Posted by: Opey | May 31, 2007

Time for Some Second Thoughts

As I had mentioned in a post a few days ago, I had finally come to the realization that I would be attending law school in the Fall.  In typical Opey fashion, I went from zero to sixty in a split second and was already having second thoughts.  It should be of no surprise to people that know me that I over analyze everything, and this case is no different.  The last week or two has been spent researching what exactly law school will entail.  I’ve scoured the internets looking at individual law school pages, forums for law school students, and some law school information sites.  Needless to say, that did not help matters much.  There is such an air of negativity regarding law school, especially from student forums.  The forums are filled with post after post of, “I made a mistake,” or “Law school is not what it seems,” or the most prevalent, “Don’t bother going.  Try and get out of it while you still can.”  These statements by current students momentarily put the fear of God in me.  But, as I continued to read on and check out other sources, my mind was set at ease.  One particular moment really gave me a sense of clarity.  I was trolling around on the University of Wisconsin Law School Student Bar Association website, I stumbled upon their outline bank.  For those not familiar with law school, an almost required method of study and preparation is the production of outlines that cover all cases and relevant laws, circumstances, etc.  Many people point to these document’s lengths (often 30+ pages) and their complexity as an example of the difficulty of law school.  As I read through a few outlines, though, I felt a sense of relief.  Outlining was the way I naturally study and I had taken undergraduate law classes where I worked on this method of preparation.  I was able to follow the outlines rather well, and actually enjoyed reading them, especially the one I read on the subject of contracts (yes, I know I am strange beyond words).  I guess the moral of the story for pre-law students and 0Ls is two-fold.  One, while in undergraduate study, prepare for law school if you desire to attend one.  Search out law-related classes at your school (They are often found in the Political Science, Government or Sociology fields).  They will help tremendously in your preparation and they will also ease the transition to first year.  However, if your college/university does not offer such classes, take classes that feature an emphasis on writing and research, and then go through some case-law in your meager amounts of spare time.  The other moral is this: Do not become discouraged.  Law school, and any advanced degree program for that matter, is a difficult and competitive place.  But, a school will not accept you if they do not believe you can succeed there.  It is simply a matter of putting in the effort necessary to succeed.  Also, don’t always take everything you read on a law school forum as fact.  The competition of law school will push students to extreme ends to try to get a leg up on other students.  The people that try to discourage others or frighten future students are often the ones in bad enough shape, academically, that they need to resort to such tactics.

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