Infrequently updated consistently funny

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Basic Advice for incoming Students...

So I spoke to a friend sometime ago (Marc - congrats on making it in) and I told him that at orientation I am a part of the student panel for incoming students but I can never remember all I want to tell incoming students ( I know I could write it down but that would be too smart) so this year I am posting things on my blog and I hope that other students will post their own comments to help others along.

First things first RELAX…I bloody hate all the horror stories that people feed incoming students and the stories that people who had a bad law school experience try to propagate. There is no doubt that law school is stressful. But, the same is true for all grad programs; you just can’t let the stress get to you, otherwise you are in for the 3-4 worse years of your life. I enjoyed/enjoy law school and enjoyed the people around me who helped to make it better. (shout out to the Rainbow Coalition)

So since I mentioned people lets talk about friends: Make them and treasure them. It’s a cliché but, “no man is an island.” Make friends in school it makes the time here so much easier and it provides a support system to help you through whatever may come. You will find that you meet a ton of people during orientation exchange numbers emails whatever get to know people NOW because during the semester you will find that your world becomes dominated by your section and the rest of the law school becomes a foreign land to you. There is very little interaction outside of your section beyond (personal plug- BAR REVIEW).

Shall we move to academics because I know at this point many readers are panicked and wondering about classes, grades, professors and class participation. But if you do the above two things then you can face the academic portion of law school with a strong base. Let me address this portion by answering questions I always get.
- Will a professor embarrass me in class? No! (Yes if you have not read) There is not a single 1L professor that attempts to embarrass a student, being asked to answer in class should not be a scary moment it should be a moment to put your knowledge to use.
- What if I don’t like to talk? You will only have to talk as much as the professor has asked you and you will only be questioned on the material that was given to y’all to read. Most professors have a system that will let you know when you will be called on and it’s the easiest thing in the world to prepare for.
- Will I have to read every night? Yes and No. It makes it easier to keep up if you read every night but if you prefer to read say 4 out of 5 days do so as long as you keep up with all the material and that is the most important thing in law school KEEP UP WITH THE READINGS. Especially in your first year you do not want to fall behind the readings and it’s impossible to give an informed answer in class if you can not follow along with the professor.
- Will I get a good grade? Sure! Why not? Our school thankfully has not yet become a legacy school so everyone here is here on their merit. So be assured your classmates are going to be some of the smartest people you will ever meet (some will know it and be cocky- avoid them) that being said it means that everyone here has the same chance coming in to get an A or to get a D. Hard work will be what separates the classes and learning little tricks.
- What can I do to get an edge? Go and see your professors: Professors will always make time for students and they will always cut through the bull and let you know what you need to know. In class it’s not always easy to completely understand a prof but going to see them afterwards is always good because you get to know a professor (think recommendations) and you make sure that you learn exactly what the professor wants not just general ideas.

Peripheral stuff: Nothing spreads through the law school faster than gossip with illness running a close second. Be aware of your reputation, do not do anything that you think you will be ashamed of. The law school is a closed community and when something happens it does not take long for it to circulate. Be decent to everyone you meet you are no better than anyone else here so try not to be an ass. Take care of yourself try to get some rest etc. Once someone in your class gets ill it’s amazing how quickly others will get sick.

Do not be afraid to approach 3rd and 2nd years none of us are too busy to talk to a 1L. Some of my best friends were in the year above me and don’t forget they have OUTLINES!

Oh and my friends in financial aid have asked me to remind everyone to stay up to date with their office.

Finally Come to Bar review
I will add more things as I can think of them and I hope this mini list and the ensuing comments will be helpful.


Anonymous said...

Take Lawyering Skills I seriously. Yes, the class will be the bane of your existence. And yes, the class will seem like a heck of a lot of work for 1 or 2 pass/fail units. BUT, the research and writing skills you learn in that class will invariably help you more in any future job/internship than the substantive stuff you learn in your other classes. Lawyering Skills I is the class that teaches you how to do what attorneys do on a daily basis.

smallislandgirl said...

Wow Thanks for this post your timing is great since I will be starting school myself soon.

Lyoness said...

my two cents....

*aaron's right - dont believe everything everyone tells u abt law school. i just got cornered by a 1L while sitting trying to research my topic for the law review and stopped to talk to him for almost an hr and in the end he said i helped a lot and seemed unlike anything he expected law students to be like. we know where you are cuz we were there ourselves just last yr or the yr before.

*and yes, you WILL get to kno (and hate) the ppl in ur section VERY well b/c for the next nine months those ppl are all u see all day every day. make friends. studying is easier when u have ppl ur comfortable with to bounce ideas off of.

*that being said, law school is high school all over again but worse. complete with cliques and rumors and catty-ness. it is a closed community and word travels fast.

*get involved. yes kinda cheesy but join organizations. ones that cover the area of law ur interested in, ones that represent ur undergradate school, ones that represent ur minority....anything. those ppl will give u some things to do and time away from ur section and the upperclassmen may even be inclined to help by sharing or advice.

*some questions i was JUST asked...
~socratic method-scary? not so much. its all in the reading just take a deep breath and relax.
~competition- less cut-throat than expected. worry about ur own ass. forget abt what other ppl r doing.
~how much studying per night- depends. just keep up with the reading and if you outline, dont wait til the last minute. if u budget ur time well you CAN have time for a social life. oh, and try taking the cellophane off ur books BEFORE the day prior to ur final (ehem)

cant think of anything else right now but if i do i will post up. hope this helps!

aarond said...

Buy your books used...There is no need to get a brand new book when a used book is available. Definitely join clubs; go to the club fair Friday the 26th then to Bar Review later that night. (As to the Cellophane jab that was uncalled for and I was pre-med back then)

Anonymous said...

My advice... the girls are not as innocent and smart as they look, ok maybe they are as smart as they look but they definitely lack innocense. Law chicks are freaks! You should be able to get through half of your section by christmas. Go ahead and start with the ugly ones if you need a running start. Nothing like being away from home, going to school filled with supermodel undergrads, and beaches galore to make a law chick a freak! Enjoy.

Maria Elisa said...

The best piece of advice I ever got was this: Prepare to be wrong all the time. You are here to learn and therefore are not expected to know everything. Teachers (and students) will play devils advocate no matter what position you take.

Make sure you have some friends that are not law students. You have to keep yourself anchored to the outside world (and believe me, it will seem like the outside world).

Don't drink too much alcohol or caffine. Simple words but true. You want to stay healthy. Being sick during finals sucks.

Don't skip class too often. This isn't undergrad and you can't bullshit a law professor.

Girls . . . don't sleep around. Have fun, but don't be to easy because it will get around. There are a lot of blogs around.

Make friends, but don't do it just to get outlines. People can smell insincerity a mile away.

Don't make assumptions about your classmates. I made some poor judgments in character in first semester, but second semester I developed some truly meaningful relationships that I didn't forsee.

Believe in yourself . . . you belong here. You have nothing else to prove. Above all, have fun!

Aaron's Momma said...

Aaron is a smart guy. His words of wisdom are likely not to be heeded. Just as you ignored your parents only to admit to yourself later that they were correct, you will find yourself saying that you are above all this and that you will own law school. I hope thats true.... but for the rest of us, it takes a bit of reading and a lot of understanding. It is a good idea to pay attention to your law skills 1 class. This will be the most important class later in your career. For more advice, just ask people who have taken your professors. Their advice is worth their weight in gold as professors rarely change their ways (becauase they are ALWAYS right!). Look to 2 and 3Ls for all your lawschool needs.

aarond said...

Clearly everyone in law school thinks that they are a comedian

Anonymous said...

my advice ... beware of those offering advice ... especially me. sometimes in our zeal to help others/appear like we've got it figured out/talk to hear ourselves talk--whatever the motives may be--we forget that sometimes the best, most enduring lessons are those learned through the trials of the unfamiliar. that said, the old standards of kindness, honesty and generosity will likely pay dividends in the long run. and yeah, i know we're talking about law school.

aarond said...

Wow that was so depressing it could only have been written by a law student...I think most people coming in are smart enough to know that they are still going to have to go through law school by themselves and that whatever advice is offered to them they are going to have to weigh the pros and cons on their own. Seems like the above poster may have had a bad experience which sucks but oh well I hope this year is better for them and everyone else concerned: I truly hope law school has not made you that Jaded!

Shotta M said...

Thanks for the advice. I found the post useful and I also found the comments useful. Well I'm not at USD but I think I'm gonna try get involved with Bar Review and some organizations. And I guess I'm doing the equivalent of Lawyering Skills in my course called Legal Research and Writing (which also seemingly involves loads of work at the same time as being worth less credits than my other courses).

spreadlove said...

hey sexy aaron!! i love your site!! i have one now 'cause i had to make one to post this comment. it's spreadluv, i think. or spread love? somethin' with love. i'll let you know lata. thanks for all the advice and making me feel so comfortable comin''re awesome. i need you to shake your ass a lil' mo' but other than that, i love your humor. here's to you. one last question...i really shouldn't sleep around in law school? dammit!! ;) enjoy your weekend!!

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Cali-J ueber alles in der Welt. Some think that I am mean; (I call them friends), in fact I am not that mean. What I am is sarcastic and dry to the sandpaper level. I have friends that I have never said a kind word to their face, but I praise to the ends of the earth to anyone I know and will defend them to the end. That’s just how I roll! My boys know that I am down for them, my girls know that no matter what I will keep them safe (and occasionally flirt with them [If you are a female friend of mine and think I haven’t flirted with you it just means you didn’t notice, it was extremely subtle or…not yet ]). No one is safe from my sarcasm even my own parents; hence of course as a kid I spent a significant amount of time in punishment. I treat people with respect if I think they deserve it – everyone starts off with the same amount of respect from me (a lot). You don’t need to earn my respect; you have to keep my respect.