Monday, January 25, 2010

Random Law School Update 6

Last Location: Law School

Current location: Law School

Next location: Law School

The registrar did something borderline cruel and decided to trickle our grades out to us one by one. The first grade came out before I left Tucson, but was removed shortly thereafter and reposted last week with our second final grade. The last three midterm grades were supposed to be mailed this weekend. But this seems to have been little more than a scheme to finally teach those of us living on campus how to use our mildly complicated combination code mailboxes that we usually just leave to get full of ads and coupons until the mailman can't fit anymore in and the people at residence life have to send out a mass email begging people to check their mailbox, by which point the people concerned have forgotten their combination.

This weekend however, I saw several students check their boxes upwards of four times a day. I only checked once a day, mostly because I am not in such a rush to see my grades, which are now apparently waiting for us at the registrar office. I also made it easier on myself by not checking my grades as they came out on the internet. So I am at this moment, blissfully ignorant of my quantitative value as a law school student. I am still not sure that I want to see my grades at all. If it weren’t for the purpose of gauging the results of my study habits from last semester to adjust them for this semester, I probably wouldn’t.

Before my law school experience becomes temporarily quantified by grades, I wanted to write down a few things that I do to make it qualitatively good. This is mostly the sort of thing I write to remind myself how to stay on track, but it may be helpful to those of you in school, thinking about going to school or at a tough job:

How to love being a Law Student
1. Put the gym on par with classes. I schedule an hour a day of gym time into my schedule and make it a commitment. Even if I haven’t done my reading, I always go to class. I take my gym schedule equally seriously. Going to the gym boosts my energy levels, keep my metabolism pumping and improves my mood and focus so that the time I spend studying is more effective. My improved efficiency throughout the day, week and semester more than makes up for the time I spend at the gym.

2. Eat awesomely and go vegan. Going vegan is pretty much the secret to all of my successes in life, but in law school nutrition plays a particularly important role in keeping me in shape and energetic. I have devised a bunch of meals that are super quick to prep, pretty inexpensive and super nutritionally balanced: www.15minutemeals.blogspot.com. I focus on protein and fiber and exclude excess caffeine, alcohol, and sugars. I have replaced coffee and sugar with unsweetened cocoa powder, which I mix in hot water like hot chocolate but without milk or sugar. When I need a quick snack, I turn to protein shakes and builder bars.

3. Keep your room clean and super organized. An organized room leads to an organized brain.

4. Live close. I live on campus so that I waste almost no time ever on transportation. This saves me upwards of five hours a week which is almost a full week worth of workouts, two classes worth of reading, or a night out with friends. I also saves me the stress associated with trying to get from point A to point B in Y minutes. I am also in the same building as my gym so I don’t have to bundle up to workout, which probably saves another 20 minutes a day.

5. Be friendly but make friends slowly. One of the best things I did was to move in at the last possible moment before orientation. This limited the amount of people I met before the semester started and allowed me to spend more energy getting to slowly know the people in my section. That said, one of the things that makes tuition worth it is the people you meet in law school, so do get to know them. The people I go to school with are smart, ambitious, and thoughtful people who largely think about things the same way that I do. It’s no wonder I like it here so much.

6. Streamline your life. Every minute counts. Use short breaks between classes to do a few pages of reading, edit your resume, call home, pay bills, or eat meals. Sometimes I can get more done in several short blocks of time then in long undefined periods during which I am tempted to distract myself. Double task, use your downtime, laundry time, metro time, waiting room time to read. We have internet in class. I use lulls in lecture when I would probably otherwise doze off to check mail and plan my schedule.

7. Don't read everything. You may be able to read everything, but chances are you'll only remember 20% anyways. I have decided to focus my reading around taking really good reading notes so that I will have the important elements of each reading when I go back to prepare for exams.

8. Love what you read. Look up terms you don’t know, research the background stories of juicy cases and post any innuendo you stumble across on facebook. This keeps things interesting.

9. Take time off before you start. I don’t think it is necessary to take time off between undergrad and grad school but I have to admit that, after going vegan, it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am rarely if ever distracted by regrets or “what ifs” and when I start to feel cramped I look at my pictures and feel free and happy again. Also, the year I spent working as a legal assistant helped. Not because I learned so much about law in theory, but because I have an understanding of what law looks like in practice (two very different things). Also, talking to real lawyers about the highs and lows of their lives since law school is part of what convinced me to take two more years off to travel.

10. Attach the correct amount of worth to grades. While good grades are super valuable and will do a lot of the work for you when you go to interview for jobs, falling anywhere in the midst of a group of individuals who have been meticulously selected based on their statistical ability to do well in law school isn’t a bad thing. Also, unlike some graduate programs, the stuff you learn in law school is often directly relevant to your future career. That means that you aren’t just paying to get a pretty transcript from a prestigious institution. The education itself is worth a lot.

Love,

Melissa

1 comment:

Randy and Pam Warner said...

Great ideas and perspective.