USC 1L Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
Arelikefoxes
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Arelikefoxes » Sun May 15, 2011 5:32 pm

SkinnyWhiteGuy wrote:I was talkin bout outside scholarships. How many ppl that you know utilize these opportunities? There do not seem to be a lot out there, but they are substantial amounts. How competitive are they?


Not really sure...I don't know of anyone who has actively pursued scholarships outside the school. That doesn't mean people don't...it's just not generally discussed within the school. I know that many of them are awarded in the summer after your first year, and I was going to take a look at some in June or so...if I find anything out I'll let you know!

tothePAIN wrote:Checking in here. See everyone next year. Commuting about 16 miles.


Welcome!

RedItalus10
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby RedItalus10 » Tue May 17, 2011 12:07 am

what are people's thoughts on Terrace housing?

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Stupendous_Man
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Stupendous_Man » Sat May 21, 2011 6:15 pm

RedItalus10 wrote:what are people's thoughts on Terrace housing?


I didn't live in Terrace so what I'm saying is an outside perspective. It seems like Terrace is a younger crowd, made up mostly of people who went straight through from undergrad. It also seems like Terrace provides a built-in social network of fellow 1Ls, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Terrace is really convenient; you can walk to school from there, but on the flip side of that is that it's not in the best neighborhood (but it's also not in the worst). It's also convenient in the sense that if you're new to the area or new to living on your own, you aren't worrying about utilities and furniture.

Personally, I went in to 1L thinking that I didn't want to be surrounded by stressed out 1Ls 24 hours a day, and I wanted to be able to get away. But the reality of it was that I spent the majority of my time in the library anyway. People who lived in Terrace seemed to be happy with their decision. What I'd do is look at the pictures of Terrace online, and see if it's something you'd be interested in. For the price, you can do better, but it may be a hassle to find a place/roommates, and you can't do much better for how close it is to campus.

adamtx11
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby adamtx11 » Fri May 27, 2011 3:47 pm

Would you go to USC at sticker price?

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Stupendous_Man
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Stupendous_Man » Sat May 28, 2011 11:23 am

adamtx11 wrote:Would you go to USC at sticker price?


It really depends on your personal situation (what your other options are and how much they cost, what you want to do with your degree, what your COL is going to be during and after law school, if your family will support you in any way). If your question is whether going to USC at sticker ever makes sense, then yes it does. If you have comparable options offering you a scholarship, then no.

Assuming the goal is to get paid, going to any law school is an investment. You have to figure out what you think you're going to make, and how much it's going to cost. If you go to law school at sticker, you're coming out of there with around $180k in debt (depending on your COL), which is basically a mortgage with no house. You'll be making hefty payments on that for 10 years. USC is worth that if USC is significantly more likely than your next best subsidized option to get you the job you want.

Puttanesca
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Puttanesca » Sun May 29, 2011 4:47 pm

Where do you all get your books? Are there local stores or places online that sell the books for cheaper than the USC Bookstore? At least for undergrad, the USC Bookstore's prices were significantly higher than at online places like Amazon or half.com, and I could generally purchase new books online for less than a used book from USC. I am hoping that I don't have to purchase from the bookstore!

Arelikefoxes
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Arelikefoxes » Sun May 29, 2011 9:45 pm

Puttanesca wrote:Where do you all get your books? Are there local stores or places online that sell the books for cheaper than the USC Bookstore? At least for undergrad, the USC Bookstore's prices were significantly higher than at online places like Amazon or half.com, and I could generally purchase new books online for less than a used book from USC. I am hoping that I don't have to purchase from the bookstore!


Nope, online retailers are fine -- I bought all of my books through them (except for course readers.) Amazon is particularly nice if you have their free 2-day shipping.

I would also mention, though, many 2Ls will be looking to sell their books, and a couple student groups put on book sales during the first week of class. Those tend to be very good deals, particularly for supplements.

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Stupendous_Man
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Stupendous_Man » Mon May 30, 2011 12:53 am

Second for amazon. Sometimes Amazon won't have the book though, and in that case the bookstore definitely will. Also make SURE it's the same edition, and not some brief version or old edition. Type in the ISBN, not the title.

Don't do what I did my first semester and buy every supplement available. Wait a week and see what supplements the class will call for, and ask around to see which ones were particularly good for your professor (ask your professor first). Then buy them used from students like Foxes said, or used online. In some classes you will want the latest supplement (civ pro comes to mind), but some classes haven't really changed.

Puttanesca
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Puttanesca » Mon May 30, 2011 2:22 pm

Thanks, Foxes and Stupendous Man!

sushirob39
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby sushirob39 » Tue May 31, 2011 6:46 pm

When do we get our email accounts?

Arelikefoxes
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Arelikefoxes » Tue May 31, 2011 6:51 pm

I do not remember the exact timing, but I believe they send you your email some time in the middle of the summer (maybe mid-July?), along with your matriculation package.

sushirob39
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby sushirob39 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:51 pm

Also, does anyone know if the living rooms of the Terrace Apartments come furnished at all? I know the rooms do..

Puttanesca
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Puttanesca » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:46 pm

sushirob39 wrote:Also, does anyone know if the living rooms of the Terrace Apartments come furnished at all? I know the rooms do..


Yes, I'm pretty sure the living rooms come furnished. If you take a virtual tour of the apartment, it shows furniture in the living room. --LinkRemoved-- I think it's standard that USC apartments are furnished - I've lived in a couple of USC Housing apartments as an undergrad, and they were completely furnished. The apartments won't have a microwave though but should provide a refrigerator.

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glitter178
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby glitter178 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:48 pm

yes, they are furnished. i remember one student lamenting that the terrace rooms have twin (single? ) beds.

Puttanesca
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Puttanesca » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:00 pm

glitter178 wrote:yes, they are furnished. i remember one student lamenting that the terrace rooms have twin (single? ) beds.


Yes, the twin beds are standard for all USC Housing (probably with the exception of family housing).

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adameus
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby adameus » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:50 pm

Is USC filled with douchebags or is that just the football team?

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glitter178
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby glitter178 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:53 pm

adameus wrote:Is USC filled with douchebags or is that just the football team?


depends. are you attending? because then there's at least one.

Puttanesca
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Puttanesca » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:30 am

glitter178 wrote:
adameus wrote:Is USC filled with douchebags or is that just the football team?


depends. are you attending? because then there's at least one.


LOL.

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Horchata
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Horchata » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:39 pm

glitter178 wrote:
adameus wrote:Is USC filled with douchebags or is that just the football team?


depends. are you attending? because then there's at least one.


haha. You, sir, have just been pwned.

Arelikefoxes
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Arelikefoxes » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:20 pm

Since I have wrapped up the write-on, and finally have a chance to breathe a bit, I figured I would do another FAQ now that we have wrapped 1L. Stupendous Man (or other lurkers), feel free to chime in.

(1) How were the spring courses as compared to those in fall?

Speaking generally, there were a few themes that seemed to pervade the supersections. Namely:

-There were fewer professors that were sticklers for the Socratic method, which is always nice. The reason is probably somewhat reactionary -- by second semester, it seemed like most students get over the "pressure" created by that system, and general class preparedness seemed to drop significantly, regardless of the method the Professors used.
-Legal Writing seemed to have more stressful assignments, but is also worth fewer units. By the end, you will hate the main fact pattern that will be the basis for three of your assignments (do not talk to our class about workers compensation or goats!)
-Most people felt Legal Profession was way too much work for the amount of units (it's worth three.) It is important that you know the material, though, since you have to pass the MPRE to become a lawyer, and I guess 1l is as good as ever to learn it (when we are captive audiences.)
-Not surprisingly, general stress levels dropped among the students as everyone started to "get" law school a bit more. With most of the grade pressure subsiding after 1L, I guess it's sort of like getting senioritis....

(2) What was the write-on like?

As you will have undoubtedly read about any school's write-on here on TLS, it was brutal. Without giving away any specifics, we had two weeks to write a 10-page paper on a closed-universe of 300+ pages of research (it also had a bluebook component.) The temptation to take a break for a few days after finals is huge, and I know a lot of successful students who blew it off completely for the first week. However, it is a deceptively large amount of work, and those same students turned in their submissions without being able to do the necessary revisions (like myself), or just decided not to turn it in. I have not talked to anyone who felt "good" about their paper, but I think that's sort of the point. The nice thing is that the write-on submission is the same for all three journals, so there is not any additional work if you want to apply to secondary journals.

Be careful, also, to know when you start your summer employment -- I started the Monday after finals, and ended up having to moonlight to get my submission done. I think we learn at the end of July...I will keep you posted!

(3) Did you work harder in the second semester?

No. As I mentioned above, I think most people start to "get" the law school system by the second semester, and don't have to work as hard. I suppose that some of those who did not feel very good after first semester may have kicked it up a gear, and we probably covered more substantive law in the second semester, but the general stress levels were much lower.

(4) Now that 1L is over, do you still feel good about choosing USC?

Absolutely. At work, I have been able to talk with a lot of students from other law schools, and USC really feels unique in terms of how friendly the 1L environment really is. The professors, by and large, were fantastic, and I have been constantly impressed with the quality of students at the school. I have made a lot of good friends, and feel like I actually learned something.

(5) Looking back, any advice on how to prepare during the 0L summer?

Yes - don't work too hard. I know there is a lot of stress and uncertainty going into law school, and some people will want to react by killing themselves this summer to "get ahead" in their classes (I know I did). The problem with this is two-fold: (1) you'll find that professors will focus on particular areas of the subject, and a lot of your energy will be wasted, and doing outside studying may even confuse you, and (2) you'll risk burning out. 1L really is a marathon, and you need to pace yourself so that you "peak" at the right time (specifically, during finals.) That said, there are some really valuable things you can do this summer that I would strongly recommend to my fellow TLSers:

(a) Learn the format of law school exams. This is really the single best thing you can focus on to "get ahead" of your fellow classmates. Law school exams are unlike any other test you will have taken, and answering fact-pattern questions really is a unique skillset. Definitely read Getting to Maybe, and, if you can afford it, think about taking LEEWs. Try to find copies of old law school exams and graded answers on the web (USC has many sample exams and answers on our portal, and I believe some schools, like Golden Gate LS, have a bunch online that are available to the public), so that you can see what "good" answers looks like. It's somewhat putting the cart before the horse, as you won't know the substantive law to be able to give answers yourself, but you should really focus on the structure of good answers.

USC also has a great program to help 1Ls with their exam-writing skill, called the ASIST tutor program. 2Ls who did well in their first year will be assigned to your sections, and will be available to meet with you one-on-one to discuss how to take law school exams, go over exams with you, critique your writing/answers, etc. Though I don't think you will have access to them until near the end of the summer, I recommend you take advantage of that program. I really found that talking through strategy with a third party who has just been through it is tremendously beneficial.

(b) Finalize your resume. You will be amazed how quickly the application process begins for 1L summer positions, and how little time you will have to focus on it. Anything you can do in advance will pay off tremendously down the line. The USC portal has great template resumes that adhere to the "law school" style, so be sure to use them once you get access to the portal.

(c) Hang out with your non-law school friends, and get in any trips you've been looking to do. 1L can be pretty all-consuming, and you will be happy to have taken some time for yourself.



At any rate, I'll look forward to seeing all of you who will be joining us next year at orientation!

Puttanesca
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Puttanesca » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:30 pm

Foxes - thanks for the above post!

JJDancer
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby JJDancer » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:36 pm

Foxes, thanks for the post! Is the write-on generally right after finals for 2 weeks?

Stupendous Man - you suggested waiting to buy supplements. I've been out of school for a little bit and would like to warm up my brain/browse LS material. I am not planning on doing anything crazy like reading all the ees and hornbooks and stuff. Are there any suggestions for which books I can buy before classes start that won't seem like a waste of money when I find out the reccomended reading etc?

Arelikefoxes
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Arelikefoxes » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:48 pm

JJDancer wrote:Is the write-on generally right after finals for 2 weeks?


It was for us (the email containing the assignment goes out during your last final), and I think it has been the same at least for the past few years.

JJDancer wrote:Are there any suggestions for which books I can buy before classes start that won't seem like a waste of money when I find out the reccomended reading etc?


In my opinion, you are not likely to waste your money on E&Es...the benefit of those books is that they include practice-exam style questions after each chapter, and teaches you the black letter law in a narrative (and therefore easy to follow) format. In particular, I would look at the E&E for CivPro, which is THE bible for that subject, regardless of who is teaching it. The contracts E&E is a little less clear, but will still give you a very good sense of the overview. Torts I ended up not using very much, but actually ended up following the syllabus for the various USC 1L professors fairly well. I would probably limit it to 1st semester classes for now.

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Stupendous_Man
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Stupendous_Man » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:05 am

Sorry I've been MIA, but I have been getting slammed with work. Although I don't feel bad, since it looks like Arentlikefoxes is taking care of you guys! I'll weigh in on your questions, and a few things he said, just for fun.

JJDancer wrote:Foxes, thanks for the post! Is the write-on generally right after finals for 2 weeks?

Stupendous Man - you suggested waiting to buy supplements. I've been out of school for a little bit and would like to warm up my brain/browse LS material. I am not planning on doing anything crazy like reading all the ees and hornbooks and stuff. Are there any suggestions for which books I can buy before classes start that won't seem like a waste of money when I find out the reccomended reading etc?


Our write on is. Other schools do it differently. You'll get the 350+ page write on packet in your inbox by the time you leave your last final. Most people don't even think about it for a week, although I've heard this is bad strategy. Like Arentlikefoxes, I started work that monday, and didn't have the luxury of procrastination.

As for supplements... I wouldn't get the e&e right now unless you are a serious go-getter (I won't judge). You just won't get what you need to out of it. If you want to look at substantive law stuff, look at stuff that is short. As in wikipedia articles. But again, so much of what you need to know depends on your professor. You should actually ask your professor outright what supplements she/he recommends for the class early on, and they will usually tell you.

To answer your question though: Chirlstein for contracts; Chemerinsky for con law semester 2; e&e or Glannon Guide for civ pro are all universal.

Summer reading I do recommend for those that can't just enjoy their last few months of freedom unmolested:
- Getting to Maybe, or similar. I actually didn't get as much out of GTM as I did out of shorter books like, "8 tips to law school exams" or whatever it's called. GTM is definitely a huge resource though, I just started reading it during 1L, and the last thing you need is more reading. I feel like LEEWS or some law school prep class will offer the same.
- Law School Confidential. I think Planet Law School sounds similar. The goal with this kind of reading is to familiarize yourself with what you are about to get into, as well as just keep you excited for law school. A positive attitude goes a long way, and I liked getting a glimpse into law school before it started. I actually found Law School Confidential invaluable, as I didn't know any law students or lawyers and had no idea what it was all about.

Like Foxes said, just relax and do everything that you thought would be fun ever.

Arelikefoxes wrote:(1) How were the spring courses as compared to those in fall?

(2) What was the write-on like?

(3) Did you work harder in the second semester?

(4) Now that 1L is over, do you still feel good about choosing USC?

(5) Looking back, any advice on how to prepare during the 0L summer?


Foxes really gave great advice and I don't have much to add. But for the heck of it, here's my perspective:

(1) Spring courses were a lot less organized, a lot less hand-holding, and now that grades came out, a lot more random. I didn't do as great on classes I thought I knew pat, and I did well in classes where I was panicked until it was over. I think it's because the classes you think are easiest are also easy to everyone else. They may also make an effort to give you more coherent and organized professors the first semester, I don't know. I generally liked Fall subjects more (Torts and Contracts, even Civ Pro) and I wasn't very interested in Con Law or Legal Profession in the Spring. Like Foxes said, prepare for writing to get more intense, but be worth less units.

In my opinion, Spring semester was more stressful in some ways. I did goof off a lot more, saw more of LA and generally had a good time (and my grades didn't suffer at all). On the other hand, we knew how horrible finals were going to be and were dreading them. Plus if you did well, you all of a sudden had a lot of outside pressure to keep it up. Knowing I had to turn in my 2nd semester grades to my job definitely made me nervous as grades were coming up. If you did poorly, then there was a lot of pressure on you to ramp it up and redeem yourself. The problem is that no one really knows 100% what they did to do well/poorly the first time around, and it can be frustrating/disillusioning when it seems like grades are totally random. Avoid this by learning early on how to take your professor's tests, which is more important than learning the subject. (Also learn the subject, obviously)

(2) Awful. Actually the write-on made me realize I don't have a strong desire to do law review, and at this point I'm thinking I'd rather do Moot Court instead! That said, everyone I work with from USC was on Law Review, so it may actually matter to employers. But most employers I've talked to don't think it will make an enormous difference one way or the other. A lot of people ended up quitting the write-on. At USC, law review membership is based on a combination of grades and the write-on score (they don't tell you what percentages) so who knows how it will go. If you are interested, turn whatever you have in and just roll the dice. I think journal experience can be hugely rewarding, especially for certain jobs like clerkships, so what's 2 more weeks of misery in the scheme of things? Plus, in light of Foxes and my rare situations with work, I really don't think it's that bad if you legitimately use the 2 weeks. We basically did it in 3 or 4 days.

(3) Not at all. I worked significantly less. For most of the semester, I actually had a great time. I think I may have paid for it the two or three weeks leading up to finals though, when I tried to teach myself an entire semester's worth of material. Second semester can be easier in that you have seen what a law school exam looks like, and there are not really huge surprises. For me, although I still made sure I had a passing knowledge of everything the professor covered, I had a much deeper understanding of each professor's test format. To be candid, I did not read the casebooks at all. I do wish I had read some cases, or at least skimmed them, because my last few weeks were hellish, but to be honest, cases are not that essential the process, especially if you pay attention in class. I would not recommend this approach your first semester.

A lot of people burn out by the second semester, which is understandable, but if you can avoid it, do. Biggest mistake I think people made was cutting large swaths of classes. At some point I may post about what I think worked and what didn't work for me, but like Foxes said you guys will get ASIST tutors who will be very helpful, and although I'm happy with my grades, I didn't AMJUR every class or anything and I don't know that I have any authority on how to do well.

(4) Absolutely I do. I agree with Foxes: USC students seem to be more friendly and sociable, and that's our reputation from what I hear from my coworkers. I work alongside summer associates who go to much higher ranked schools, and I really don't feel like my work product is in any way inferior to theirs. Especially with USC's focus on writing, you are getting as good a preparation for work as there is.

If I had the option of transferring at this point, I wouldn't do it. If you get the grades to transfer up, then you will do just fine from USC. The one caveat would be if you want to clerk for or be a supreme court justice, then USC doesn't have a great track record and you may want to take the leap. I love my classmates with a passion, I love the school, and I'm really happy with where it's gotten me. A big part of me actually can't wait to go back! (although to be fair I'm returning as a 2L...)

(5) You don't need to do anything. But here's my honest, gunner-friendly, as complete as possible list, based on what I did and what I wish I did (in no particular order):

1. Read a book like Law School Confidential.
2. If you have time, read a book like Getting to Maybe.
3. Get in relative shape. Your shape/health will deteriorate and it's way better to start out at the top. This includes taking care of all your medical needs, filling prescriptions, etc.
4. Stuff: Don't buy a million things for law school, especially if you're moving. Wait on supplements, highlighters, interview folders, etc. until you have established residence and are sure you will need these things. But buy basic school supplies and application supplies (resume paper, envelopes, stamps) before school starts. Do make sure you come to law school with a reliable computer that you know how to use. If you can, come to school with a reliable car you know how to use. You don't need a wardrobe of business attire, but if you don't have an interview suit you should get one or two. (If men out there need fashion advice, I spent an embarrassing amount of time learning about work-appropriate suits)
5. Life: Get your life in order immediately. Start a file if you don't have one with your medical records, insurance papers (car/health/etc.), SS card, Birth Certificate, etc. etc. Get a passport if you don't have one.
6. Money: Get yourself some credit while you still have a job, or while your parents can get you a card with a limit above $100. Open a bank account with a bank that is close to where you live or school. Make a budget.
7. Relationships: Stabilize your relationship status, whichever way that one swings for you. The last thing you need is a volatile relationship. Go out with friends and family, because you won't see them much for a year.
8. Move in early and meet people through TLS or Facebook before orientation. Not a huge consideration, but it was nice knowing some people while everyone else was awkwardly ambling around during those first few days of orientation, and it was great knowing people outside of my section. You'll quickly make friends in your sections though.
9. Update your resume, because a lot of you will be applying to externships in December with no time to prepare your applications in November.
10. Relax and have as much fun as possible. Store your fond summer memories like precious acorns for the harsh winter of stress and highlighters that will fall upon you soon enough.

Other things to remember but you will get emails as they become relevant: Bid on parking early. The closest lots (in rough order of closeness) are PS1 or PSX and PS2. Set up a payment plan if that's what you're doing, but make sure your tuition is provided for and ready to go. Go to as many of the optional social events you can, because this is a great chance to meet classmates that you may not share classes with.


Ok, now that this post is probably the longest in history, and I have to get up for work in a few hours, I'm going to leave it at that. As always feel free to PM me with whatever, and I hope you all enjoy your summers!

aliasdancer
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby aliasdancer » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:43 am

Thank you guys so much for all the advice, it really helps to hear, I appreciate it!




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