Time flies so fast sometimes.
Here is the post I wrote after my first week of law school where I talk about the myths and reality of law school. So much has changed and yet so much is still the same. Most days, I still have a hard time believing that I am a law student. I did it, I'm here and now it's almost over. (Well, minus and entire year and the bar exam. But other than that, almost over. :P)
One of my classes is only comprised of 3L's because it is scheduled at the same time as the only mandatory class for 2L's (Professional Responsibility) and 1L's do not get to pick their classes. Many of my classmates are from my section and it just gives me so many flashbacks to my first year.
So what has changed from my first week of law school ever and my first week as a 3L?
- The sheer terror of law school has disappeared. We all know what to expect from a typical law school class and it doesn't scare us anymore. The overall feeling of class is much more like a typical undergrad class. When you walk into any 1L classroom, there is a wave of collective terror that washes over you. Boy am I glad that part is over!
- I volunteer to talk in class much more. I still suck at sounding coherent when I am cold called but nowadays, I often raise my hand in class to discuss something or argue a point. I never expected that when I first started law school.
- Getting cold called was much more rare than I expected during my first year and it is even more rare now. I got cold called on one time my entire second year and I imagine it will be the same this year. Yay on not getting cold called!
- The pressure of getting great grades is much less. Yeah, a 4.0 semester would be awesome but most people have accepted the fact that it's not gonna happen. Also, you pretty much get the same grades semester after semester and your GPA doesn't change much even if you work harder. You learn to accept it and move on to other things.
- Related to above, your classmates stop trying as hard. Many people come to class without doing the reading and they aren't nearly as motivated to dominate the class. This means the professors have to try harder to keep people engaged but it also means the curve is lower. The same number of people are getting an A but the knowledge they need to learn to get that A is less.
- Law School isn't the only thing you are focused on anymore. In your 1L year, you sign a contract saying you won't work. As a 3L, you probably have a clerking job, an internship or (like me) are in a clinic. You also are probably running an org or two so you have a ton of work to do for those. Class is just another thing you have to do, no more.
My 1L year was amazing and exciting but it was also terrifying and stressful. Right now, my terror and stress is coming from my brand new clinic that I start tomorrow but my classes are my comfort toy. I know what to expect in class and I'm at ease now.
I like being a 3L much more than being a 1L.