#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.

I Was Dedicated, and I Passed

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GUEST BLOG by Harrison Thorne,
Graduate of UCLA Law

The Bar Exam is a tough test.

You spend three years studying (hopefully) daily in law school, and realize fairly quickly that you are not at all prepared for the Bar as soon as the preparations begin. You get years of material crammed down your throat in a few months, and are expected to not only retain it all, but also learn how to write in a new way, take multiple choice tests (which many students haven’t taken in years), and write horrible performance tests.

BARBRI was a life-saver for me.

Obviously I was a BARBRI representative, and wrote a blog for them, so my view might seem biased. But, I can say with certainty that BARBRI was the reason I passed. I used their lesson plan, and while I did not always follow it 100%, I received a lot of ease knowing that I had a schedule and was not “winging it.” I liked that there were people telling me what to do. I liked that people graded my essays. I liked that there were sample essays and performance tests. I liked that their multiple choice questions were way harder than actual MBEs, such that the actual test was pleasantly easy in comparison. I liked that BARBRI made things feel manageable.

Overall, if I had to do things again, I would not change my approach.

From day 1, I decided I was going to dedicate myself 100% (within reason) to the Bar, and I did just that. I used what worked for me, left behind what did not, and worked hard. It was not always fun, but having the support of a proven program like BARBRI really helped me feel confident that I was moving in the right direction. I managed to pass the California Bar on my first attempt, and I feel confident that BARBRI is the reason for my success.

#The3Llife: Bucket List

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GUEST BLOG by Lauren Rose,
3L at University of Detroit Mercy

There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

I have finally reached the last semester of law school. Graduation is in approximately 115 days (but who’s counting…). As a meager 1L, I never thought that this day would come to fruition and now it is here.

This is a bittersweet feeling. Law school has not been easy and it has not been very fun, but I have had my fair share of good times. I have met a ton of great people and I have had many great experiences as a result.

During the next three months, I plan to learn as much as I can about the law while  also checking items off of my proverbial law school bucket list. So, here goes nothing.

  • Observe hearings in federal court because I have not been to a federal court
  • Volunteer for local organizations
  • Finish law school with grades that I am proud of
  • Read a book for enjoyment
  • Donate my time and efforts to a great cause
  • Support local businesses by exploring different parts of town on the weekends
  • Start studying for the bar exam, which is in about 6 months, and the thought of which is terrifying
  • Spend more time with family and friends because I want to show my appreciation for them before bar prep begins
  • Impart wisdom upon underclassmen about what classes to take and how to make the most out of law school
  • Have fun!

This is (probably) the last time that I will ever be a student and I would like to make this semester as meaningful as possible.

What is on your #3L bucket list? I would love to hear

#The2Llife: After a Restful Break

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GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
2L at UCLA School of Law

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a very restful break and that you are not too stressed over the receipt of your grades (or rather, your grades themselves). I spent two weeks with a dear LLM friend of mine in my home in Tucson, Arizona, and it was a lovely time. I didn’t do anything law school related, and opted to not take a two-week class in January before the semester started. It was a very rejuvenating time with my family.

However, towards the end of break, I got news that a very close family member of mine has a serious and advanced form of cancer. Immediately I feel into the habits I struggled with last spring semester when my tío passed away in February. Already, I feel like this semester is going to be an uphill battle. I have taken to telling my close friends and some administrators and professors so they can understand my lack of energy and sadness, but also so they can hold me accountable. I learned from my last depressive episode during law school that I want to sleep all the time, and can, very easily. With the support of my friends, I’m working on creating a schedule that minimizes my time alone and, consequently, my opportunities to sleep.

I am happy to announce that I re-joined my dance team, which is an obvious highlight in my life right now. I will be working hard this semester to balance my life better than I did 1L. I hope you’ll stick with me this 2L spring semester as a blog my way through law school, personal issues, and dance adventures.

#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.