1l second semester motivation

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BottomOfTotem

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1l second semester motivation

Postby BottomOfTotem » Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:16 am

This is weak I know - I should be completely motivated, as I still have a lot to go. The thing is, I'm struggling to dial in on the work, especially the reading.

I did pretty well first semester, roughly top 10-15%. I contribute the relative success, at least in part, to the my dedication to the reading, as the feedback has been the most positive regarding my grasp of the subject matter. With that said, I read and case briefed every case and nearly all the notes for every class, but now I'm having trouble doing more than a cursory read of the cases.

I want to improve but my admittededly lazy feeling towards the work is three fold:

1) I feel like maybe I topped out/lucked out. I had a major event happen right before the semester and am not sure how I survived or did well - hence the luck. Also I don't feel particularly bright amongst my peers - I'm not educationally accomplished. Yet, perhaps this is just xmas break lingering - I don't seem to be the only one in my group of classmates who is feeling this way.

2) Even if I progress, so will the class. This is kind of dumb, but I feel it is futile to try really hard because we are all in our collective "lanes" and will fall where we did first semester. Obviously I have to try somewhat for this scenario to work, but it would suggest not to over exert myself.

3) I think I understand how to be a good law student, and it doesn't involve reading everything that is assigned. I know a lot of people here believe in this theory - to work smart - but I worry that one semester of experience is not sufficient to trust myself.

Anyway, I was wondering if any of you dealt with this around this time in your law school days? Again, doing well is very important to me, and I want to approach this semester in a productive, yet slightly less stressful way. Thanks in advance for any insight and or kind words.

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sam91

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Re: 1l second semester motivation

Postby sam91 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:06 am

If you are anything like me, which it seems like you are based on your post, you will deal will imposter syndrome most of law school, even after you hopefully land the gig you want at oci.

No one here is going to say any magic words that make you feel motivated and confident. So put your head down, and get back to work. You found success, so keep doing what you did. You can and will improve. Go review exams, see where you missed points, and adjust.

Good luck. Scared money don't make no money

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DrSpaceman

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Re: 1l second semester motivation

Postby DrSpaceman » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:37 am

First semester, I was top 5-10%. Thought it was because I was a badass. Slacked on reading and exam prep second semester. Went into OCI's just a hair above median.

Don't let it happen to you. It's just a handful of weeks. Finish 1L strong. This is the most important year of grades of your life.

ETA: LOL@the idea that people are in "lanes." Most of your classmates who were below median after first semester are going to work their dicks off to catch up. And many of them will. Class rank is zero-sum. Don't be the one who gets displaced from the top of the class.

AJordan

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Re: 1l second semester motivation

Postby AJordan » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:48 am

Another way to look at it: By measure of your work/luck/talent/whatever you have bought yourself a bit of breathing room for a rough day statistically in second semester exams. If you are neurotic like most high performers and assume that most luck will revert to the mean you can view your first semester performance not as a true result of what "lane" you belong in but rather a statistical anomaly that you should take as good fortune and bust your ass to protect when the hammer inevitably drops.

Also, think how shitty you'll feel if you change things up and you do worse. All you had to do was repeat what you did first semester to guarantee yourself good chance at repeat and you didn't do it even though you realized early the potential pitfalls. You'll be thinking about that constantly until you get a job and even then wondering if you could've gotten a better one.

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tfer2222

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Re: 1l second semester motivation

Postby tfer2222 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:50 am

First semester 1L is the lowest hanging fruit - the time when the least amount of people "get" how to perform well on an exam. Don't coast now, because people will wise up/catch up with you and pass you if you get lazy.

Set a goal for yourself to improve and stay ahead of everyone else. Study even smarter than you did first semester - start memorizing/outlining/nailing things down even earlier - find out where you went wrong on your first semester exams. Just keep charging ahead with OCI in mind - get yourself pumped up. I did this and went from top ~10% first semester 1L to top ~5% second semester.

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mjb447

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Re: 1l second semester motivation

Postby mjb447 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:51 am

Basically agree with the above. (1) is just negative thought that you have to ignore - you went through something difficult and came out pretty well against a lot of people trying to outdo you. You don't just 'luck' your way into top 10 or 15%. As to (2), there are no lanes. You currently have one data point that counts as much as the next one (second semester grades). It's really easy for you to fall from your current position if you slack (particularly if your classes have big groups of people at the median). (3) is pretty professor specific - some professors will tell you fairly clearly what you need to know for the exam, and others may expect you to draw from portions of the reading that weren't covered in class. There's definitely a lot of 1L wheel-spinning that you don't need to do forever if it's not that helpful to your studying (see case briefing), but always do the reading.

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Re: 1l second semester motivation

Postby anonanonny » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:59 am

Oh how I relate to needing motivation this semester... 2L here (but I lacked motivation 1L year at times too). I think some of your struggle with motivation might come from the fact that you over-prepared for classes last semester. Case briefing and taking notes on all reading really takes up a lot of time! I also did that my 1L fall semester because I was paranoid about remembering everything and being ready to know it for class. I think if you are less strict with case briefing and note-taking for classes on a daily basis, you might find yourself less burdened. Trust yourself enough to take notes on what's most important in class, and give up case briefing if it's too annoying at this point, or consider briefing to the point where you only write a couple sentences or phrases about the entire case.

As for your first point, you did not luck out. You put in the work and did well because you grasped the concepts and can obviously take a law exam. You are as capable as your fellow classmates at being a lawyer. I would say the same to those at your school who fell at median too. Law exams don't necessarily show who will do well at being a lawyer and who won't. I can tell from your post that you work hard and actually care about doing well, which goes far for being a lawyer. If you want to be a great lawyer, you can be. Just put in the work and stay confident whether or not your grades are immaculate.

Your second point I can tell you is a bit flawed. There will be people who didn't do well their first semester who are more motivated than ever to do better; some will and some won't. Some at the top can fall. Don't take your good grades for granted and forget that they can slip. Some of what you have to do just simply won't be fun. Get yourself some coffee, make yourself sit down in your study place (wherever that might be) and knock out some reading. It's helpful to do most or all of it on the weekend so you can do more relaxing during the week. I know I hate when I get home from class around 5:45 and then have to do reading for the next day.

You can do well again, but it doesn't require over-preparing for class and giving yourself extra work by thoroughly taking notes on every reading. Remember the importance of those last couple weeks when you study for the exam. Good luck and know you're not the only one struggling to stay motivated!

*Struggling to motivate myself to get work done as I type this.*

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JDilemma

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Re: 1l second semester motivation

Postby JDilemma » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:10 pm

Well, as an anecdote to support what others have said, I finished with all A-s and one B (3.3 curve). I see this as a failure (though, objectively I know I did fine) and it is a HUGE motivating factor. While it has yet to be seen how this will impact me come exam time, I will say I feel like I 'get' how to approach my classes/ the material in a way that is much more time efficient and I suspect I'm not alone in this feeling.

What you did is great. Be proud. But know others like me are hungry and we're coming for that top spot.

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EzraFitz

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Re: 1l second semester motivation

Postby EzraFitz » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:29 pm

To echo a bit what others have said, do not let up. It is so easy to want to relax and let things go a little, trust me, I was tippy top after first semester, and crushed myself another semester to stay there (leading to job offers early enough to skip OCI). You can do it if you get yourself to a place where you understand how you did your first semester, what got you there, and how you can replicate it. That will be all you need to succeed. This is coming from a 3L going into my last semester who is up doing readings, because I have read and briefed every case in law school. Not because I'm a gunner or because I like this shit. But because it worked for me all the way back in 1L Fall, so I never doubted a good thing. You did the work, don't back down now.

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Clemenceau

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Re: 1l second semester motivation

Postby Clemenceau » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:45 pm

Post history suggests you're at UC Hastings. With all due respect, you don't have room to coast.

For reference: viewtopic.php?t=192753

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GFox345

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Re: 1l second semester motivation

Postby GFox345 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:47 pm

BottomOfTotem wrote:This is weak I know - I should be completely motivated, as I still have a lot to go. The thing is, I'm struggling to dial in on the work, especially the reading.

I did pretty well first semester, roughly top 10-15%. I contribute the relative success, at least in part, to the my dedication to the reading, as the feedback has been the most positive regarding my grasp of the subject matter. With that said, I read and case briefed every case and nearly all the notes for every class, but now I'm having trouble doing more than a cursory read of the cases.

I want to improve but my admittededly lazy feeling towards the work is three fold:

1) I feel like maybe I topped out/lucked out. I had a major event happen right before the semester and am not sure how I survived or did well - hence the luck. Also I don't feel particularly bright amongst my peers - I'm not educationally accomplished. Yet, perhaps this is just xmas break lingering - I don't seem to be the only one in my group of classmates who is feeling this way.

2) Even if I progress, so will the class. This is kind of dumb, but I feel it is futile to try really hard because we are all in our collective "lanes" and will fall where we did first semester. Obviously I have to try somewhat for this scenario to work, but it would suggest not to over exert myself.

3) I think I understand how to be a good law student, and it doesn't involve reading everything that is assigned. I know a lot of people here believe in this theory - to work smart - but I worry that one semester of experience is not sufficient to trust myself.

Anyway, I was wondering if any of you dealt with this around this time in your law school days? Again, doing well is very important to me, and I want to approach this semester in a productive, yet slightly less stressful way. Thanks in advance for any insight and or kind words.


Hey there, OP. I just finished 1L at a T14 (which I suppose gives away the school I attend since there is only one school in the T14 where people finish 1L in December). Regardless, I feel like I am in a pretty good position to give you advice on your second semester of 1L. I too finished the first semester in the top 15%ish and was pretty satisfied with my grades. And I experienced part of what you are experiencing now. I think it's only natural to be a little bit foggy and disinterested in the weeks after you return from break. You definitely seem to have worked harder than I did first semester. I went through 1L without writing a single case brief. That said, I did do all the reading, and my finals prep was meticulous and very deep. I think a lot of kids in my section adopted the strategy that you're talking about here and burnt out or relied too much on their briefs (which focused WAY too much on the facts which are completely irrelevant to the exam).

The reason that I am telling you this is that in my opinion case briefing is a huge waste of time. You don't want to do it because it is a waste of time. Just do the readings, go to class, and don't really worry about it too much until roughly a month before finals. Then start scaling up your prep.

After going to class, doing all the readings, and fucking around during my free time for the first 2 1/2 months of second semester, I just busted my ass from about a week before Thanksgiving until December 16th. The result was that I went from the top 15%ish to the top 5%ish.

You absolutely cannot give up here, and you absolutely should not assume that coasting will be enough. Especially if you are outside the T14, people are hungry, and while you are slacking during finals prep season, they will not be. Even if you work hard, success is not guaranteed. I know of at least 2 people that fell from top 15%ish to the top 3rd.

In short, take a break for a month but stay up on your classes, and then get ready for one more horrible sprint event. When you get those grades and have more employment options than the rest - you won't regret a minute.

dabigchina

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Re: 1l second semester motivation

Postby dabigchina » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:52 pm

people who did poorly/average will be gunning harder second semester. You too should gun harder to compensate.

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BottomOfTotem

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Re: 1l second semester motivation

Postby BottomOfTotem » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:36 pm

I really appreciate all of the advice and personal shares.
I spent some time with my professors and came away motivated and more focused on the few points that I missed that dropped my scores. Additionally, the fog is lifting by the day.

Thanks again people.



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