It’s that part of the semester. We have only a few short weeks left of classes, finals are looming, and my course outlines are, let’s just say, not in great shape. (I’ll start outlining this weekend, I swear!) Spring has arrived in Williamsburg, bringing warmer temperatures, flowering trees, and a desperation to finish the semester and begin summer vacation. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve vacillated between feeling stressed out and burned out as my 1L year begins to draw to a close.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the midst of a busy semester. Many times throughout the year, I’ve felt like I’m the only dunce who didn’t know that the Uniform Commercial Code governs transactions for the sale of goods; who doesn’t understand what a restrictive covenant is; and who is still a little murky on the definition of promissory estoppel.
Recently, however, I realized just how much I’ve grown over the past eight months and how much law I’ve actually learned over my 1L year. To prove my point, I’ll share three anecdotes that occurred over the past week.
First: I’m much better at reading the law than I realized. My boyfriend, who doesn’t attend law school, picked up one of my textbooks and started reading it. After a couple of minutes, he put it down, stared at me, and asked how on earth I understood the case I had been reading. I looked at the page he was stuck on and started skimming it. To me, it seemed pretty straightforward; sure, there were a couple of confusing points, but I at least understood the gist of what the Court was saying. So, the moral of the story? The law really is like another language, and I’ve taken for granted just how much I’ve learned this language throughout the past year.
Second: I can apply the law better than I realized. I was recently watching a movie with a court scene in it. One of the lawyers requested a change of venue, which is something you’ll learn about in your Civil Procedure class in the fall. I paused the movie and – no joke – started running through a change of venue analysis in my head, realizing that the filmmakers had actually done their research and had applied this concept correctly. This made me very excited, probably more than it should have.
Third: I’m not the only one who’s felt overwhelmed at points this year. After an exceptionally difficult class a few days ago, I left the lecture hall feeling discouraged, assuming that I was the only student who was incredibly confused. This feeling lasted only a few minutes until my friends also started complaining about how little they understood about this topic. Turns out, we’re all in exactly the same boat as far as our level of comprehension goes. A group study session is forthcoming. Two heads are better than one, right?
Law school is hard. I’d be lying if I told you otherwise. However, even after just a year, I can already tell how valuable my William & Mary Law School education is, and how well I’m being prepared to practice the law. As Professor Kingsfield said in The Paper Chase: “You come in here with a skull full of mush, and you leave thinking like a lawyer.” After a year, I can say with certainty that the de-mushing process is definitely well underway.
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