Halfway through my first term of 1L I feel like I am just starting to get a hang of things. All of the fears and concerns I had coming into school have mostly evaporated, and the ones that remain seem much more manageable. Coming into 1L I had heard all of the rumours that everyone wears suits to class, has an incredibly type-A personality, tears pages out of library books, and that nobody shares notes. None of it’s true. (Mostly.) Really, it seems to be much more like undergrad than I expected; minus the immaturity and binge drinking. Almost everybody wears jeans to class, nobody seems hyper competitive (yet), the library is lovely, and everybody shares notes. Sharing notes actually seems to be a huge part of the culture here. People even share their notes with total strangers. Upper years I’ve never met before have offered to send me the best summaries from their years, and people from my class I barely know have asked me for my class notes.
Another misconception is that everybody works incredibly diligently once they get to law school because it’s so hard. It is true that the workload is as crushing as everyone says it is, but as a general rule it seems like most people have kept the same study habits they had in undergrad. Lots of my friends have gotten caught out because they vowed to start better study habits once they hit law school and then just fell back into their old ways and are now hopelessly behind in readings. I don’t know that I can offer any advice except not to let yourself get bogged down by the sheer volume of reading. People say that it’s impossible to keep up, so there’s no point in trying, but that seems like a cop out to me. It is possible. It’s just really really hard. Still, it seems much easier to do all the readings as you go and be able to keep up with the lectures then trying to cram in weeks of backlogged reading at exam time. At least that’s my impression so far.
My metaphor for law school is the frog in the pot. They keep the heat just as high as you can handle and just when you think you’re got things under control they crank up the heat just a little bit more. I don’t mean that to be pessimistic. Things are incredibly busy and hectic, but they’re much more interesting and creative and fun than I had imagined them to be.