Today I took the first of my last two finals in law school.
I remember my first semester of law school. It was the first time I would actually spend some Saturday nights studying. This may have had to do with the fact that I was still in the process of making friends, but considering I’m an only child and I know how to keep myself occupied without friends around, I really think it was the pressure of trying to make sure all of my work would get done.
This only intensified as exams approached. Outlining, review sessions, practice exams–anything to do to prepare for this new experience I’d never had. I was facing for the first time four classes, each with a single exam that would determine my entire grade for the semester.
I remember on Saturday night sitting in the Barnes and Noble not far from my house, and two JAGs approached my bench. Already experienced attorneys, they looked at my book, materials, and supplies. One of them asked, “Do you have a CivPro exam coming up?” “Yes,” I replied. I must have had some frantic look on my face because he smiled and said, “Don’t worry, it gets better,” then turned to his friend and said, “Let’s leave her alone to let her get some studying done.”
I remember thinking I wouldn’t survive. My shortest exam was three hours. The longest was four and a half. Little did I know the first semester of my second year it would get even crazier. I had a six hour exam. SIX HOURS.
Fast forward to this semester. Exams feel a lot more like they did in undergrad. That is, I’m not that worried about them. I know I still have to study, and the set up is still the same, one exam, my whole grade for the semester. And they are still what I guess are long. But honestly, three hours doesn’t seem that long anymore. I guess that’s a good thing considering the impending Bar Exam.
So I’m not sure if it’s 3Litis (much worse, by the way, then senioritis), but I’m not worried about exams this semester. No stress. Just studying and taking them.
Honestly, I think it has to do more with perspective. The fact is, with a mandatory curve in every class, there’s not much I can do. I study so I can do my best, but beyond that, it’s really not worth worrying about. I just have to hope my best is good enough–better than at least 50% of the rest of my classmates. I remember 3Ls telling me as a 1L not to worry about it for the same reason–it’s literally out of your control–and as much as I tried to believe it, it was hard to internalize.
Now I look at the 1Ls. This is their second crack at exams, and they are still a little on the frantic side. I often feel the urge to tell them the same thing, “Just don’t worry about it, try your best, that’s all you can do” but think, if it didn’t sink in for me without experience, it probably won’t for them. So I just smile and say, “Don’t worry, it’ll get better. Good luck!”
All of this perspective is so eye opening and exciting. Just in time to be done with law school. But I’m hoping that I can translate it to other areas of life. There’s a lot up in the air for me right now. Maybe I’ll write about those things later, now’s not the time. These things have caused a little bit of anxiety. But I’m guessing a few years from now, a little perspective will teach me again.
And I guess that’s what life is about. Wisdom seems to come, in part, from the benefit of perspective.
Ellen White writes:
God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him. Desire of Ages, 224-225.
I’m looking forward to that day when I’ll gain that ultimate perspective.