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PersianMan

Did you enjoy 1L?

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Hi Everyone, 

I guess the title kind of speaks for itself, but whenever I talk to someone who has gone through 1L they've told me how brutal it was and how they "hated their lives". I was wondering, everything being considered (i.e. studying, stress, new environment, new people, etc.), have any of you enjoyed your 1L? For some context, I am starting my 1L next fall at Western.

Thank you!

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I did. It was fun compared to having a real job before law school. There's a learning curve, but it can be fascinating and fun. Academically it's really not that bad. The job stuff can be stressful if you don't prepare for it or allot any mental energy towards it.

You'll soon find that law students (especially 1Ls and then articling students) enjoy coming together to complain. It gives them (or I should say "us", as I'm an articling student) a sense of surviving in the trenches with one another and overcoming all odds to accomplish something great. But really, it's just an echo chamber of complaints and in reality it's not bad at all.

You will have fun if you learn to study smart and enjoy the process.

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I had a very steep learning curve at the beginning so I had a really hard time with the first half of 1L adjusting to understanding case law and personal and financial pressures I was dealing with, but I absolutely loved the second half of 1L and the rest of law school. Best part was that I met my best friends in 1L. 

Bragging about how tough 1L was is a rite of passage - don’t take it seriously.

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Posted (edited)

I hated 1L. I put a lot of pressure on myself  to do well (as many do) and I was super stressed. If you search my history you’ll find a melodramatic post I made about feeling burnt out after 2 months (lmao  insert world’s smallest violin). Once I got my midterms marks back and saw that I wasn’t as incompetent as I felt I relaxed a little. (Imposter syndrome can be really stressful in 1L)

Flashword to 2L and 3L - best years ever. I actually focused on learning the law without being hyper focused on grades/landing a job/networking for the hell of it 

Edited by healthlaw
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My advice to you (and what would have made 1L much more enjoyable) is to drown out all the noise. Most law students are lovely but some are absolutely insufferable. They’ll humble brag about how their undergrad in Xyz studies has prepped them so well and half the classes are like review, or they’ll go on and on about that family member that’s a lawyer, the list goes on and on. Coming from an educational background that’s vastly different or never having been exposed to the law, this can be intimidating. But I promise you no one has an edge and no 1L knows what the hell theyre doing. Everyone is just as confused and unprepared as you are 

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7 minutes ago, healthlaw said:

My advice to you (and what would have made 1L much more enjoyable) is to drown out all the noise. Most law students are lovely but some are absolutely insufferable. They’ll humble brag about how their undergrad in Xyz studies has prepped them so well and half the classes are like review, or they’ll go on and on about that family member that’s a lawyer, the list goes on and on. Coming from an educational background that’s vastly different or never having been exposed to the law, this can be intimidating. But I promise you no one has an edge and no 1L knows what the hell theyre doing. Everyone is just as confused and unprepared as you are 

I completely agree with this. I was very intimidated by the people who bragged about how their poli sci, criminology or business undergrads set them up to get great grades, and implied that I would have problems because I took science, or talked about their parents and other family members who were lawyers and judges, or all the expensive stuff and free tuition they  had from the bank of mom and dad. Getting used to that / realizing it didn’t make them better people or students but meant they were insecure / ignoring it made law school better. And when they realized the same things, most of them stopped. 

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2 hours ago, healthlaw said:

My advice to you (and what would have made 1L much more enjoyable) is to drown out all the noise. Most law students are lovely but some are absolutely insufferable. They’ll humble brag about how their undergrad in Xyz studies has prepped them so well and half the classes are like review, or they’ll go on and on about that family member that’s a lawyer, the list goes on and on. Coming from an educational background that’s vastly different or never having been exposed to the law, this can be intimidating. But I promise you no one has an edge and no 1L knows what the hell theyre doing. Everyone is just as confused and unprepared as you are 

Yeah, I have definitely got that vibe just from people who are applying! The biggest one being "Yeah, I already have a job lined up after law school, my parents know this guy". I will definitely keep this in mind when I start next fall, I really appreciate the advice. (Side note, I am glad to hear everything has worked out for you!)

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I found 1L to be not stressful at all except a little anxiety right before finals. Definitely manageable - and a lot of things were fun! I loved the clinics, mooting, and journals/ side research. I did find a few insufferable people, but no one I wanted to push down the stairs.

I found 2L to be much more stressful because of the recruit.

Academically, I would say law school is not inherently difficult, you just need to understand what you need to do to learn well, and do that. 

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Posted (edited)

1L was awesome. It also wasn't that difficult.

2L was harder because there was just more work (assignments and exams, as opposed to heavier exams; but schools vary).

3L (recruit year for McGill) rocked for some (who wanted and got NY in the summer before 3L), stressful but okay for most, and absolutely petrifying for the select few who didnt land anything (yet).

 

I agree with the others. Drown out the noise and you'll be fine.

Edited by pzabbythesecond
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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, PersianMan said:

Hi Everyone, 

I guess the title kind of speaks for itself, but whenever I talk to someone who has gone through 1L they've told me how brutal it was and how they "hated their lives". I was wondering, everything being considered (i.e. studying, stress, new environment, new people, etc.), have any of you enjoyed your 1L? For some context, I am starting my 1L next fall at Western.

Thank you!

There’s a 99% chance that they fall into the class of people who just find it extremely important for their sense of identity that everyone thinks they’re solo-climbing Everest while curing cancer. That class makes up the most vocal contingent of law school. The remaining 1% chance is that they have unique personal challenges that make doing any schooling, even the part-time project that is law school, very difficult. If you have unique circumstances like that - if you’re a single mom raising 2 kids - then yes, 1L will definitely present some challenges, but only because life is challenging as a default. 

Edited by theycancallyouhoju
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Jumping on this thread, I heard that to really grasp the material you should study/read two hours for every hour of class time. I looked at the first year schedule and it has 18 hours of classes per week, so that would mean 36 hours of study/reading time which would add up to a 54 hour work week, not taking into account non-academic activities. Does this sound right? I know it varies from person to person but I'd like to know your 1L study experience.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Aschenbach said:

Jumping on this thread, I heard that to really grasp the material you should study/read two hours for every hour of class time. I looked at the first year schedule and it has 18 hours of classes per week, so that would mean 36 hours of study/reading time which would add up to a 54 hour work week, not taking into account non-academic activities. Does this sound right? I know it varies from person to person but I'd like to know your 1L study experience.

I didn't read everything in any year in law school. In 1L I probably read around 60-75 percent. I did well. I didn't spend nearly 54 hours per week on school.

I would go so far as to say that even if I did read literally everything, I still wouldn't have gotten to 54. 

Oh and I did an extra curricular that was fairly time intensive too (travel, presentations, prepping, client interviews, drafting).

The 3-4 weeks leading up to finals is obviously different.

Edited by pzabbythesecond

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Aschenbach said:

Jumping on this thread, I heard that to really grasp the material you should study/read two hours for every hour of class time. I looked at the first year schedule and it has 18 hours of classes per week, so that would mean 36 hours of study/reading time which would add up to a 54 hour work week, not taking into account non-academic activities. Does this sound right? I know it varies from person to person but I'd like to know your 1L study experience.

That's a weird formula.  I definitely did spend 54 hours a week on homework/class and I'm certain that some other people do (although many don't too).  I did read every single page of every single assigned reading, did lots of practice tests, etc.  I didn't do time-intensive extra-curricular activities.  But the reason it is weird is because the readings are generally not at all the same length for different classes.  For example, contracts and torts readings will probably take less time  than constitutional readings.  It is also a weird formula because people have significantly different readings speeds and comprehension levels.

Edited by ProfReader

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1 minute ago, ProfReader said:

That's a weird formula.  I definitely did spend 54 hours a week on homework/class and I'm certain that lots of other people do (although lots don't too).  But the reason it is weird is because the readings are generally not at all the same length for different classes.  For example, contracts and torts readings will probably take less time  than constitutional readings.  

You spent, on average, 54 hours per week during 1L, solely devoted to class and readings?

I'm not saying it's good or bad. I'm just surprised.

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Just now, pzabbythesecond said:

You spent, on average, 54 hours per week during 1L, solely devoted to class and readings?

I'm not saying it's good or bad. I'm just surprised.

Yes.  I obsessively read every single page of assigned readings, many recommended readings, I made all of my own summaries, made summaries of those summaries, cross-checked them against upper year summaries, did the practice questions in the book, etc.  I lightened up on all of that in 2L and 3L, but the hours weren't significantly less because I spent TONS of time on the papers that I wrote in paper classes.  

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12 minutes ago, Aschenbach said:

Jumping on this thread, I heard that to really grasp the material you should study/read two hours for every hour of class time. I looked at the first year schedule and it has 18 hours of classes per week, so that would mean 36 hours of study/reading time which would add up to a 54 hour work week, not taking into account non-academic activities. Does this sound right? I know it varies from person to person but I'd like to know your 1L study experience.

Good lord no.

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Posted (edited)

I did all of the readings in 1L. I think in 2L as well, actually, though my memory is hazy. I don’t like the feeling of being assigned work and not doing it. (I valiantly overcame that struggle in 3L, where my grades remained pretty much the same as they were before.)

But no, I never did law school on Sat/Sun in 1L, other than right before exams, and I never did any work past about 8pm on weeknights. That’s factoring in sleeping in late, going to the gym, and spending 2 hours of every lunch period shooting the shit with people instead of working.

Honestly, a lot of the readings are like 4 pages long. Students complain - so much - when a reading is 20 pages. It’s a good thing they’re all heading into careers that don’t involve much reading.

Edited by theycancallyouhoju
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Ok, so it looks like if you read EVERYTHING and make your own summaries and CANs then you could potentially spend on average 54 hours per week on academics but the distribution for each class would be different. Whereas some people spend way less time but don't read everything. Good to know. 

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