#The1Llife: Grades Don’t Make You

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GUEST BLOG by Jackson Long,
1L at SMU Dedman School of Law

By now you’ve likely received your grades from first semester. Let me be the millionth person to tell you – yes, they do matter.

But they don’t MAKE you.

Your GPA is but one number on one semester’s transcripts. It is definitely limited in its effect. First, you have an equal opportunity this spring to raise or lower that number. There will be students who get their act together and others who get cocky and fall to back of the pack.

Be consistent on what worked for you and improve on what didn’t.
Further, it is still just a number. It cannot define who you are as a person or how successful you’ll be as an attorney. It may open the more doors right out of school, but once you find yourself inside any door, you will unequivocally be judged upon your own merits, not your law school transcript.

For those of you who did well, congrats! You are off to a great start, but remember, you are only half way to completing your 1L grades. Stay disciplined and work even harder before.

As a former football player fortunate to be on a good team, we’d often find ourselves ahead by 30 or 40 points. Each time, our coaches would stress to us “0-0, that’s the score.” Moral of the story, play the game all the time like it’s a tie ball game. Attack this next semester like you are tied with the rest of your class at 0-0.

Game On.

#The1Llife: The Wait

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GUEST BLOG by Jackson Long,
1L at SMU Dedman School of Law

Welcome back friends!

After a nice long break (hopefully relaxing and enjoyable) it’s time to start the second semester of law school.

Except you don’t know how the first one went!

Seriously? It takes five weeks or so to get grades turned in apparently. How can I include my GPA on any of the job applications that are already due if I don’t have my grades returned?

It may seem like I am blowing smoke, but I have to think there’s a more efficient way to do this. The agony of students waiting to see their grades is quite prevalent. Hopefully you were able to do something over winter break to keep your mind off of it. I found my solitude in the mountains.

Something about being in the high altitude kept my thoughts from wandering and worrying about grades. Maybe it was the incredible view. Maybe it was the lack of oxygen.

Regardless, I wish everyone well in receiving your academic report card. It’s a shame I can’t even comment on my own yet. We’ll just have to assume the way I prepared for each class is at least KIND OF working.

Maybe next week I’ll write about the euphoria of getting grades back (contingent on actually getting grades back).

Looking forward to visiting next week! Cheers.

#The1Llife: I’ve Made It!

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GUEST BLOG by Jackson Long,
1L at SMU Dedman School of Law

Congrats! You just finished the most difficult semester of law school!

Seriously, it’s such a cool accomplishment and you should be very proud of the work you’ve done.

It all started back in August, beginning your first class and anxiously anticipating what the semester had in store. You’ve come so far from that moment, piecing together ever ounce of information. Remember when you started your first outline? Seemed like an impossible task at the time – now look at all the materials you had prepared for finals week. Since Thanksgiving, and maybe earlier, you’ve been a machine. You’ve had to put some priorities on the back burner to give the homestretch your full an undivided attention. (Side note: GO BACK TO THOSE THINGS NOW!)

The exam period was the final step.

HouseOfCardsTwo weeks of maintaining a grueling schedule while balancing sleep, multiple subjects and all the other pressures put upon law students. Your reward: waiting for a month to figure out what it all means.
But this is a celebratory post! So it should be about Netflix/HBO/Amazon recommendations (House of Cards/Westworld/Man in the High Castle) and eating all the home cooked food you’ve been missing. This post is about doing all the little things you’ve been putting off for the last four weeks and cherishing those relationships that have supported you throughout your semester.

So I wish you a very happy holiday season to celebrate your outstanding accomplishment of completing the hardest semester of law school. It truly is all DOWNHILL from here.

Treat yo’ self for the next few weeks. You deserve it. See you next semester!

#The1Llife: The Final Countdown

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GUEST BLOG by Jackson Long,
1L at SMU Dedman School of Law

The moment is finally here! It’s crunch time.

Fotolia_74961282_Subscription_Monthly_MCongratulations on a semester full of learning, working harder than you could image and making new friends and connections at each and every turn. Appreciate the process

A lot is on the line in the next two weeks, and to that, I wish you the best of luck! 1L grades are important, that’s why you’ve been following along with BARBRI every step of the way. The 1L Mastery Package has been a staple in my exam prep. Adding extra practice questions to my studying has helped fill quite a few overlooked gaps in my outlines.

But there is more than just the transcript that matters. As we enter finals, now is a time where you get to show yourself how much you’ve learned and how far you’ve come in just four short (long?) months. That’s an incredible accomplishment in itself.

When I was talking with an associate at a local firm yesterday, he said that your first exam period will be the most challenging time in law school. So while that may raise the hairs on your neck, it means it’s all down hill from here.

You’re just short of the summit. Time to make that final push! Keep a sound mind and a healthy body these next two weeks. It will help you more than you can image.

Best of luck to all #FutureLawyers out there! Time to close the book on your first chapter in the journey.

I look forward to checking back in with you all after finals!

#The1Llife: The Breakthrough

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GUEST BLOG by Jackson Long,
1L at SMU Dedman School of Law

Ever feel like your brain has reached its finite capacity?

Like three months of law school has filled it up to the brim, and everything that’s being poured on top goes in one ear and out the other?

That was me for the last two weeks. Something inside me just felt like there was nothing else I could sponge up. It kind of made me feel like I wasn’t ready to handle another month plus the pressure of finals. I’m sure (I hope?) some others are in the same boat.

Fotolia_21797937_Subscription_Monthly_MBut that’s when the breakthrough hits. And it’s such a big moment.

It can come many different ways, too! Maybe it’s a day in class when something clicks, or a conversation with a 2L on the best way to piece together all of the information. It can be just 30 seconds of your professor clarifying how a topic fits into the broader material. Regardless, keep pushing and you will find it!

Just the other day, I looked at my torts syllabus and the reading schedule. There were only four classes left in the semester. The first though, holy cow! We are so close to being done with this first semester. However, my second thought was “I’ve got this, I’ve basically learned everything required and there’s just a few topics left.”

It was a sobering moment. Some days you have the weight of immense learning requirements pushing down on you. But after seeing that I’ve been through the majority of the material, the light at the end of the tunnel is near!

Keep pushing for that break through. Some people will say you are lucky if you can find it during the stresses of writing finals and exams.

I say luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Go get it!