Law school, if you haven’t already heard or realized, is not like other experiences. The honeymoon is very short lived. Having finished my first week of classes, all I have to say is that I am worried about sustaining this pace of work, the demand is not anything I have experienced so far (…and this is the first week!).
Some lessons I am walking away with are the following:
Law school is a demanding mistress, don’t mess around with her
It’s all true- the first day of class horror stories, the reading expectations, the feeling of being completely stupid when you know you are not. The thing is none of this is going to be easy unless you understand that this Law School thing is like an affair you are having, except it’s an affair that has to be all consuming.
You can sneak around, going to the beach, but take your books, take your supplements. Do not do anything without your mistress. If you want to succeed in law school, the course material needs to be on you all times, readily accessible. Do not allow a moment of time to be wasted. In fact, before you go to law school make sure you understand that this is the level of expectation necessary and get your act together. Prepare to psychologically devote your whole being to Law School.
If you treat it with the utmost disrespect, know that you will have your arse handed to you come finals or earlier, in class.
There is no sleeping around…
It might have been easy to flirt around with like say biology or anthropology in undergrad. But Law School is a demanding jealous mistress. You have no life outside of the time you need to devote to making her happy. You can not sleep around with, I don’t know, a demanding girl who needs some extra special attention because she found out Justin Bieber is dating some twit.
What I learned was that the mistress is not happy with distracted lovers either. I have run around trying to take care of housing, my laptop (for Steve Jobs retirement I donated to his pension and got me a MacBook Pro, yaay!), my ongoing nightmare with my car.
Whatever you got going on, make sure that you handle it and are prepared to devote yourself fully to classes when they start. Its a headache otherwise.
The Mistress requires you to be ready with the right tools…
Yes, like any professions, being a lawyer requires you to be ready. Honestly, if you don’t have a proper study set up at home, then you don’t have the right preparation or tools. Your trade requires you to have a proper place to devote yourself to its practice. First, make sure you have your own private room. Do not share rooms. Do not have your own room with a dozen other people living in your apartment to help bring costs down. I realized, you already are taking out 120,000 bucks of loans, most likely, unless your blessed with a trust fund, scholarships or a decent savings. You can afford to get your own room and have a decent living situation. That domestic setup will be your savior, it will be your sanctuary and when you can’t stay another moment in the library, that room will be a retreat for your continued studying efforts.
Do yourself a favor, get your own room. Get a decent mattress (proper bed with sheets and pillows and comforter and all); your sleep is the only time you escape your mistress, if even, so it better be a comfortable sanctuary.
Get a nice large plank- go to Ikea and buy the table tops. Buy a bookshelf. Buy a filing cabinet, sturdy. Buy yourself a decent desk chair. Set up where you have lots of room to spread out your books on that study table.
Think library tables. You need one of those at home. Trust me, its something that has worked for me quite well.
I got more stuff to share on this, but I think for the time being this is definitely a good starting place.
(Picture above is taken by Richard Lawrence Cohen, and is titled “Studying for last law school exam”, check out the flicker stream here. I loved this picture because it expresses how I currently feel as a 1L trying to get to grips with the substantive material in my classes. To think that I feel like this now, what will I look/feel like when I get to my last law school exam?!)