In light of my very last year of law school approaching quickly I thought I would compile a list of some of the best and worst moments in law school. I’m sure there will be more this coming year, but it’s always nice (and sometimes hilarious) to reflect on a long journey that I’ve almost completed. I’ve met some incredible people in school, learned from some equally awesome professors, and I’ve cherished all the memories–good and bad. Here’s to being a 3L!
1. My Contracts exam second semester of 1L. This tops my list as the worst moment by far. I had studied so hard, but when I started reading the very first fact pattern I completely froze. No issues jumped out at me right away, and I started to panic immediately. It is so easy to get caught up in the competition of law school and lose sight of the moment, which is exactly what I did. I toyed with the idea of just getting up, leaving all the hard work I put into first semester behind and saying “fuck it.” Irrational decisions in the heat of the moment. A lot of people asked me why I didn’t just move on to the second fact pattern–I did eventually once I started breathing again–45 minutes into the exam. I still struggled with the first fact pattern, and I was convinced I would be unable to finish and inevitable failure was all I could think about. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised with my end grade. Thank you God for helping me keep it together.
2. My Personal Income Tax Exam first semester of 2L. This was another exam where I felt sheer panic because I was running out of time, and I struggled immensely on the questions I was able to get to. Math was never my strong suit, and it had nothing to do with the professor. I poorly mismanaged my time, I was unsure about almost everything, and I nearly had a heart attack as a result. The craziest part was toward the end of the exam when I knew there was no way that I would be able to even remotely finish–I was wearing ear plugs, and I could hear my heart beating so loudly in my ears that I had to take them out to concentrate on the last few minutes. To say the least, I felt like I got hit by a train after that one, but again, I took the class pass/fail and passed! I’m so glad I know myself well enough to know that there is no way I would have done well in that class otherwise.
3. Receiving my very first graded paper in Legal Writing 1 first semester of 1L. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself but when it comes to writing I hardly ever worry about an assignment. That all changed once I received my first graded law school paper. Our professor warned us that our first grades probably wouldn’t be where we pictured them. Boy, was she right! Let’s just say I found myself sitting in my parked car outside of my apartment, alone, and crying to my husband about how badly I failed. Yeah, it wasn’t a pretty sight. In the end, I pulled myself together and did great in the class. Phew!
4. Oral argument second semester of 1L. This is the moment I knew I never wanted to be a litigator. I was entirely too nervous, and I’ll never forget the look on my professor’s face when I asked her if I could restart my opening because I screwed up. What a mistake that was. I was so disappointed because my practices went fairly well, and I felt prepared. Then, it all crumbled. That’s what happens when you let fear completely take over. I just recently received an opportunity to conduct my own arbitration in front of a three-member panel at my internship. I was nervous, but I did SO much better…it’s refreshing to see how far I’ve come from my first year. I still don’t want to litigate though for many, many reasons :)
5. The written songs my Civil Procedure professor would play for my class after each major subject first semester of 2L. My Civil Procedure professor is probably the most well-rounded person I’ve had to the opportunity to get to know and be taught by. Not only is he a graduate of MIT but he writes and produces songs as well. They’re pretty catchy I might add, and pretty hilarious. There was often an odd awkwardness in the room as our entire class would listen in complete silence for 3 minutes. But, they always got us to smile.
6. Everyday in my Constitutional law class second semester 2L. What an awful class. So much time was wasted, we didn’t cover anywhere near the amount of material my professor aimed for (because he spent most of the time going off on irrelevant tangents), and I still cannot believe I paid nearly $5k for that class alone. What a waste of freaking money. The only thing I’m thankful for is that his exam was incredibly predictable.
7. Receiving my very first solid “A.” I worked hard in high school and undergrad, and law school is no different. But, as I’ve stated over and over again, getting an “A” in law school is a far different game. When I received my first solid “A,” I felt like I finally accomplished something that can be pretty difficult to obtain in law school. In all of our 1L classes only 5% of the entire class can even get an “A.” It wasn’t really that I was shocked to receive the grade, but it was moreso just the fact that I finally received something that I had been working towards. What a great feeling! An “A-” doesn’t count. Ha.
8. Getting married during the second semester of 1L. I still cannot believe I planned it the way I did, and it makes me cringe to think how close I was to not being able to fly out for the wedding in Florida because Chicago had received so much snow a few weeks before (Snowpocalypse 2011). But, I made it to Florida, and it was the happiest day of my life to date. Regardless as to how crazy I was; I wouldn’t change a thing.
9. The moment I realized my eyesight was completely shot the end of first semester in 1L. I was sitting in Torts, and I was having a really hard time reading the material on the professor’s slides. I thought maybe it was the focus on the projector, but after a friend of mine told me he could read the projector just fine I knew that my eyesight was getting bad. The optometrist practically laughed at me and asked if I attended law school: “We get a lot of blind law school students in here. It’s because you guys don’t take enough breaks and you sit reading for too many hours.” I’m now the proud owner of eyeglasses and hopefully will soon have contacts.
10. This hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sure it’ll eventually get on my list so I’ll put it here anyway—Graduation!