I really, really enjoyed my first year, particularly first semester. I (mostly) enjoyed reading cases and working out the relevant issues in class. It might've helped that my section had some pretty talented teachers and a good balance of interesting classes in the first semester (and some really great students, too); I loathed LRW, so I don't like absolutely everything.
I think that living in Gropius significantly affected my view of law school. I really liked the people I met there, and I was able to break away from studying and class to talk with people about, well, anything whenever I wanted. That helped a lot in those moments when I was just mentally exhausted.
I don't know exactly what the difference is between people who like law school and people who don't. I've found it really enjoyable, and I suspect that in my case the time that I took off between undergrad and law school helped. I was away from school for just long enough (3 years) to miss it, so it's been great to come back. If I had gone straight through I would've been so burnt out on school by the time I got here that I would probably hate it.
I would cosign almost all of this, except that I live with non-law students about a mile from campus, which i think significantly helped my experience. I also took only a year off, but it was better than nothing.
I'm also a joiner and I was heavily involved in a lot of student groups, as well as making time to work out most days, go out regularly and cook when possible. maintaining a happy life/school balance made me happy overall and, I think, allowed me to appreciate school (mostly). I also despised LRW and I'm in tomwatts's section, so maybe we just had a sweet section and an all-star professorial lineup. but I still know lots of people that hated it, or at least hated first semester.