Losing control of semester

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
Bigly
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:03 am

Losing control of semester

Postby Bigly » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:15 am

First post here, try to be nice.

At a T-14 and struggling to keep up with the workload. Trying my best to keep up with the reading/assignments, and that alone is taking all my time. Haven't had the time to review any of the stuff from my previous classes + outline. Can the semester still be salvaged? 1L here and kind of depressed about all this. What can I do from this point on to put myself in a decent position to have some success come exam time?

You might say, "why don't you have time to do these other things". It's pretty simple: I'm pretty dumb and am lucky to be in the school I'm at. It takes me a long time to get things, and what can take someone 10 min to learn can take me 45 min. I spend a lot of time just doing the readings to "keep up." Everyone around me is smarter, quicker, better organized. I'm just trying to hang in there.

Any help from people who were in a similar position would be super helpful.

cavalier1138
Posts: 4644
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:52 am

You'll figure it out. And you shouldn't be outlining yet, so give yourself a break on that. If you still feel like you can't find time to outline in the next few weeks, then you need to buckle down and figure out what you need to do to read cases more efficiently, whether that's using supplements, doing less briefing, or another method that works for you.

User avatar
chicharon
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:57 pm

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby chicharon » Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:52 am

Take a moment to sit and think about your professors. What kinds of questions do they ask? What do they focus on in class? Think about what they're thinking about. Use that as a springboard to figure out what you should be looking for when you read.

You'll get better at this, I promise.

User avatar
White Dwarf
Posts: 273
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:54 pm

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby White Dwarf » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:00 am

I felt this way about Civ Pro and Contracts my first semester. Things really came together once I started outlining, though. I ended up doing just fine in both classes.

Just don't give up thinking it's all hopeless. Even if you end-up with straight-Bs, it's not the end of the world.

tomwatts
Posts: 1696
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:01 am

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby tomwatts » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:14 pm

chicharon wrote:Take a moment to sit and think about your professors. What kinds of questions do they ask? What do they focus on in class? Think about what they're thinking about. Use that as a springboard to figure out what you should be looking for when you read.

You'll get better at this, I promise.

This. Also, if you're taking a very long time on your assignments, it's pretty likely that a lot of that time is going to things that aren't really necessary. There are a lot of ways to deal with this. You can get an outline made by someone who took the same class with the same prof in a previous year, and that can guide you as to what someone else thought was important out of the material. You can try other things — what worked for me was to read the assignment twice, once to get a general sense of what was going on and once to pick apart the details that the prof seemed to care about. You can go to office hours and see if the prof has suggestions about what is important about upcoming cases or topics, or how to approach the material.

It's pretty normal not to know how to approach law school classes at first. Even other people who seem like they have their act together often don't; they just put on a good show. Experiment a little with how do the readings, and you'll eventually — though it may take some time — figure out something that works for you.

Oh, and I started outlining really early, and I started about now. Most people didn't start until about two months from now. So don't worry, you'll still be in good shape if you don't start outlining for a while yet.

User avatar
pancakes3
Posts: 6161
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:49 pm

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby pancakes3 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:18 pm

the psychological toil of not knowing if what you're doing is enough is the worst part of 1L, imo.

User avatar
Sprout
Posts: 765
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:46 pm

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby Sprout » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:30 pm

chicharon wrote:Take a moment to sit and think about your professors. What kinds of questions do they ask? What do they focus on in class? Think about what they're thinking about. Use that as a springboard to figure out what you should be looking for when you read.

You'll get better at this, I promise.

this.

Ime, every professor (almost every professor) has a certain style and their exams reflect what is repeated in class. Pay attention to that. If there is a certain topic or subject youre struggling with, there are plenty of resources both here and that I can personally send you.

You're being hard on yourself. Breathe. You'll get through it. The worst part of law school for me was the stress induced environment. You have time. Take care of yourself and give yourself a break. Boo's come from the cheapest seats and likely you are vastly concerned about something that is a miniscule issue. Not trying to be rude or condescending -- I was right there with you. PM me if you want any help to the extent I can or at least point you in the right direction

Half the battle, if not more of it, is ignoring everyone elses' shit and staying calm. I was never good at it, but I really think it's true. Gl

User avatar
Roy McAvoy
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:55 pm

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby Roy McAvoy » Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:32 pm

pancakes3 wrote:the psychological toil of not knowing if what you're doing is enough is the worst part of 1L, imo.


This is so true. About halfway through the fall semester I realized reading didn't do a lot for me and I absorbed a lot more from being in class and paying attention. So I quit reading for the classes I had already been called on, and focused that time outlining (probably mid-October). I would skim before class so it was fresh in my mind, but I much less in-depth reading and no more briefing cases. By doing that I no longer felt like I was wasting my time and it helped me put concepts together that before had seemed exclusive. This combination made me a lot more confident going into class/exams.

YMMV though, a lot of people would consider not reading before class to be suicide. But it worked for me.

User avatar
The_Lorax
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:43 pm

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby The_Lorax » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:27 pm

tomwatts wrote:
chicharon wrote:Take a moment to sit and think about your professors. What kinds of questions do they ask? What do they focus on in class? Think about what they're thinking about. Use that as a springboard to figure out what you should be looking for when you read.

You'll get better at this, I promise.

This. Also, if you're taking a very long time on your assignments, it's pretty likely that a lot of that time is going to things that aren't really necessary. There are a lot of ways to deal with this. You can get an outline made by someone who took the same class with the same prof in a previous year, and that can guide you as to what someone else thought was important out of the material. You can try other things — what worked for me was to read the assignment twice, once to get a general sense of what was going on and once to pick apart the details that the prof seemed to care about. You can go to office hours and see if the prof has suggestions about what is important about upcoming cases or topics, or how to approach the material.

This helped a great deal for me, particularly in CivPro which wasn't intuitive to me at first

User avatar
jbagelboy
Posts: 10180
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:06 pm

I didn't do more than read for class and show up until halloween. The semester is not only still "salvageable," its not even late enough for it to be fucked in the first place. Later this month you'll start having to transition reading/class prep time into outlining/review/supplement time; part of that will be the conscious choice to read less new material, and part of it will be natural as you get better at picking up the important parts if a case. If you find yourself struggling to do any more than read by the first week of November, come back and we can discuss more specific strategies for pushing forward.

dabigchina
Posts: 1177
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:22 am

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby dabigchina » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:57 pm

Reading, show up, and listening in class are all you need to do to do well in class. Don't psyche yourself out thinking you need to read every supplement under the sun like the guides on TLS seem to suggest. A lot of t14 profs have idiosyncratic approaches to the law anyway, so supplements would probably just confuse you.

Bigly
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:03 am

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby Bigly » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:10 pm

jbagelboy wrote:I didn't do more than read for class and show up until halloween. The semester is not only still "salvageable," its not even late enough for it to be fucked in the first place. Later this month you'll start having to transition reading/class prep time into outlining/review/supplement time; part of that will be the conscious choice to read less new material, and part of it will be natural as you get better at picking up the important parts if a case. If you find yourself struggling to do any more than read by the first week of November, come back and we can discuss more specific strategies for pushing forward.


Hey guys, just a quick update. Things sort of feel the same: just kind of confused, tired, etc. + the workload is getting even bigger, which is kind of hard to believe.
But I'm going to give it everything I got over the next month and change. My classmates probably will also, so not even sure how much that'll help.
Just a quick question: I found some good outlines for 2 of my classes. Do you think it's risky to rely on these? Wouldn't make many changes to them. I feel like the extra time would help, but I'm not sure if this is the right move.

Anyway, can't thank you enough for all the help you've provided. All the information here has been super useful, and it's nice to know some of you were in a similar position.

cavalier1138
Posts: 4644
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:24 pm

Bigly wrote: I found some good outlines for 2 of my classes. Do you think it's risky to rely on these? Wouldn't make many changes to them. I feel like the extra time would help, but I'm not sure if this is the right move.


I strongly recommend writing your own outline. Use those outlines as references after you've done your first draft, but don't rely entirely on them.

Your "extra time" is far better spent putting your thoughts in order in the form of your own outline than it would be obsessively reading over someone else's organization of the same material.

carsondalywashere
Posts: 473
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:33 pm

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby carsondalywashere » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:29 pm

Roy McAvoy wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:the psychological toil of not knowing if what you're doing is enough is the worst part of 1L, imo.


This is so true. About halfway through the fall semester I realized reading didn't do a lot for me and I absorbed a lot more from being in class and paying attention. So I quit reading for the classes I had already been called on, and focused that time outlining (probably mid-October). I would skim before class so it was fresh in my mind, but I much less in-depth reading and no more briefing cases. By doing that I no longer felt like I was wasting my time and it helped me put concepts together that before had seemed exclusive. This combination made me a lot more confident going into class/exams.

YMMV though, a lot of people would consider not reading before class to be suicide. But it worked for me.

I started doing this recently and feel like I better understand things now

User avatar
mehiguess
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 9:23 am

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby mehiguess » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:22 am

White Dwarf wrote:I felt this way about Civ Pro and Contracts my first semester. Things really came together once I started outlining, though. I ended up doing just fine in both classes.

Just don't give up thinking it's all hopeless. Even if you end-up with straight-Bs, it's not the end of the world.


LMAO, I would have loved straight B's :lol:

mcmand
Posts: 398
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:45 pm

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby mcmand » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:35 pm

Bigly wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:I didn't do more than read for class and show up until halloween. The semester is not only still "salvageable," its not even late enough for it to be fucked in the first place. Later this month you'll start having to transition reading/class prep time into outlining/review/supplement time; part of that will be the conscious choice to read less new material, and part of it will be natural as you get better at picking up the important parts if a case. If you find yourself struggling to do any more than read by the first week of November, come back and we can discuss more specific strategies for pushing forward.


Hey guys, just a quick update. Things sort of feel the same: just kind of confused, tired, etc. + the workload is getting even bigger, which is kind of hard to believe.
But I'm going to give it everything I got over the next month and change. My classmates probably will also, so not even sure how much that'll help.
Just a quick question: I found some good outlines for 2 of my classes. Do you think it's risky to rely on these? Wouldn't make many changes to them. I feel like the extra time would help, but I'm not sure if this is the right move.

Anyway, can't thank you enough for all the help you've provided. All the information here has been super useful, and it's nice to know some of you were in a similar position.


I feel like we're all talking past you without knowing what it is you're doing that's making you feel overwhelmed.

What exactly is your workload? When you're done with class for the day, what is your queue of things that you do? Is it read and brief the cases? What do your briefs look like? What else are you adding on top of that?

I had a friend in law school who was a year behind me, and I discovered (too late to stop him) that his prep for his first set of finals was just re-reading every case. That's pretty much the opposite of what you should be doing. So tell us what you're up to so we can see if you're doing something crazy like that and stop you while there's time.

User avatar
pancakes3
Posts: 6161
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:49 pm

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby pancakes3 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:44 pm

jfc - rereading every case.

mcmand
Posts: 398
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:45 pm

Re: Losing control of semester

Postby mcmand » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:49 pm

pancakes3 wrote:jfc - rereading every case.


I know, he told me that when I saw him late at the library one night and I was horrified. Obviously it didn't work, his grades were decidedly meh. He figured out better strategies the next term.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests