12.04.10 By Kailey

The End of the Semester As We Know It


Classes wrapped up this week, delightfully in fact. Each of my professors gave kind closing remarks and they have all been very attentive to our e-mail questions and requests for meetings about the exams. So impressed.

I can’t believe I finished an entire semester of law school classes. It really wasn’t so bad. A lot of reading. A lot of being confused. A lot of interacting with new people. But I’m getting ahead of myself here… because I haven’t taken FINALS yet!

Currently I’m working on outlines. Outlining is essentially taking all the information you learned over the course of the course (ha!) and organizing it so it makes sense to you. All of my professors are allowing outlines during the exams, so the goal is to create a tool that will allow you to quickly and effectively answer exam questions and make sure you don’t forget key components or issues. For those of us who love organization, this can be a pleasing endeavor,  but it is incredibly time consuming. I’m also amazed at the variety of different approaches people are taking. Some are using commercially prepared outlines, some aren’t concerned about outlines at all, and others (read: me) have spent many, many hours on this. Evidence:

I’m hoping to finish all my study materials completely this weekend so I can work with a couple of different study groups on practice problems next week.

Law school exams involve getting a hypothetical set of facts and then analyzing them with the principles you’ve learned. This demands “issue spotting,” essentially, quickly picking up on which precedents/laws/provisions are relevant to the facts and analyzing them accordingly. Working in study groups is especially effective for honing this technique because everyone looks at the problem differently and it’s helpful to hear different perspectives. As nerdy as this sounds, this can be kind of a fun bonding experience. The other day a classmate accidentally admitted that she “loved discussing practice questions.” Several of us informed her that there wasn’t any shame in that, that we too secretly love test prep. I also informed her that I’d blog about it. (Hi!)

But even though some joy can be found amongst all this studying, I will admit it’s definitely stressful. SO, what do we do to unwind? Well….

The social highlights of this week included adventures to St. Louis’ “Little Mexico” to dine at El Bronco, one of my fav restaurants (about 15 min from campus). Two of my law school pals accompanied me and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the cheap but delicious fare. It’s nice to get out and explore beyond campus, and St. Louis has some amazing little treats to offer. Tonight, for instance, I will be donning mittens and attending the Holiday Light Display at the St. Louis Zoo (2 minutes from campus). WashU also tries to encourage us to take a break once in a while… the Student Bar Association sponsored a midnight pancake breakfast for students at the Law School on Wednesday night. What’s better than breakfast for dinner at school? Probably nothing.

I’m making a real effort to balance my time between studying at home, studying in the library, wasting time on facebook, napping, and keeping up with other basic human needs. We have all heard horror stories about 1L year, but so far this semester, I’ve found that keeping  a balanced schedule, taking breaks when I need them, and making sure to look back at the big picture… “I’m at a top 20 law school! I’ve always dreamed of this! Everyone around me is so smart and interesting!” has really kept me balanced. Speaking of balance, it’s time I get back to work.

Stay tuned for more adventures. Have a great weekend!


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