Wichita Falls, TX
I got an email this week; its subject was “Final Diary Entry.” Just as emotions have permeated this entire first year of law school, they hit me hard when I read the email. I experienced both joy and sadness within moments of each other. I felt relieved that the weekly entries were at an end, but then I realized that the end of diary entries also meant the end of my first year of law school. Again, there was the joy and sadness.
The only things left to complete this semester are the final exams. They started yesterday with the citation exam for the writing class. The remaining four classes will be complete by May 8. I still find it unbelievable that a year has literally zoomed by.
Thanks, Casey, for making the diary opportunity available to me. I have enjoyed sharing the trials, tribulations, and experiences. I have heard from many people throughout the year, and I want to thank them for getting in touch and keeping in touch. Thanks also to my friends and family members who have been supportive and encouraging throughout this time.
I extend my best wishes to all who have gone ahead of me, those who are in my class, and those who will follow.
Oral arguments concerning our trial brief went surprisingly well this week. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had imagined and anticipated. I’m grateful for that. I'm even more grateful that, save for the citation exam next week, the writing class is over.
I am looking forward to the Barrister’s Ball tonight. It will be fun to get all dressed up for a formal dinner and dance. What I’m looking most forward to is seeing everyone else all dressed up!
SBA President and Vice President elections were held this week. Next week will be the election for class representatives. Many other student organizations are also holding their final meetings and electing officers for next year. It’s nice to know so many students are involved in the numerous diverse groups.
Classes end April 22, with finals soon to follow. It’s a daunting prospect, but a prospect that seemed far away at this time last year. I can hardly believe how quickly this first year of law school has passed.
Whew! The trial brief is turned in; a huge sigh of relief was heard from all the 1Ls. Of course, there are oral arguments next week, which is quite a change for most of us. However, most of us are looking forward to it.
The countdown to finals is now looming before us, much as the trial brief did the prior week. Now it’s polishing up and finishing off our outlines, reviewing, answering practice questions, and talking over concepts with classmates.
This week I am participating in a student panel for admitted students. Congratulations to all of you who will be there! It will be interesting to see if you are as wide-eyed as I was this time last year!
Hello again after three weeks! Since last penning, we’ve had spring break, snow, ice, sun, rain, clouds, two weeks of classes, and the trial brief to complete. The brief is due next Thursday, so this will be a pressure-filled weekend.
As the end of our first year draws near, we are all anxious for it to arrive. At the same time, when I stop to reflect where I was and what I was doing one year ago, the year has seemed to just fly by. I remember reading past blogs and thinking to myself how nice it must feel to be “almost” finished with the first year of law school. My imagination was not far from the truth. It’s a time of mixed emotions, expressed best by the phrase I dare to repeat, “I love it, but I hate it.” That fits well with the “maybe” and “it depends” mantras, along with the double (triple?) meanings of words and “terms of art” in the legal field.
I got sunburned at this week’s Crawfish Boil, which the SBA held instead of the usual Spring barbecue. Those who came early got all the crawfish they wanted; those who arrived later could enjoy only the aroma of boiled crawfish, potatoes, and corn. Everyone who came out seemed to have an enjoyable time. Thanks again, Hunter, for a well-planned SBA Social!
Besides trial brief buzz, there’s a low roar about the upcoming Barrister’s Ball, which will be on April 11. I am looking forward to dressing up, having dinner, and dancing the night away!
This week passed slowly with the nervous anticipation of a week off. As Thursday drew closer, it became more and more difficult to sit still and pay attention. But, at last, it was “Hello Spring Break”…and what a chilling hello it was with the snow and ice!
Academic support started practice exams this week. The exams will continue once we return. Thanks to all the TA’s and the academic support team for all the assistance.
For the next few weeks, I will be busy with trial brief research and writing, as well as keeping up with the other four classes. For those (few) who follow this blog, there won’t be another posting until March 28. I hope you (all) enjoy every day until then.
Learning the intricacies of Texas cases and how to properly cite them has been quite a challenge. The 45-year-old codification process of Texas civil statutes is astounding. Both cases and statutes will be integral parts of the trial brief we were assigned this week. This assignment will require persuasive writing with a judge as the audience. This legal document is quite a departure from the three previous memos. I welcome the venture into the new type of writing and presentation.
On the purely personal side, I had an outpatient procedure on Tuesday. This is an epilogue to the myriad of recent physical exams and tests I’ve had. I have two additional appointments in March. It’s all part of a 54,000-mile checkup, so to speak.
As spring break approaches, many of us are getting concerned about summer employment. There’s also the decision about whether or not to attend summer school. As peaceful as this week has been, it’s inevitable that it will get hectic as deadlines approach. Academic support is giving practice exams again starting next week. When we get back from spring break, there will be about four weeks of classes left. Between the trial brief (due April 3) and finals (starting April 28), it will likely make the time pass quickly. I’ll let you know!
After the temporary insanity and the tangle of emotions from last week, this week has seemed like a vacation. Sure, there were readings and discussions in every class. Comparatively, however, it was an easy week, a slow week, and a readjustment week.
Not to allow complacency, though, there will be next week’s trial brief assignment. Like Memo 3, the trial brief will undoubtedly consume a lot of 1L time and energy. Unlike Memo 3, however, 1L’s are better equipped for independent research. Sure, the format and even the gist of the writing will be unique; but the overwhelming challenge of independent research will be much more manageable this time around.
Dean candidate forums for students ended this week. While we, as students, have little effect on who is chosen, it has been a privilege and a pleasure to be included in the process and to hear presentations by those who are willing to become our dean.
This week was Public Interest week at the school, which culminated on Wednesday with several public interest groups networking with students, answering questions, and providing information about opportunities available to students.
If there were ever a week straight out of a nightmare, this was it! The research memo was due on Tuesday, and I have had a very bad cold.
Last Sunday I spent an incredible 12 hours at school, finalizing the memo. Why at school instead of my typical at-home study? I needed the inspiration from others. Somehow, it was comforting and inspirational to know that there were many others just as confused, lost, and frustrated by the entire process as I was.
Even after turning in the memo on Tuesday, classes on Wednesday and Thursday seem a blur. I’m not sure if it was the cold or just the incredible toll the memo took on my psyche.
One fantastic moment for me was receiving flowers from three classmates! How incredibly sweet…many thanks to Ashley, Danny and Tiberius!
This week has been tumultuous at best. With the memo due next week, all the 1L’s are talking about little else. The research component is often overwhelming. Organization is a challenge. But, we will all get something done, one way or the other, by next Tuesday.
Not a lot else going on right now. As little time as the memo should allegedly take, it becomes magnified somehow in the other direction. The other professors are amazingly understanding about it. And we all march forward …
At long last, this semester’s routine has become familiar and comfortable. This week passed quickly, and it’s hard to believe we’ve completed four weeks already.
Hottest topic this week is our research memo. Somehow it was easier last semester when the relevant cases and statutes were given to us as part of a package. Challenging is a fair description of the work ahead of us in completing this assignment.
The first of four dean candidates held a student information session this week. The dean selection process is a lengthy and thorough one. It’s a privilege to be a small part of that process, and it will be intriguing to watch and experience the school’s transformation during the next two years. I’m looking forward to listening to the remaining three candidates over the coming weeks.
The Family Law Association held a meeting and a mixer this week; I attended both. It is always eye-opening to listen to the stories of those who have paved the way. Thanks to all, especially George Gallaway, Steven Naylor, and Shannon Sears.
1/25/08 - This week was shorter than normal with the Monday holiday celebrating Martin Luther King. On Wednesday, there was a luncheon honoring Dr. King. Panelists discussed his dream as they view it today. The presentation was interesting and informative. Thanks to Mark and the panelists!
Review of last semester’s finals with my professors has turned up some useful information. Hopefully I will be able to use the constructive criticism to improve test-taking and writing skills.
The SBA held its first social of the semester at Chimy’s on Thursday. Thanks to all those (especially you, Hunter) who pull together the SBA events.
As for the 1L’s, we are waiting to find out our class ranking. We are ranked with all those in the school who have 30 hours or less of credit, which includes the entire entering 1L class and some part-time students who are in their third semester.
We have been assigned our first memo assignment for the semester, and we are being helped by the library staff with research acumen. For some reason though, it’s much easier sitting in class watching the librarian do the research than sitting at my own computer trying to do the research myself! Thank goodness they give us plenty of helpful handouts.
1/18/08 - This has been another long and tiring week. I, along with many of my classmates, have been concerned about a lack of motivation and the inability to enthusiastically embrace the rigors demanded of first-year law students. I hope that the upcoming three-day weekend will give us all a chance to catch up, reorganize, and focus squarely on the remaining weeks of the spring semester.
We finally got all of our grades from last semester. No matter how much I tried to convince myself that the grades didn’t matter, a large part of me was not buying the hype. Not reacting to either disappointment or excitement was (and still is) a challenge – whatever form that reaction may take.
Here’s hoping for a fruitful and productive three-day weekend and a much more upbeat and positive entry next week!
1/11/08 - Welcome back to all! This has undoubtedly been one of the longest weeks of my short law school career. Perhaps it was the time off. Perhaps it was the attempt to get back in the groove of daily classes, reading, etc. Perhaps it was (and still is) the tedious and anxious wait for grades from last semester’s classes. Whatever the cause, the week has dragged on.
We started a new class (with a different professor) this semester. Instead of Torts we now have Criminal Law. Some of the same offenses are viewed as criminally liable rather than (or in addition to) civilly liable. That’s an interesting twist.
I am glad, though, to see everyone again, including the returning professors. I am also glad to be back in Texas where the weather is much warmer than it was during late December in Chicago! Here’s to a fruitful and rewarding semester!
11/30/07 - Thanksgiving break was a nice repose from the rigors of school. But since then, time has flown! On Tuesday, we finished our writing class with a citation exam. On Thursday, we had our last classes. I can hardly believe it. All that’s left are four finals spaced over the next two weeks. Doubtless we will all be studying, practicing, talking, reviewing, and studying some more!
Thanks to all those who have helped me this semester and all those who have written. I hope I was able to help both groups in some small way.
I hope everyone enjoys the Christmas holiday break. See you again in January!
11/16/07 - If nothing else, law school is a never-ending learning process. There’s the substantive information from lectures and reading, there’s a perspective gleaned from your classmates, and there’s the awareness about yourself as deadlines draw near. Memo 2 is due next Tuesday. Then we’re off for Thanksgiving. The week after that is for review and make-up classes. After that, our finals begin!
What? Finals? Already? A classmate remembers, way back in September, complaining that the time was passing so slowly. Now she wants time to stop or at least slow down. More proof of the adage to be careful what you wish for.
Most classmates seem to feel the way I feel—inundated with black letter law, forced to consider abstract concepts, and challenged beyond any capacity one could have thought possible. I’m full, literally full, of ideas, rules, balancing tests, policy decisions, case names, state variations, and on it goes. One comforting thought is that there is only one, yes just ONE, class left before Thanksgiving and review week.
Did I say comforting? I mean it’s comforting to know there’s only so much more any one professor can hold us responsible for knowing in one more class period. Otherwise, I’m not sure anything new would stick.
Another logical question is how did it go from five classes left to just one class plus review in the matter of one week? Again, there’s the learning process. As we began to discuss with professors what we would be doing the week after Thanksgiving, we were told that it was make-up class and review week. Something about no Tuesday classes, except the exam in writing class. Hopefully, indeed undoubtedly, that will all be explained to us more thoroughly next week.
In the mean time, I hope everyone enjoys the holiday break, despite the fact that a large majority of us will be swimming in notes, outlines, flash cards, and study aids, preparing for our final exams that begin December 3. Splish, splash!
11/9/07 - First, let me correct MY misunderstanding of the return of Memo 1. We were given our memos over the weekend – well, they were put in our folders in the student lounge. We still have to have a one-on-one with the professor. At least now there might be something substantive to discuss.
On Monday, we had the faculty auction hosted by the Wesleyan Law Fellowship. It was lots of fun. On Tuesday there was a mandatory career services orientation for 1L’s. Then on Tuesday afternoon, there was a rather entertaining and informative lecture by Professor Whitebread. He was kind enough to provide all those who attended with a copy of his latest book.
There is a contracts practice exam this week that I plan to take. I cannot stress enough the importance of taking the practice exams offered by academic support.
Five classes until finals begin!!!
11/2/07 - This has been another quick and information-filled week. The highlight, undoubtedly, was the appearance of the Second Court of Appeals panel to hear oral arguments in two cases. Texas Wesleyan was privileged to host the panel here at the school, and we were able to attend, listen, and observe.
The property practice exam was on Wednesday. Our TA was caring and generous enough to review our exams and return them to us on Thursday. I, along with several classmates, will be meeting with our kind-hearted TA next week to go over specific strengths and weaknesses in the two practice exams we've had so far. That should prove most enlightening!
As the semester winds down, there's nervousness and excitement in the air about our upcoming finals. I vacillate between the two emotions – almost done with my first semester of law school, yet it's only four weeks until finals begin! And did I mention Memo 2? That's right. We do not have the results of Memo 1 yet, but we have our first draft of Memo 2 due Monday. We have to go to the professor's office some time in the next few weeks for a one-on-one to get our first memo. I am NOT looking forward to that! I'd much prefer to be handed the graded Memo 1 and be allowed to quietly and privately review the results. Unfortunately, we are not given a choice. So I have no option but to coalesce, make an appointment, and go see him.
Seven classes and counting!
10/26/07 - I’d like to thank Fort Worth Police Officers Benson and Eldridge for providing the personal safety seminar in our lecture hall on Wednesday. It was informative, and it was nice to meet them.
Also this week, we got our Memo 2 assignment, we started on future interests in property class, and most of us got the results of our practice torts exam. Then on Thursday afternoon I realized that there are only four and a half weeks left before finals start! That’s only nine classes per course! YIKES! The time has passed so quickly. Tick, tock!
10/19/07 - This week has been a mixed bag of emotions, again! Memo turn-in day was Tuesday. I didn’t think I was very stressed out about it, but my body told me differently. I’m glad that’s over. I’m actually looking forward to getting the information for Memo 2, which will be next Tuesday.
As outlines grow and concepts begin to fall into place, it’s time for practice exams! Thursday, at noon, I took the Torts practice exam. I’m anxious to get it back with comments from my academic support TA.
Friday I’m meeting with an informal “kick around the concepts” study group prior to a make-up class at noon. Then Friday night is SBA’s Casino Night at Billy Bob’s. I’m really looking forward to that!
Most of all, though, I’m looking forward to finally meeting Ted in person at our make-up class on Friday.
10/12/07 - It’s hard to believe we’re halfway through the semester! It’s even harder to believe that I’m still feeling somewhat lost. I have to admit, though, that it’s starting to come together as I’ve begun organizing my notes, preparing outlines, and studying for our upcoming practice exams given by academic support.
Memo 1 is the hot topic this week. It’s due next Tuesday. So this time next week, the angst created by the memo assignment will be replaced by something new, I’m sure.
So, until then, I’m keeping busy writing, editing, re-writing, re-editing...Oh yeah, and also studying for the other four classes I have!
10/5/07 - Things are looking up this week. More properly phrased, I’m feeling better this week. After talking to some upper-level students, several reported that they, too, experienced an end-of-September slump. The good news? You’ll survive it. The bad news? It won’t be the last time you feel this way. Great!
There’s been a shift in two of the classes as well, at least from my perspective. Property, which was all fuzzy and warm, but nearly impossible to see through, is now much more clear after a to-date review and after starting life estates and future interests. Contracts on the other hand, is moving from clear to semi-glossy, with a promise to get muddy before the semester is over. Uncle Sam is to thank for some of that discoloration; it’s called the Uniform Commercial Code.
Civ Pro has changed topics from personal jurisdiction to subject matter jurisdiction. We’re studying negligence and causation in Torts. Even though on Thursday, we were discussing Torts in Civ Pro class. Go figure!
And Research and Writing? The safest thing I can say about that class at this time is “no comment!” We got our new Memo assignment; it's due October 16.
I’m going through the motions right now, with way too much emotion. Some of that is undoubtedly age, some of it certainly hormonal, and some of it just raw apprehension. To quote a new almost-my-age friend and fellow female student, “I hate it, but I love it.” Amen to that!
On the social side, I'm looking forward to watching Wesleyan players in the rugby tournament this Saturday. Good luck, Team!
9/28/07 - This has been the hardest week for me so far. Quite frankly, I’m not even sure why. Perhaps it’s because, being six weeks in, I can no longer see the door behind me; and I sure can’t see light at the end of this tunnel yet. Anxious is probably the best adjective I can proffer at this time. There are all the other emotions that come along with it, too. Fear, apprehension, doubt …
On a much brighter note, there are two events on Thursday that should lift my spirits. First is the conference center dedication to our academic support TA, Bernie. Congratulations! Although we haven’t known him but for five weeks now, our class is proud of him…not to mention proud of the picture of us (with him) just inside the conference center door!
The second event is the SBA/Alumni Networking Social. I am looking forward to meeting former students who can perhaps lend me a flashlight…or at least point me in a different direction! I know I have to reach out and ask, which I will do.
9/21/07 - This has been a fast and exhausting week. I suppose it's often that way for 1L's during Memo 1 Week.
Some of us are still a bit dazed with the reading, briefing, class discussions, and lack of coalescing. Although some topics are beginning to gel, they aren't quite baked. But we're all getting a little warmer!
For those of you reading and wondering about the rigors of law school, you can expect to be very busy and somewhat confused. My best advice is to listen to your teaching assistants--especially your academic support TA. They've “been there, done that.” And they are all more than willing to help in any way they can. Take advantage of their generosity, experience, and intelligence!
One professor gave us his advice about preparing for finals. FINALS? Oh yea, they're only about 10 weeks away!
Anyway, his advice was to talk amongst ourselves as much as we could stand it, and then some, because the only way to learn the concepts is to discuss them with others. He said he learned more hanging around the water fountain than he did in class! So talk, discuss, argue, and verify. All the professors here have a more or less open-door policy.
They all have posted office hours. Many of them stay after class and talk to any who stay to clarify something.
So that's my other piece of advice. Besides seizing the opportunities provided by academic support and all the teaching assistants, confer with the one who will matter most in the end - your professor.
This week, I had my first serious doubts about whether I should be occupying one of the 1L seats. I went to the professor though, and felt much better about being here after speaking to her for a bit.
I feel I’d been keeping up fairly well, except for that major hiccup which brought on the doubts. It’s very much like previous diarists have written—a moment of sanity and peace followed by many moments of insanity and confusion. Now that I realize that we’ve completed four (count them, four!) weeks of law school, I am getting concerned – when will the fog lift? Soon, I hope.
Memo 1 is the hot topic this week. Draft one is due next Tuesday. I’ll be relieved to have it done and turned in but will soon become anxious about getting it back with comments. It’ll be our first “legal” feedback.
Until then, I’ll keep reading, briefing, and shuffling puzzle pieces.
- It is fascinating to me how intertwined the classes are. In contracts, he asks, “Have you studied this in property?” In writing, he asks, “Have you studied this in torts?” And so on. What is so incredible is that, while being so intertwined, the classes remain ambiguous on many points – too often relying on, to quote our property professor, "the quintessential lawyer answer of 'it depends!'”
It’s a puzzle. Lucky for me I love puzzles. So – for now – I’m enjoying the ambiguity and the overlap. I maintain a strong conviction, however, that some day all the pieces will fit. In the interim, I am content to keep shuffling them around. (If all else fails, I will follow my brother's advice and get a bigger hammer.)
The Student Bar Association held its election this week for 1L representatives. Eight of us were running for six positions. I am proud to be one of the six students elected. Thanks, classmates!
A few of us are grumbling about having to come to a make-up class on Friday. It seems we are spoiled already with our four-day class schedule and three-day break. I know I am! Most of us, though, have acquiesced and decided it would be prudent to spend a large portion of the day on campus studying. It will be a new adventure!
And then there’s Memo 1 …
– Webster and Black are my new best friends and constant companions – especially after being unable to answer the question (while standing during the interrogation), “What is an intervener?” Go ahead, ask me again! Then another professor tells us that discovery isn’t really discovery, possession isn’t really possession, and first isn’t really first. What? Well, it depends! Even Webster and Black imply, “it depends!”
Standing up to discuss a case this week was a little scary, but we all will have to do it eventually, so that made it tolerable. Although not feeling like seasoned professionals by any means, we all seem to be a bit calmer than the first week. Maybe it’s because we’re all still a little dazed and confused. Who wouldn’t be after discovering that their preconceived notions about words and their meanings are in for a major overhaul? (First isn’t really first?!?)
As if new words and totally redefined words weren’t enough, my section had three classes cancelled this week. They all have to be made up. Makeup sessions are often held during our lunchtime or on a Friday. It’s all part of learning to accommodate, I suppose.
I am compelled to give kudos (and lots of them) to the academic support department. The student volunteers are extremely approachable and eager to help. Thank you all for your time and efforts.
While looking forward to the four-day weekend ahead, I find it somewhat disconcerting (again) to be away from “the gang” for so long. (By the way, we did remember and recognize each other this week!) Next week is shaping up to be busy and intense with makeup sessions scheduled, the elections for the SBA 1L representatives to be held, and the daunting First Memo assignment to be handed out. Maybe that’s the beginning of the proverbial shipwreck the teaching assistants refer to – when days turn into nights and nights into days, and there is never enough time.
I think I’m ready, though. I have a life preserver, and I have Webster and Black!
- It has been a long nine days since orientation began! It has been nine days full of firsts. First greetings from staff and faculty. First oath administered by a judge. First gander at our entering class (which I understand is a school record). First e-mail telling me my writing section (and professor) had been changed (YIKES!). First day of “real” classes. First lunch sitting in a chair in the hallway. First impressions of professors. First (of probably many) diagnostic exams. First train ride (on TRE) to get to the school. First time alone in the library (even though it was with the audio tour). First diary entry. And so it goes…
I am looking forward to this three day break from school, albeit from the locale only and not the work. There’s much reading, briefing, and writing to be done for next week. Even as I write this, though, I’m realizing I won’t be seeing or talking to any of my classmates for those three days. That’s somewhat unnerving after the past nine days of intensity. Will we recognize and remember each other next week?
You may have noticed I’m a little (just a little) older than the average 1L. But I must quickly add, with pride for myself and him, that I am NOT the oldest in my entering class; Rick is (by two years)! Good for both of us!
Greetings to all—but especially to those I cajoled, begged, pushed, or otherwise strong-armed to read this. There will be quizzes during the semester. So keep reading and take good notes!