The least wonderful time of the year: tips for exam season

In college and especially in law school, I remember feeling bitter and resentful about the holidays. Just when it felt like the world was getting festive for everyone else, I was consumed with the approach of a different season: exam season.

This was especially the case during my 1L year, since Harvard was still operating under the ridiculous schedule that had 1Ls sit for their fall semester exams in January. That was about as terrible as it sounds, as I’ve described here. (I wrote more generally about my law school trajectory here.)

But there are ways to make your studying less painful and more effective. Here are a few tips you can use to position yourself for success on your exams and make it through the least wonderful time of the year. Continue reading “The least wonderful time of the year: tips for exam season”

“It’s not so shiny anymore”: 1Ls and the October slump

Unlike many law professors, I only teach 1Ls. It’s a role I relish, in part because I think the first year is a time when good teaching and mentoring can make a huge difference in the life of a law student, and in part because, as I’ve shared before (and again and again), 1L year was far from my finest hour. Between my experience teaching 1Ls and my experience being a 1L, I’ve learned that there are some pretty consistent messages that many first-year law students usually need to hear at about this time of year. That’s why, 1Ls, this post is for you.

So, it’s October. Soon it will be mid-October. Law school probably isn’t so shiny anymore. Maybe you’ve got midterms coming up. Maybe you’ve been talking to 2Ls and 3Ls about how to outline. Maybe you’ve been going to presentations about applying for summer jobs or how to prepare for exams, and, while helpful, they stressed you out because they made you think about The Curve and Everything You Have To Do and How Important Everything Is. Maybe, in anticipation of the end of the semester, some of your classmates aren’t being as friendly or as forthcoming with their work product as they were four weeks ago. Maybe you wrote your first memo and it was much harder than you expected, or the feedback you received wasn’t the kind of feedback you’re used to getting on your writing.

Either way, the newness is wearing off and your nerves may be wearing thin. Here are seven tips to get you through the rest of the semester. (Each of these could probably be their own post; I’ll get more specific about some of them as we get closer to December.) Continue reading ““It’s not so shiny anymore”: 1Ls and the October slump”