Let’s dissect the last few weeks!

Since I stopped posting in-detail around the middle of the semester, I’ll start there.

Things I noticed once it hit the middle of the semester: 

-The amount of reading increased dramatically.
-So did my stress level
-So did my friend’s stress levels
-I turned into a miserable, horrible, cynical person. Looking back now and self-reflecting, I’m horrified at some of the things I’ve said and how I’ve treated people. I’m extremely ashamed of myself.
-Since I didn’t keep a stress outlet (like working out) I took out my stress on my boyfriend. Our relationship is not doing well because of it.
-Text messages, phone calls and emails would go unanswered for days, weeks and sometimes, I just wouldn’t answer at all. It didn’t matter who it was from, either.
-When professors began talking about finals, I think I may have actually had a panic attack.

Things I noticed the last four weeks of the semester: 

-Law students do not care what they look like when they show up to the library, on a Sunday morning, for the 18th day in a row.
-My caffeine consumption increased and my food consumption decreased.
-Creating outlines are the biggest pain in the ass, ever. Reading my notes from the beginning of the semester made me so angry because they fucking sucked. Obviously I had to find a way to take notes that worked for me, but still. I hate using the trial-and-error method at the same time as learning important information.
-All of the bar prep materials (Barbri) are amazing.
-The last four weeks before the finals are when the true colors of people come out. Some of the things I’ve heard people say, how they’ve treated other people, taking over study groups, allowing you to sit in the same room with them only if you don’t talk whatsoever, really changed the way I view people. I understand that everybody handles stress differently, but at some point self-reflection has to take place. If you’re one of those people that need to study in silence, then stay home. Nobody is going to cater to your bizarre needs. If you need something, you do that something. Nobody else is going to put your needs above of their own.
-Everything turned into a competition- who stayed up the latest, who slept the least, who spent the most time at the library, who completed the most practice exams. It got to the point where it was so unbearable that I’d go right home after class so I wouldn’t have to listen to it.
-Text messages, phone calls and emails would go unanswered for days, weeks and sometimes, I just wouldn’t answer at all. It didn’t matter who it was from, either.
-I turned into a miserable, horrible, cynical person. Looking back now and self-reflecting, I’m horrified at some of the things I’ve said and how I’ve treated people. I’m extremely ashamed of myself.

Now that I finished my first semester, what would I change? 
-I’d find a stress outlet. I didn’t have one this semester and I was a monster. I’d call my mom hysterically crying and then get mad that she’d have to hang up after a half hour, when I should have been grateful that she listened for that half hour.
-I’d relax a little bit more. Yeah, law school is hard/challenging/demanding. But why did I feel like I couldn’t do anything? I didn’t allow myself any free time to go out and have fun. Even if I was watching TV on a Saturday night, I’d have my books right next to me to read during commercials. I think doing that really screwed with my mental/emotional states.
-I’d be honest with my home friends. They didn’t go to grad school, so they really don’t understand my work load and they can’t successfully empathize with what I’m going through. When they would text me stupid stuff or vent to me about their problems, I’d ignore them and wouldn’t answer because I had 40+pages of reading to do, finish my outline, go to meetings and I got to a point where the friendship felt very one sided. Granted, they were the ones reaching out to me and I wasn’t answering, but the only thing they would reach out about would be themselves. I never got a “how are you doing” or a “how is school”, and that really hurt. I should have been honest and just said, I’m extremely busy right now so I don’t have time to sit here and listen to you talk about that girl from work who only takes personal phone calls and how it’s driving you crazy. I understand people have to vent, but I, as a law student, don’t have that spare 2 hours to listen to it. Obviously if the situation was important, I’d drop everything to be there, but at the same time I can’t always drop everything for nothing.
-I’d also structure my day more. This is something I’ll do next semester. Instead of hauling ass home after class, I’m going to spend more time in the library and try and keep work at school.

Am I glad this first semester is over? Hell yes.
Did I learn a lot? Hell yes.
Have I changed as a person? Hell yes.

Goals for second semester:
-Start a workout routine.
-Spend more time in the library
-Be nicer and more considerate to those I go to school with.
-Keep my personal drama away from school drama. Nobody wants to hear about the latest fight my boyfriend and I had. It’s true.
-Make time for home friends. Whether it be a group facebook message that we all write in, a once a week phone call, something where we can all keep in touch as opposed to only reaching out to vent.
-Stop eating like a crazy person. I’m not a dumpster, there’s no reason to treat myself like one. I need more vegetables in my life.

If any 0Ls are thinking about going to law school or have gotten in to law school and want advice, please contact me! I know a lot of my blog posts can be rather depressing, I’d rather have an accurate picture painted of school as opposed to a fake representation of it. Also, if 0Ls are interested, I can do a Q&A type thing! 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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5 thoughts on “Let’s dissect the last few weeks!

  1. Phenom post! I wish I had kept up with blogging during my first semester. You seem to have done quite well with keeping up. I just read this and WOW – it sounds like I could have wrote it myself. I agree with pretty much everything. Intense. Good luck on your 2nd semester. I will try to update my blog more often.

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  2. Hi KJ,

    I have a few questions for you! I am in the process of selecting a law school and I am still waiting on my LSAT score. In the meantime, I am working on my personal statement, etc. My questions:

    How did you decide to attend the school that you are at?
    What are some of the main factors that helped you determine where to go?
    How are you paying for law school?
    How many schools did you apply to?
    How many times did you take the LSAT? (I am not too confident on my December performance; it was my firs time)

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    1. Hi Tiffani!

      Congratulations on taking the first of many substantial steps towards going to law school!

      Answers to your questions:
      1. I applied to 9 schools. The law school I’m attending was the first one I got into. I got into 2 others in PA, but I was rejected from the rest. Probably because of my low LSAT score (I was a reverse splitter. My GPA was 3.79 but my LSAT was 153)
      2. The main factors that helped me determine where I wanted to go: In order to make my initial interested list, I had a set of criteria. Namely, cost of attendance, apartment affordability/close range to school, religious affiliation, the school’s ranking, the school’s clinic programs, the amount of kids in each year (generally), the size of the alumni base, distance from home & the 1l success programs offered (mentor groups, TA sessions, etc). When I decided to attend my current school, I was really deciding between it and one other one, which was relatively new (founded in 2006) so it lacked the alumni base I was looking for.
      3. I’m paying with school through a small scholarship and a governmental loan given by the school.
      4. I applied to 9 schools, I believe.
      5. I took the LSAT once. I should have taken it at least twice, but I was so over looking at the practice book and going over word problems that I refused to take it again. My score was in the 25% for the school I’m in now, if that helps.

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      1. Thanks for your response! I was not even thinking about aspects like alumni reach, and mentoring programs but I see why that is important. Up until now, I have been looking at rank, cost of attendance, housing cost, and how many grads are employed in a non school-funded job.
        How important are rankings in respect to finding a job?
        Also, I do not want to be crippled with debt without a job. There are no guarantees but how can I reasonably evaluate my job prospects based on what school I attend? Should I look at what the school’s OCI look like?

        Thanks!

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      2. Oh my gosh, of course I’d respond! I’m glad that I’m able to help out another person looking towards law school! So many people gave me bits of advice and it’s only fair if I give back, too.
        Anyways, to answer your question: If you plan to practice (at least in the short term) close to your school, then no, rankings do not matter. Like my law school is really strong regionally, so I could (if I passed the bar) practice in PA, NJ and NY, but it would be really hard for me to practice in say, CA or LA because my school isn’t in the top 5/10. It’s really all to do with alumni base, or if you’re lucky personal connections that you have in another state, when finding a job if your school isn’t in the top 5/10. Right now my plan is to graduate, pass the bar in my school’s state, practice there for 3 years or so, then move to MA and practice there. So the firm in MA can see that I have practice
        I don’t really know how to answer your second and third questions, since I’m only a 1L. But my plan is this: While I may have a lot of debt right now (I’m also going straight from undergrad to law school), my financial aid refund for the second semester is enough to hold me over for rent and bills for the summer. From what I’ve been told your 1L summer is mostly volunteer work, so to not expect to be paid at all. But, your 2L summer you’d be able to be paid so to take that money and put it towards your loan payments. So while you may be living on ramen noodles and tap water, at least your debt will be going down by a few hundred dollars.

        With my school, 1Ls aren’t allowed to do OCI, but we are allowed to go to a PISP (public interest work) job fair. I’m not interested in public interest work, but it is good experience to have for your first summer, so I would really do that your first summer; unless you have a paid job offer coming in.

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