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TreesInForest555

Is it feasible to learn a language in law school?

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Hi all, 0L here. Given the large workload and adjustment to 1L, what are your thoughts on learning a new language with the demands of law school? I've read here that taking undergrad courses on top of 1L curriculum is a recipe for disaster, so I guess by language learning I mean self-study forms of learning/practice (apps, private tutors, language exchange partners etc). 

Does anyone have any experience with this? Thank you for sharing! 

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Something like DuoLingo is super low commitment and doable. I wouldn't take a proper course or hire a tutor or anything.

In my experience, many 1Ls have trouble committing to 1x per week intramural sports once shit hits the fan close to exams, so I wouldn't anticipate being able to commit to a regular language learning program. 

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Depends on the school you go to. Some schools allow you to do minors in certain languages - plenty of people at my faculty did that and learned different languages (French, Spanish, Russian, German, and Mandarin that I know of). I would encourage it if you're interested - though you may have to wait until after 1L to start doing that kind of stuff. 

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Also a 0L, but I started learning the basics of Spanish last year and now practice with Duolingo and a fluent Spanish friend (we text exclusively in Spanish) - this has been really doable even in the busiest times! Duolingo in particular takes only minutes of your time a day, and most people text their friends anyway so a language partner would just be like texting one more.

If you want to make things the easiest for you get a head start on the language now before law school. Once you have the basics down pat it becomes much easier to learn additional bits and pieces as you go.

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1 hour ago, poshspice said:

Depends on the school you go to. Some schools allow you to do minors in certain languages - plenty of people at my faculty did that and learned different languages (French, Spanish, Russian, German, and Mandarin that I know of). I would encourage it if you're interested - though you may have to wait until after 1L to start doing that kind of stuff. 

I did not know that. I will look into it thank you! 

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I would definitely start before law school, but continuing through law school shouldn't be a problem. I started learning casually Spanish in April with Duolingo and it's amazing how much progress I have made. Duolingo is nice because you can put it on hold when you're busy and pick it back up when you have time (unlike taking a class). Also, a quick lesson doesn't take more than ten minutes of your day.

I would certainly get the basics down before law school though -- once you get the basics down it's a lot easier and won't be as exhausting to learn.

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I'm a language learner and autodidact in various other areas. I did a lot of self-study both in undergrad and while working after graduating.

It's mostly fallen by the wayside in law school. 

I feel that in a strict sense I do have the time, but it's very hard to motivate myself to hit the books after a long day of hitting the books. 

If you're a very disciplined and high-energy person whose motivation switch is always in the ON position, it's definitely possible though.

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On 11/14/2020 at 10:51 AM, jungkook said:

I feel that in a strict sense I do have the time, but it's very hard to motivate myself to hit the books after a long day of hitting the books.

Agreed. I was going to buy myself some higher-level language books as a reward for hitting one of my goals, but as soon as 2L started my desire to do any more studying died completely.

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This happens to me every year --> "Wow it would be great to learn (insert academic or mentally challenging activity) alongside my studies this year" . And for some reason or another I lose my enthusiasm to pursue this new interest after reading 100 pages about federalism or feudalism.

However, I really have enjoyed pursuing non-academic activities like cooking and martial arts. Maybe its just me but after a day of school I want to switch gears and focus on something not at all related to what I was doing all day.

I have been tempted by Pimsleur though as it seems like an effective way to learn a language which can be done while hiking or walking outside.

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It would be for some people; it may not be for you. 

Some people can work during 1L, or commit a lot of time to any number of other activities. 

Other people are very overwhelmed and feel like they need to dedicate all their time to the 1L material, and maybe an ECs or two. 

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