Thursday, August 25, 2016
The First Day of Law School
I always imagined my first day of law school, I would run into school happy, prepared, and ready to start my career as a lawyer-to-be. Instead, I rolled in already tired, scared, and a little unsure about what I was doing. And as I sat down in my 8:00 A.M. lecture, it seemed that my classmates felt the exact same way.
The first day of law school is intimidating. And hard. And stressful. And it might make you cry. I'm not saying this to scare you; I just do not want to sugar coat it. The first day of law school is also incredible, a huge accomplishment, and a lot of fun. It is both terrifying and wonderful all at the same time. At least, that was my experience.
In the week before law school, all of my professors posted assignments on the online course management system for the first day of classes. That is one thing to be aware of and make sure you check for before starting law school. Unlike my entire undergraduate experience, there is no syllabus week in law school. Three out of my five professors spent a few minutes on the syllabus, but none spent more than fifteen minutes on it before diving directly into the material. Law school starts on day one, so do not be the student that comes in unprepared and unaware that you were supposed to have read three torts cases for the day.
On my first day, I came in with all of my assignments read and notes taken on each one, anticipating an immediate quiz on the material. As many of you probably know, law school professors use the Socratic method to teach. This means that they will call on random people however they please when asking questions to the class. My torts professor came in, dropped his book on the lectern, and called on a random kid in the first row asking, "What is a tort?" This type of thing was common in every single class. This was part of the reason the day was so stressful.
Between classes, I spent a few hours in the library doing my reading for the next day. I figure it is better to stay ahead on assignments and not get behind from the very first week. So I grabbed a coffee from the school cafe and read up on criminal law and started an assignment for legal writing. And then when my classes were over at 4:30, I went back to the library to study some more. By 5:30 I finished my assignments for the next day and was ready to go home.
So that was my first day. It's not like it was anything exciting, but it was an intimidating day. But about halfway through my first class, I realized that everything I was feeling was totally normal. Everyone else is starting their first day of law school as well. We are all terrified of being humiliated by our professors. And all of us had read for hours the night before. I realized, it's okay if you don't have it all figured out yet. It's your first day, nobody expects you to be an expert. They just expect you to try.
The first day of law school is also incredibly amazing. It's the moment you had been envisioning every since you took signed up for the LSAT, applied for law school, or enrolled in the school of your dreams. So between feeling tired, scared, and overwhelmed, take a deep breath, and realize that you did it. You're here.
That was my first day of law school. Now I am a week in, and it's gotten easier and better every single day. But more about that later...