Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

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whatevs23456
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Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby whatevs23456 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:49 pm

Hey all,

A couple of days ago, my friend, who's a 1L at a T20 law school, received her first legal writing assignment grade (it was a pretty big percentage of her final grade), and it turned out she was at the bottom of her class. Needless to say, she felt terrible and spiralled downward into feeling like she was the worst student in her class, and how she would never get a decent job, and to save her parents the money (she couldn't get a loan) she thinks she should just drop out of law school (she has a partial scholarship).

She's been doing decent on internal assessments in her other classes, but she also got a poor score on one of those assignments two weeks ago, and for the past month she's been saying that she feels like even though she's been working really hard every day, that it isn't showing in her grades and she is starting to hate law school as she consistently feels inadequate.

It's almost November and with her family far away, her friends all long distance, and finals so close by, I'm really worried about her as this is the worst possible timing to be burnt out/ depressed/ upset and to be thinking of dropping out. I tried to tell her to focus on studying for finals, that if she did well on her finals her GPA would turn out good and she just has to get through this semester. I also told her that she can't base her abilities on one or two grades, but she keeps mentioning this was a huge important assignment and she got the lowest grade. She told me that she would study for finals, and if she ended up getting a below average GPA, she'd drop out. But with how upset she is, I don't think she's motivated to study for finals, she seems really upset, I mean, I would handle this a lot worse than she is.

I have no idea what to tell her, and I'm really concerned for her. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Loquitur Res
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Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby Loquitur Res » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:06 pm

I had a similar story to your friend. Really crappy grade on my first legal writing assignment and midterms. Ended up in top 10% after 1L. Even though those grades are a chunk of your (or your friend's) overall grade, they are not insurmountable. The key is to kill the finals and any remaining writing assignments. I think my eventual success was due to being humbled into meeting with my professors to discuss how I could improve. If I had killed it from the get go I would have never met with my professors and might have stumbled come finals. Several of my classmates were clearly overconfident at this point 1L year and did not end up near the top of the class. It is still super early.

HellfirePeninsula
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Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby HellfirePeninsula » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:11 pm

Does your friend have any resources at school? Upper division students who can act as mentors? They might be able to help.

Personal note: was bottom 25% on my first legal writing assignment. Ended 1L in top 10% GPA.

sparkytrainer
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Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby sparkytrainer » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:15 pm

As a counter point: didn't do great on my first legal writing assignment, ended at median. Also, OP, dont hide that this is about your "friend" and not you. We all know its about you.

Loquitur Res
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Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby Loquitur Res » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:30 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:As a counter point: didn't do great on my first legal writing assignment, ended at median.

I think the message is that this person could literally end up anywhere on the GPA spectrum. So no need to feel like a failure at this point. It is important to keep an even keel and not get too high or low based on your first writing assignments or midterms.

whatevs23456
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Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby whatevs23456 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:34 pm

Loquitur Res wrote:I had a similar story to your friend. Really crappy grade on my first legal writing assignment and midterms. Ended up in top 10% after 1L. Even though those grades are a chunk of your (or your friend's) overall grade, they are not insurmountable. The key is to kill the finals and any remaining writing assignments. I think my eventual success was due to being humbled into meeting with my professors to discuss how I could improve. If I had killed it from the get go I would have never met with my professors and might have stumbled come finals. Several of my classmates were clearly overconfident at this point 1L year and did not end up near the top of the class. It is still super early.


Thank you so much for this encouraging response! She had gone to her writing professor for feedback after her first draft came back, and she says now that she didn't understand what her professor had wanted exactly. I think after she got her final grade on the assignment, her prof said something along the lines of 'not structured the way he wanted it' and 'focused on all the wrong things'. I think it might help her to spend some more time sitting down with her LW prof.

whatevs23456
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Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:26 pm

Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby whatevs23456 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:37 pm

Also do you guys have any study tips for someone who thinks they are working extremely hard and still not feeling like they're doing well enough?

She spends all day reading and outlining cases, comparing her outlines to other (commercial + student) outlines, and she's already working on her outline for the finals, tying together all the content from her classes. She's just had two or three below median grades, two of those were minor assignments and this one with her being the lowest in her class (her professor said those exact words) and so she's extremely unmotivated.

whatevs23456
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Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby whatevs23456 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:39 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:As a counter point: didn't do great on my first legal writing assignment, ended at median. Also, OP, dont hide that this is about your "friend" and not you. We all know its about you.


haha, not to burst your bubble, but this actually about my girlfriend. I just don't want her to somehow find this post and get mad at me for being overly nosy/protective. I'm currently in medical school, and it's nowhere near as rough as she has it.

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yyyuppp
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Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby yyyuppp » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:47 pm

I was below median for my first writing assignment and near the top of my class by the time oci rolled around. Tell her not to worry.

merde_happens
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Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby merde_happens » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:41 am

whatevs23456 wrote:Also do you guys have any study tips for someone who thinks they are working extremely hard and still not feeling like they're doing well enough?

She spends all day reading and outlining cases, comparing her outlines to other (commercial + student) outlines, and she's already working on her outline for the finals, tying together all the content from her classes. She's just had two or three below median grades, two of those were minor assignments and this one with her being the lowest in her class (her professor said those exact words) and so she's extremely unmotivated.


With that level of effort put into learning the materials, my guess is that she just hasn't mastered the art of the law school exam yet. She should sit down with an E&E or with past exams - anything where she can practice her issue spotting and applying the law to a twist on the facts. If her profs will allow it, she should do a past practice exam and then sit down and go over it with them.

FascinatedWanderer
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Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:41 pm

whatevs23456 wrote:
sparkytrainer wrote:As a counter point: didn't do great on my first legal writing assignment, ended at median. Also, OP, dont hide that this is about your "friend" and not you. We all know its about you.


haha, not to burst your bubble, but this actually about my girlfriend. I just don't want her to somehow find this post and get mad at me for being overly nosy/protective. I'm currently in medical school, and it's nowhere near as rough as she has it.


Medical school is far rougher than law school. If you're girlfriend is having a harder time than you, she's doing something very, very wrong.

whatevs23456
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Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:26 pm

Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby whatevs23456 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:43 pm

merde_happens wrote:
whatevs23456 wrote:Also do you guys have any study tips for someone who thinks they are working extremely hard and still not feeling like they're doing well enough?

She spends all day reading and outlining cases, comparing her outlines to other (commercial + student) outlines, and she's already working on her outline for the finals, tying together all the content from her classes. She's just had two or three below median grades, two of those were minor assignments and this one with her being the lowest in her class (her professor said those exact words) and so she's extremely unmotivated.


With that level of effort put into learning the materials, my guess is that she just hasn't mastered the art of the law school exam yet. She should sit down with an E&E or with past exams - anything where she can practice her issue spotting and applying the law to a twist on the facts. If her profs will allow it, she should do a past practice exam and then sit down and go over it with them.



that's awesome advice, I'll pass that on to her! :) thanks a lot.

whatevs23456
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Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby whatevs23456 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:44 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:
whatevs23456 wrote:
sparkytrainer wrote:As a counter point: didn't do great on my first legal writing assignment, ended at median. Also, OP, dont hide that this is about your "friend" and not you. We all know its about you.


haha, not to burst your bubble, but this actually about my girlfriend. I just don't want her to somehow find this post and get mad at me for being overly nosy/protective. I'm currently in medical school, and it's nowhere near as rough as she has it.


Medical school is far rougher than law school. If you're girlfriend is having a harder time than you, she's doing something very, very wrong.


not really...we're both first years, and I literally just have to pass my classes and ace 2 exams (the USMLE) to get into a good residency and pay off my loans... she has to do a lot more than just pass.

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bmathers
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Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby bmathers » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:29 am

sparkytrainer wrote:. Also, OP, dont hide that this is about your "friend" and not you. We all know its about you.

Wow, that was really uncalled for...

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RCSOB657
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Re: Please help: I think my 1L best friend is burnt out

Postby RCSOB657 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:10 am

If you're concerned about her mental state, the state that her school is in has a bar association. That bar association has a mental health counseling unit whose job it is to look after not only practicing attorneys in that state but students as well. Contact that organization, see what help they can offer you both.




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