#The1Llife

The Year In Review

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

One of those things, however, is finding the right fit for yourself. 1L year will test relationships (good and bad), habits (also both good and bad), and many other things previously set in your life.

Wow… what a whirlwind of a year.

August to May, nine months of new experiences at every turn and the hardest I’ve worked in my entire life. It just hasn’t truly sunk in yet. So before we look forward to what’s next, let’s look back and reflect (and learn) from what was a year to remember for each of us.

Starting Off on the Right Foot

First day jitters are definitely a thing. Who is in your class? How does the law school learning style fit with my own? Is the professor going to Socratically crush me on day one? Completing the BARBRI Law Preview course before the start of school helped answer all of those questions. I met a group of friends to gravitate to on day one and even some who attend other law schools in the state (we still keep in touch). The biggest result: knowing what to expect each day in class and knowing what professors expect on exam day. While others jumped straight into the fire, I felt prepared from the first day. And there are few things more important during your 1L year than being “ahead of the curve.”

Setting Your Foundation

One of those things, however, is finding the right fit for yourself. 1L year will test relationships (good and bad), habits (also both good and bad), and many other things previously set in your life. It’s critical to get into a grove that you are comfortable in even with the chaos of law school swirling around you. I was fortunate to find a great group of friends to balance staying active and social with the rigors of studying. The relationships created in law school and through your experiences lead to many opportunities both professionally and socially.

Embracing the Grind

After laying the groundwork in your new place, then the real show begins. We don’t need to go over how demanding 1L year was. We both know it. The biggest thing is learning to roll with the punches, keep your balance, and move forward. I had two major computer issues hit me this year. My roommate ruptured his Achilles. I’m sure some students have had much MUCH worse. I’m thankful for only having the troubles I had. Because law school has no mercy – you can only push forward with all you have, and give it all you got for one year.

Finishing Strong

And here we are, finished. Many of you have probably already started your summer work. Look back on the last three weeks with pride after putting every last ounce of effort into your 1L grades. I often make fun of how I didn’t know a lick of Civil Procedure until the last week of April. Personal side note: thank you Professor Richard Freer of Emory Law, your BARBRI 1L Mastery videos single-handedly saved my Civ Pro backside. But that’s part of finishing strong. If there’s a will, then there’s a way. And when you have to fight through the last few weeks, you finish strong because you have to.

I’ve certainly enjoyed the opportunity to write along on our 1L journey together. We’ve had lots of ups and lots of downs (almost getting hit by a car). But through and through, I hope your 1L experience is one that you can look back upon with great pride and joy – even if you’re absolutely thrilled that it’s finally over like I am.  Now you can pass the torch. Congratulations and cheers to you, the new 2L!