Thursday, January 15, 2015

Goals For My First Semester of Law School

A long long time ago, way back last summer, I made a list of goals I wanted to accomplish while in Law School. And they weren't a bad list nor were they even bad goals. They had just one MAJOR problem, they were written before I got to law school and I had no idea what the heck I was doing. However, I adapted them as I went along to fit what I needed and I really do think that having a written list of what I wanted to accomplish really helped me. Even when they were highly unworkable. 

And I think that if I had waited until the first week of classes or even the first month, I would have been too overwhelmed to be as ambitious as I was. 

Daily Goals: 
  • Read and Brief cases for next day 
How I did: I consider this accomplished. I did most of the readings on the weekend instead of each day but I only came to class maybe two times without ALL of the reading done and never went to class having done none of the reading. Never used a pass. So I'm claiming this as a check. 
  • Read supplements
How I did: Ha. No. Or at least not during the semester. I used them EXTENSIVELY right before exams and I feel that I would not have done well at all without them but for the day to day topics, I didn't really need them to understand the class. I needed them to put the class into a cohesive whole and that worked much better at the end of the semester. Not a check but since it worked out better this way, it's not a failure either. 
    • Clean up notes
    How I did: Again, did not do so daily but tried to do so at the end of the week. It actually really helped me retain the information for the exam and I didn't really have to ever relearn any topic before the exam. Memorize yes, relearn no. So I say check for this as well. 
      • Outline for one class
      How I did: Basically copy what I said about my notes and put it here for outlining. I ended up outlining as I went at the end of each week for most of the semester. It got pushed to the side once I started working on my final memo but once I was done with that, it only took me a couple hours to catch up. In my opinion, so much better than outlining at the end. Another not really but I say yes, check. 
        • Get to class 15 minutes early to review notes
        How I did: Hahahahahahahaha. No. Not even once. (other than the first day) This is definitely not a check and it did bite me in the butt a few times. At one point, I got ahead on my reading (I read for the week during the weekend before, Prof got sick and canceled class) and so by the time we covered it in class I hadn't seen it in two weeks. Did I read over my notes before class? Nope. Who got called on three times? This girl. Was it a disaster? Oh yeah. 
          • Lexis Nexis/Westlaw/Cali
          How I did: I don't even know what I meant by this one. I think I was hoping to rack up a billion Lexis points? But I don't know. Either way, I definitely did not log on to these every day and I can't think of any reason why I would. So no check on this. 
            Goals for the Semester
            • Keep up with the reading
            How I did: Check!
              • Some sort of exam prep each week
              How I did: Really, only if you count my outlining and cleaning up my notes. I did find it helpful but when I wrote it, I meant practice questions or hypos. So as I meant it when I wrote it, no. 
                • Lift weights once a week
                How I did: Hahaha. No. I didn't workout even ONCE since school started. Which explains the 10 pounds I gained last semester. 
                  • Cardio or walk once a week
                  How I did: Same as above. No
                    • Visit each Professor's office hours at least twice
                    How I did: I did for every class except Crim Law which I only made it to once. For the most part, we didn't even talk about the class but it was one way for me to break myself of the big state school, it's better to be invisible, mentality. I'm claiming mostly a check on this one.
                      • Practice hypos starting a month in. 
                      How I did: As I had no exams with hypos, no. But as it wasn't necessary for my classes it isn't a failure either. I am putting this on my goal list for this semester. 
                        • Reread Getting to Maybe
                        How I did: Basically the same answer as above. 
                          • Two Networking Events a Semester
                          How I did: Yup! I thought this one would be really hard but my school is amazing at networking events. Not only are there many opportunities, but many of them are actually fun. And have food or alcohol. Or both. Hello networking!
                            • Start getting ahead of the reading by the end of October
                            How I did: Well, okay yes. Technically yes, I was ahead by the end of October. However, as I fell behind in November because of my final memo and a total lack of motivation, I say no check. Booo. 
                              • Resume ready by December 1st
                              How I did: Yup Yup Yup. Not only did I have my legal resume ready, I had it looked over by career services AND entered it into a resume builder thingy and had an attorney review it. Super Check!
                                • Outlines Ready before Thanksgiving
                                How I did: Yes! I loved my do a little each week method. Genius! 
                                  • Ultimate Goal: Top 10 percent!
                                  How I did: It's a secret. Even from me. But maybe? I mean, that's better than "Pah. You? Please." So we will see. Also, as a side note, I almost didn't post this goal because it sounds so pretentious. But it was/is a goal of mine and I know that I am not the only law student that has this goal so hopefully no one will hold it against me. 

                                  I'll get into my year, summer, and graduation goals later. 

                                  Overall, I think I did okay. I changed the things that needed to be changed but the ultimate reason behind the goals were accomplished. Except for the whole working out thing. That I just plain failed at. 

                                  I highly advise people to write a goal list before starting law school. Yes, it will not work out how you expect it to. Yes, you will have to correct it as you go along. Yes, there will be things that you fail at. However, it is a really clear way of reminding you what is important and it helps you prioritize. One reason why I failed so badly at the working out thing was that for me, it was the least important and least enjoyed. For others, they could never go a whole semester without working out. But my me time of reading a novel every week would have made them cry. Some people feel that reading for fun is insane with our heavy reading load. What is with that? 

                                  What ever your particular goals are, try writing them down. Keep them handy! I put mine on my phone but if that doesn't work for you, tape them to your wall, put them in your car, set up weekly emails of them to yourself. If I can say anything about law school, it is that if it works, do it. If it doesn't, try something else. 

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