Sunday, September 4, 2016
How To Explain What Law School Is Like
If you're a first year law student like I am, chances are that all of your friends and family asks you the same question over and over and over again:
"So, what is law school actually like?"
Considering I spend at least six hours per weekday buried in case briefs and coffee cups, you would think I would have a solid answer worked out. But truthfully, describing what law school is like is much harder than one would imagine. It is kind of one of those things where you cannot really know what it is like until you do it yourself. So, over the last three weeks of law school I have crafted an answer to this question.
You see, I had been answering the question with a myriad of answers. I would say, "Oh, it is just a lot of reading and a lot of tears" or "Basically like college on steroids." Both of those answers are true, but they really do not capture the essence of law school. If you want a quick and easy answer, those two options will suffice. But, as future lawyers, the aim is always accuracy and clarity.
I had a revelation when I was texting my best friend about the homework load I had for the night. She asked me how much work I had to do, and I told her that overall I had to read about sixty pages for the next day. This seems to be an average amount for daily readings, in case any of you are curious. However, the moment of clarity was when I explained, "I only have eighteen pages left, though, so I should be done in about an hour and a half." She was extremely confused and asked why it would take so long to read only eighteen pages. As most law students, I have been reading at a very high level and quick speed for a long time now, so simply reading eighteen pages should take no longer than fifteen minutes.
That is where law school is different. The amount of time it takes to read, absorb, and learn all of the information required takes five times as long as normal, because it is harder, denser, and way more important. There is not simply "more reading" or "harder material," but it is a combination of both and the dedication it requires to learn the material. So far, it seems that for every hour you will spend in class, you will spend two to three hours outside of class to read, learn, and understand the material.
Law school is a full time job. Law school is hard. But it is also really rewarding to put in this amount of dedication to something that you love and will serve you for the rest of your life.