October 2, 2016

How to Manage your Semester Goals for Law School

Happy October, everyone! Since it's not been a month since I made my fall semester goals, I wanted to take the time to hold myself accountable on how those are going. If you haven't made any goals for this semester, I suggest you still do it! If you're not sure where to start, here are some great basic goals to being with.

Read every case

I'm proud to say that this is one thing I haven't faltered on much so far this year. There's been a few times when I just had no motivation so I printed out a Quimbee brief and just highlighted what the professor went over in class, but even on those occasions I make sure to catch up on the weekends so I'm still reading the material between the cases.

I'll admit though, I only actually have any cases in 1 of my classes. That's because in my other classes—Legal Research and Writing (part 2), Negotiations, and Commercial Law—my book isn't a case book. Honestly I did get behind in reading my first Negotiations book, which bit me in the ass when my professor decided to give us a pop quiz. So now I'm trying to not let those readings slide by. My LRW book is essentially explaining exactly what I've already done as we get ready to write our first memos (been there, done that), so I feel pretty confident not staying up in those readings. As for Commercial Law, right now I'm so confused in there that sometimes I don't even know what chapters I should be reading in my explanations and examples book, especially because my professor never gave us a syllabus to structure myself around.

Next semester I'm taking 16 hours of nothing but traditional law school classes, so I know that I'll be drowning in reading. I'm sure this will be when I become a typical upperclassmen and start skimming hard on the assigned readings. That's because once you get out of your 1L year, you're expected to be building your résumé through campus involvement and legal practice and by then you already know what's vital from the readings so you can fudge it just a little. But we'll see!

Add highlights from the next to notes weekly

Again I'm sorta keeping up with this, but only because only 1 one my class has a book that I'm having to highlight in anyways. Because that class is Wills and Trusts, usually there's not a defendant so my OCD is starting to get bothered that I'm not using all of my highlighting colors equally. 

Summarize each chapter after reading it

This is something that I didn't do last year but am starting because it was suggested at the orientation that I went to. It's actually a great suggestion because it's a great review every week or so and I'm already creating study guides for finals. I wish I had pretty writing, but I don't :/ but if you'll bear with me, you can see how I'm doing these either on Twitter or on Tumblr (which btw has some really pretty study motivation!).


Only two of my classes have finals, which is weird for me after last year. I've started on my Wills class because for the most part it has been my only "typical" law class. As for my Com law class, it still feels like we haven't gone over enough to make more than just a few subheadings, so I'm still waiting to really get it started because we are still only on the first chapter. But I'm still doing handwritten reviews over what we've gone over so I can easily use that to make my outline with.

(here's a post on how to get started on outlines)

Keep an updated case list

Obviously when I made these goals, I had no clue that only one of my classes would even have cases. I haven't started on this yet, but one day soon I'm planning an all-out catch up day where I get this done. Hopefully.

Speak up in class

Since my Negotiations and LRW classes require participation, I actually speak up a lot in these. But speaking up in class generally happens more when you're in a smaller class, and both of these have less than 25 students in them. In Wills class, my professor will go down the row and call on you, so I really haven't talked much except for the two times that I was called on. What's nice is that he goes through a lot of students in each class, so each time I was up, all I had to do was read part of a statute and that was it. 

As for my Com law class, I have no clue what's going on in there. Seriously it's one of those things where class kinda seems easy so I'm super suspicious. Because I have -25 confidence in that class, I have only talked the one time I was called on. Luckily I sit on her right, a little towards the back and she always calls on the middle or her left section so I can safely hide out for a while, at least until I feel like I have a good understanding on what's going on in there (if that ever happens).

Final Thoughts

If you read my blog last year, then you might remember that around this time last year was when I took a little break because I was too overwhelmed with law school to even think about blogging. That's why this post was so important to me to remind myself (and hopefully y'all) to take the time to organize myself and concentrate on what steps I need to be taking to make sure that I don't mess up anywhere. 

If you're starting to feel like you're drowning, it's cool because this is when I was too. There's nothing really I can suggest to beat that feeling, but just know that it's totally normal (almost expected), you can do this, you deserve to be here, don't give up on your dreams of becoming a lawyer, and stick with it! 


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