semester goes its hard to fight the feeling that "the writing is already on the wall" and just keep my head down and keep pushing. I've basically felt lost since the second week in the majority of my 6 classes. Tried to join a study group but I was behind them to the point it was making it awkward and unproductive for them and me. But as you said this semester is set in stone and I'm taking finals in a few weeks. I guess just trying to figure out a big picture plan moving forward because just impulsively making decisions got me in the predicament.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby OMLS48 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 6:54 pm

Part of the uncertainty and anxiety of 1L (if not all) is a result of the unknown. You are in the same position as everyone else in your class, no worse GPA than any other person. Go into the lab, bunker down, and work yourself to hell and back. If it doesn't work, reassess, but you have all the chances in the world to succeed.

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Re: Struggling 1L: Wondering if I made a mistake going to law school?

Postby Malcolm1991 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:21 pm

I agree with pretty much everything that has been said and I appreciate the honest feedback. In the midst of putting everything into these final, I'm also trying to figure out a plan moving forward. If what was said in one of the previous post is correct that a JD likely wouldn't be worth 200K no matter what type of grades/job I received, then I don't really know where that leaves me. In the short term I agree that all I can do is work extremely hard for finals and do everything I can to improve, in a macro long-term view it feels like I'm driving towards a dead end or even an edge of a cliff. How am I supposed to be comfortable and not think about the fact that it is very possible IF I can actually find away to make it through with average grades at best, that I will likely be starting out at 50K or less with that amount of debt? To anybody out there who finished with or will finish with 200k+ in loans with grades that are/were average to below average, how are you not letting that affect your thoughts in the present and if you've already finished how did you manage the situation?



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