Did I ruin my career already?

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mtf612
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Did I ruin my career already?

Postby mtf612 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:12 am

Hi all.
I'm a 1L and I am struggling hard. Finals are basically 6 weeks away and I honestly feel like I have learned nothing so far. I have about 60 pages of notes for each of my doctrinal classes but I am struggling to recall or apply any of this material. I have not been working with a study group because I honestly don't have very many close friends at this point.
I worked on a contracts hypo for the first time yesterday and it should have been super easy but I could barely remember the rules for formation or statute of frauds. I haven't begun to consolidate my notes into outlines and I am having difficulty starting that process as the rules to gather from each case are not always distinctly clear. Obviously, I haven't even worked on practice exams because all of my professors use several page issue spotters that are worthless when I can barely write a response to a half page hypo.

Right now it feels like everyone around me is really on top of their game, while I feel a bit like a visiting student sitting in on classes quietly. Depression and anxiety are also pretty high for me at the moment.

Should I be considering a leave of absence or something? Is there still time to rally? I am terrified of getting bottom of the curve marks and digging myself a permanent hole from which I will never climb out.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby Pneumonia » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:35 am


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Lavitz
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby Lavitz » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:57 am

Look, you'll be fine. First, study groups are unnecessary. You haven't missed out on a vital experience or anything. But if you think having someone to toss ideas off of would help you, it's not too late to find someone to talk about cases and go over practice exams with. Second, ignore where everyone else is right now. Everyone is different. I also suck at remembering things I learned months ago, but you may find that everything will click for you right before finals when you review the entire class at once. All that matters is that you remember enough law to apply it come exam time, not right now. And there's still plenty of time to rally. I essentially re-learned every course in the 3 days before each final. Third, it sounds like you have some gaps in your knowledge if you don't know the rules that some of the cases stand for. But that's normal and should be easy to figure out. To fill in your knowledge, try to get old outlines from an outline bank and use them for reference, google for free case briefs, or even ask your professor if you're seriously confused about something. Fourth, worst case, even if your grades suck, you're at Penn. You'll still get a decent legal job. Your career won't be ruined.

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topgun400
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby topgun400 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:47 am

Plenty of time to rally. Early recognition helps, talk to the Prof about your issues.

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chargers21
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby chargers21 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:15 pm

Bro, you're gonna be fine. You go to a great school, everyone is smart. I personally am finding quimbee briefs to be a big help for at least knowing the rule from each case, especially for contracts. For me, if I at least know the law I don't feel too far behind

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mtf612
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby mtf612 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:19 pm

Thanks for the vote of confidence all. I suppose I am just unsure of how to proceed. I am still struggling to do the basics (read, take reading notes, pay attention in class, take class notes, combine class and reading notes, keep up in LPS, sleep/eat healthy/exercise) so throwing outlining and practice exams on top is terrifying.

Are there any solid video/audio supplements other than Quimbee that I should consider? Is Barbri 1L mastery worth it? Should I just focus on the aforementioned basics + outlining + practice exams?

I used Freer's audio lecture on CivPro to cover the topics we've gone over in class and it has been extremely helpful to me.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:50 pm

what are your reading notes adding to the picture? you might be fine just relying on class notes instead.

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mtf612
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby mtf612 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:12 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:what are your reading notes adding to the picture? you might be fine just relying on class notes instead.

Honestly, I'm not sure that they are adding anything. I struggle a lot with focusing on reading and so I have found note taking to be somewhat effective at helping me recall information in class.

That being said, I am now struggling to sort through a deluge of information for each class.

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jkpolk
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby jkpolk » Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:57 pm

you're fine. there're plenty of resources on here to help you.

my advice is to take the studying process one step at a time. plan out your time from here until the exams. try not to bounce between classes, focus your energy on one class at a time so stuff sticks. if that means you know 3 classes and dont get to the last one (or have to learn it in 3 days before the final), that's fine.

work to simplify everything - no content is very difficult conceptually and there's not that much content in a law school course (once you understand what's going on).

as has been said, class is way way more important than reading. that said, use the table of contents in the course book to help you figure out wtf is going on - if you need to memorize the table of contents before you do any actual studying so you have confidence in the universe of stuff (recommend flashcards), do that. If you need to re-sort the table of contents so it makes sense to you/is more organized, do that (books vary on how logically organized they are and, therefore, how easy they are to memorize associatively this way).

be able to explain the big picture for each section, then focus on getting down the details. let the big picture help guide you on the rest - it's easier to memorize the details if you have a skeleton to stick meat to. if something from a class doesnt make sense (so you cant flesh out your skeleton) use google/ask your friends/ask your prof in that order.

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lavarman84
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby lavarman84 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:52 pm

Chill, I'm sure the majority of your class have some (if not all) of the same feelings. Nobody knows what they're doing as a 1L. The best things you can do are work hard, stick with it, and be confident in your abilities. Confidence will take you far on exam day. Anxiety will not.

FWIW, I didn't begin outlining until the week of my exam. I don't recommend that if you don't have a good memory, but that was generally when everything came together for me. Before that, I wouldn't have been able to effectively do an exam question. I always did well.

Find what works for you, don't let yourself get down, and work until you get it. 1L is basically trial and error. At the end of the day, as others mentioned, you're at Penn; you'll be fine.

dabigchina
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby dabigchina » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:33 pm

Class notes are gold. If you go to class and pay attention, you already know everything you need to know to ace your exams. Most* professors will cover what they want on the exam in class.

You don't need to mechanically regurgitate the factors needed to form a contract on an exam. In fact, that approach might be worse because it wastes your time and the professor's time. More than likely, your professor will have a few issues that she loves to throw on the exam every year. Just look at a few old exams and figure out what those factors are and practice how to answer questions around them.

*There are some professors who love to hide the ball. Talk to upperclassmen and find out if any of your professors are like that. Con law and crim professors seem to do this the most, but it could happen in any class.

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northwood
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby northwood » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:45 pm

I'll add a bit to this thread. Class notes are more valuable then people give them credit for. What your professor focuses on may be key for an exam, as professors tend to grade answers favorable to their lines of thought). The table of contents in your book helps put things into focus, and the intro to each section can help provide the overall "big picture". Keep in mind, the entire semester may not come into clear focus until 2-3 weeks prior to exams, so just keep swimming along with your head up.

As others said it is a good idea to talk to 2Ls and 3Ls who had this professor for some insight as to what was on their exam. Take a practice exam/ do a hypo and meet with your professor.

Personally, i found that writing my own outlines from scratch was just a time sink. I did much better the spring of 1L when i used a recent outline from the school's outline bank and added my takeaways from class to it. But each person is different, so do what works best for you.

Most of your classmates feel the same way as you, and remember, no one in your section has taken a final exam under real conditions for an actual grade yet. So there is a lot of time left to improve.

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mtf612
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby mtf612 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:35 pm

While I appreciate everyone's optimism, I just don't know whether my position is salvageable. I went to two of my doctrinal courses today and found myself deeply lost. I had no clue what was going on, where the boundaries of the doctrine were, or what the rules were.

We covered proximate cause in torts and I could not even contemplate what I would have said if I were to be called on. I understood the case facts but did not extract the rules properly in my readings.
In civpro we covered Asahi/Calder for PJ. I had thought that I understood everything when I read last night but damn I had no clue what was going on today. I could not think through the hypos fully.

Just feeling really unhappy generally (lonely, depressed, imposter syndrome) while also deeply frustrated with the material.

cavalier1138
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:09 pm

What school (tier) are you at?

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yeslekkkk
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby yeslekkkk » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:30 pm

mtf612 wrote:While I appreciate everyone's optimism, I just don't know whether my position is salvageable. I went to two of my doctrinal courses today and found myself deeply lost. I had no clue what was going on, where the boundaries of the doctrine were, or what the rules were.

We covered proximate cause in torts and I could not even contemplate what I would have said if I were to be called on. I understood the case facts but did not extract the rules properly in my readings.
In civpro we covered Asahi/Calder for PJ. I had thought that I understood everything when I read last night but damn I had no clue what was going on today. I could not think through the hypos fully.

Just feeling really unhappy generally (lonely, depressed, imposter syndrome) while also deeply frustrated with the material.


Hey,

You're not alone. TONS OF 1LS feel this way. Why do I know this? I was a 1L AND I worked for two years with first year law students with Con Law but also study skills.

You don't need to do what other people are doing. I didn't do study groups. Sometimes I would meet with a couple people to do practice exams and talk them over, but honestly, people waste a lot of time in study groups. Go over your class notes. Try to find the takeaways from the cases. Why did you read the cases you did? What's the point of that case?


Don't worry about having beautiful perfect outlines or whatever. I've made stripped down outlines in way less time, so you still could. Only do that if you think it would help. Usually, I didn't start outlining until at least a week before Thanksgiving. I've put together a whole semester in a week. You still have time. And if you don't have time or don't want to make an outline, get an old one but keep a cautious eye to material that might not be quite right.

I'd recommend you get E&Es. The $40 they cost is well worth it. I especially recommend the one for Torts. Go through that. I LOVE SUPPLEMENTS.

Do a couple practice exams and issue spot some. Trust me, you have enough time. You're being too hard on yourself.

Another thing that you don't know yet is that one day an area of law will just CLICK. It will take some longer than others. It could be a month before, a couple days before, etc. Just don't give up.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby Desert Fox » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:35 pm

I'm going to go against the grain here. If you can't even understand the material, that's pretty fucking bad for Halloween. The material for law isn't hard, there is just a lot of it. If you can figure out any given weeks material no matter how hard you try, you are going to have a tough time.

Hopefully you are just exaggerating because of stress.

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265489164158
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby 265489164158 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:24 pm

I disagree with the last poster. Persist in reading, going to class, taking notes. Use the weekends for outlining. Things have a way of coming into focus during the reading period when the deluge of new information coming in stops. I truly did not understand contracts and negligence until my outlines were DONE and then distilled down into attack outlines.

I found that most exam hypos were way more straightforward than what was discussed in class, because in class, professors like to talk about ALL the interesting exceptions. You will only see some of those again, so don't sweat it if you cannot take them all in.

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proteinshake
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby proteinshake » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:42 pm

yeslekkkk wrote:
mtf612 wrote:While I appreciate everyone's optimism, I just don't know whether my position is salvageable. I went to two of my doctrinal courses today and found myself deeply lost. I had no clue what was going on, where the boundaries of the doctrine were, or what the rules were.

We covered proximate cause in torts and I could not even contemplate what I would have said if I were to be called on. I understood the case facts but did not extract the rules properly in my readings.
In civpro we covered Asahi/Calder for PJ. I had thought that I understood everything when I read last night but damn I had no clue what was going on today. I could not think through the hypos fully.

Just feeling really unhappy generally (lonely, depressed, imposter syndrome) while also deeply frustrated with the material.


Hey,

You're not alone. TONS OF 1LS feel this way. Why do I know this? I was a 1L AND I worked for two years with first year law students with Con Law but also study skills.

You don't need to do what other people are doing. I didn't do study groups. Sometimes I would meet with a couple people to do practice exams and talk them over, but honestly, people waste a lot of time in study groups. Go over your class notes. Try to find the takeaways from the cases. Why did you read the cases you did? What's the point of that case?


Don't worry about having beautiful perfect outlines or whatever. I've made stripped down outlines in way less time, so you still could. Only do that if you think it would help. Usually, I didn't start outlining until at least a week before Thanksgiving. I've put together a whole semester in a week. You still have time. And if you don't have time or don't want to make an outline, get an old one but keep a cautious eye to material that might not be quite right.

I'd recommend you get E&Es. The $40 they cost is well worth it. I especially recommend the one for Torts. Go through that. I LOVE SUPPLEMENTS.

Do a couple practice exams and issue spot some. Trust me, you have enough time. You're being too hard on yourself.

Another thing that you don't know yet is that one day an area of law will just CLICK. It will take some longer than others. It could be a month before, a couple days before, etc. Just don't give up.

yessss, the E&Es for Torts and Civ Pro are great! also, don't really worry about hypos and practice exams until you've at least done a decent amount of outlining (though maybe you can look at the prompts if it'll help you figure out how to outline).

cavalier1138 wrote:What school (tier) are you at?

OP is at Penn

cavalier1138
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Re: Did I ruin my career already?

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:50 pm

proteinshake wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:What school (tier) are you at?

OP is at Penn


Then OP, you have nothing to worry about. You're suffering from a completely run-of-the-mill case of impostor syndrome, and you're going to be fine. You chose to go to a school where you can afford to not be the smartest student in the class. Just keep on working at it, and take advantage of any counseling services the school makes available.




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