GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 1L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School
I waltzed into 1L believing if I stayed on top of my readings and took notes in class exam prep would be a breeze.
Everyone told me exam season was going to be torture, I didn’t really believe them.
I waltzed into 1L believing if I stayed on top of my readings and took notes in class exam prep would be a breeze. News flash, I was wrong and they were right.
I’m not sure what exactly makes it so horrible; maybe it’s the eighty plus cases per class you have to memorize, or the hundreds of rules, or the fact that you somehow have to manage to balance schoolwork with studying, since classes don’t end until right before finals. For me however the worst thing is the atmosphere in the school at large. Campus went housing students who utilized their lunch breaks to attend talks, society meetings, or just relax with friends, to an earie building filled with students shuffling flash cards and chugging coffee.
Walking through the halls this past week I began to stress myself out.
I saw everyone studying their perfectly crafted flash cards, talking about the practice tests they’d already completed, and meeting with groups to go over course material. I, on the other hand, preoccupied with my personal life, had yet to begin. Automatically I felt behind. If other people had flash cards that meant they had been studying for weeks, right? How early was I supposed to begin – in undergrad I never started until reading week … was I wrong to think I could the same now? Did I have time to catch up? Would I even pass? Who would want to hire me if I got below an A?
In hindsight, some of my worries were a bit extreme.
I had worked hard all semester, was engaged in the classroom, and with the exception of civ pro, felt like I had a firm grasp on the concepts we’d discussed, so of course, I wouldn’t fail. Furthermore, I go to a top law school, the chances that one low grade will prevent me, or anyone else, from getting a job after graduation is a little ridiculous – not to undermine the importance of grades. Regardless, I had clearly let my spiral into stress town get the best of me.
If I had it to do over again I would have started studying earlier, I would have outlined throughout the semester instead of leaving it to the end, and I would have used Thanksgiving to finish my readings so I could study in peace. However, now that I’ve had a chance to sit down review my notes and begin my studying process, I do believe it will all be okay. So, if you end up in my position, don’t stress yourself out, instead, take a deep breath, remind yourself that you got accepted to law school because you’re intelligent, and then simply start. After all, stressing will only make you fall further behind.