As you can probably guess…I’m super far behind in my Law School 0L Prep.
i am ashamed
Life got in the way, and when I wasn’t busy, instead of making myself busy with reading I opted for enjoying my non-busyness. BUT, I’m starting LEEWS this week and tomorrow I’m going to post some of the general things I learned from Getting to Maybe.
In the end… I’ll still be proud of whatever I can get through in the next 3 weeks because I’m still going to be ahead of at least 80% of my class, and 100% of the people who did nothing.
some people call it arrogance- i call it being the best *walks down hall in a suit with sunglasses on like a boss*
I wasn’t a Polisci major all 4 years in college. I actually went in as a Biology major and Political Science minor.
okay okay…it’s not really a secret
From the 3rd grade on I was absolutely sure I wanted to be a pediatric surgeon. I wanted to specialize in transplants, and later be part of Doctors Without Borders traveling the world and saving the lives of those who couldn’t afford it. I’ve always wanted to help people, and I’ve always been interested in the body. And even as I got older it stuck. I used to watch discovery health religiously. Twins getting separated, moms giving birth, transplant stories… back when they used to have the crazy real life graphic stuff.
I was (and still kind of am) really in love with science.
Then in middle school when I first got my interest in political science I decided I would still be a surgeon but retire by 40/50 and be a politician. I was so sure I was going to be a pediatric surgeon that pretty much everything, including even going to a Medical Magnet high school surrounded the idea of becoming a surgeon.
14 years later… I’m on my way to law school and A LOT in my life plan has changed. If 8 year old, or even 17 year old college freshman Kristin could see me now, she’d be pretty confused.
I started pretty early on my 0L prep so I’m taking it slow to make sure I can still enjoy these last months of freedom before my life is consumed by class, studying, networking, internships……..work work work!
Balance is important.
I’m going out of town to visit a friend and go to a music fest this weekend and I’m super excitteeddd
When I get back though, back to work and I’ll be making/publishing that detailed post about my prep plans I promised!
There’s still about 2 months until I’ll have to move to Law School but I feel like that time is just going to fly by and as each day brings me closer to starting school I get a little more nervous. I invent a couple new fears and my heart drops a little more. I’m excited, but I’m nervous and I’m anxious.
The worry of today is about the workload and my work ethic. I mentioned in my post about theGame of Law School that part of “winning the game” is not only working the smartest within the system, but combining that with a superb work ethic.
And I’ll be honest with you guys, I’ve never had to put forth such a work ethic. This is probably going to sound cocky but I have gotten pretty far just by being smart.
I was labeled gifted in elementary which led to honors classes in middle school, and AP or honors classes in High School. I passed 5 AP test, and entered college as a sophomore from all the credits so I got to skip a lot of GEs. With the exception of my freshman year in college (which is a long story) I’ve gotten good grades (As and Bs) with minimal effort (sometimes less depending on the subject). I wouldn’t be honest if I said I have ever put a 100% effort toward any class or subject, and that’s mainly because I’ve never had to.
Our education system does nothing but teach us to memorize and regurgitate.
You know that person people hate…that did the 10 page paper the night before it was due and got an A, or never did the reading but somehow still aced the final while most people have been running around for a week just to get a B.
I don’t claim to be a genius or anything. I didn’t graduate undergrad with a 4.0 (evidence of my laziness) and I’m not out here curing cancer or building spaceships from broken toasters but, I’ve very rarely been legitimately challenged or felt the need to adhere to legitimate study time for success.
I don’t feel anything I’ve done in my life has prepared me for what I’m about to take on with law school. For this workload, this stress and for the dedication to studies being in the top is going to take. The main thing I have going for me in all this is my drive to be successful no matter what (and God of course).
I have overcome a lot. I’m a minority from inner-city low income community. Neither of my parents graduated college, and I am the first of my siblings to have graduated college (hopefully setting examples of what they can aspire to or be even better than). I had to figure out and learn a lot on my own, from college applications, to financial aid forms, to how to study and pass college classes. I have worked hard to get to where I am, but not as hard as I could have to be even better.
To deal with this worry, part of my 0L prep is getting myself into the habit of sticking to a study schedule and bettering my time management skills. The beginning of this new school year will mark the rebirth of Kristin as a student. This is my future, and the subject I’m most passionate about so I’m ready to give 100%. The fact is, everyone in law school (and really grad school in general) is smart or has worked their butt off (or both) to get there. So in the grand scheme of things I’m no “specialer” than anyone else entering law school in fall. Therefore, I’ve just got to make sure I hold myself accountable, and remind myself that the only person who can get me to where I want to be is me. For those that are more intelligent than me, they won’t work harder than me, and for those that work harder than me, they won’t play the game smarter than me. There’s no excuses for not giving it my all and making sure I’m one of the best.
My last post I talked about the game of law school, and working to be the best, and I know it probably made me sound like a potential gunner lol but…
Some of you are probably thinking, calm it down girl, does it really matter if you’re in the top 10%? We’re all getting J.D.s here, just work hard and do your best.
But yes, HECK YES it matters.
Here’s my top 2 reasons why:
#1. I’m black.
Now, this isn’t a problem for the great majority of law students. The school I’m most likely going to has like 3% black people, 20-30% “other” in general, so most law students will never have to consider this. But for all other POC law students out there, average isn’t good enough for you.
You know that whole Scandal scene with Papa Pope and Olivia and he says
That sh*t (excuse my french) is real life. If you’re one of those “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” people, and you think it’s an excuse, just go look at employment and salary statistics.White high school drop outs are just as likely as black college graduates to be hired, so I’ve got a hell of a lot more work to do to get to the top than the majority of my peers. Just graduating, isn’t good enough, and it won’t put me in a position for the type of success I’m after. To get the best, I’ve got to be THE best.
#2. A LOT of Law school graduates are unemployed.
They aren’t the majority, but they’re getting pretty close. If you’ve applied for, or are starting law school and you haven’t researched and read articles and statistics on employment- you are naive.
A J.D. isn’t magic, and I’m not immune to the woes of an over-saturated market. The fact is, not only will I be competing with my fellow graduates, I’ll also competing with the ~30-40% of unemployed graduates that have come through in the last 5-10 years since law employment prospects have dropped. That whole joke about having a law degree and working at target…isn’t really a joke.
Some people are going to read this and think, “eh, this doesn’t matter for ME because I don’t wanna do Big Law, I’ll work at a small firm or I want to work for the government as a public defender or whatever”. BUT, there are only so many jobs in Big Law, there are only so many prestigious clerkships, so where do you think all the rejects for those jobs are going? And these aren’t “rejects” in the regular sense of the word, these are super intelligent people, with significant skills, polished and awesome resumes who were only rejected because there are just too many lawyers and not enough jobs. Therefore you have to set yourself apart or you’ll be just another face in the crowd. These people are competing with you for the small firm job, or the government job, or any job that’ll hire because at the end of the day, student loans are no joke, and people have bills to pay.
Ultimately my point is, if I want to be on the other side of the employment statistics I’ve got to WORK for it and kick ass in law school.
For about a year now (maybe more because my excitement for law school is too much to contain lol) I have been reading all kinds of law blogs and lawyer blogs and law student tips and news blogs like Above the law, Top Law Schools (TLS) forums, Ms JD, Law-School-Hacker etc. (to name a few). I have learned A LOT…what to expect, what I can do to prepare, what I should do during, application tips, transferring chances, how ranking works, etc.- basically tips about hacking the system. Ultimately though, what I have come to realize from all this research is that law school is a GAME. Except, unlike any other game, most people don’t know the rules, don’t know how to play, and are low-key being misled by the teachers/leaders of the game (a.k.a. your professors). Resulting in a blood bath of confusion as unexpected candidates rise to the top, and that person who worked relentlessly briefing every case, or that person who you thought sounded the smartest in class, all end up with mediocre grades in the middle of the pack.
It isn’t the person who works the hardest, nor the person who has the most intelligence who will ultimately win. It’s the person who works the SMARTEST within the system of the game- combined with a superb work ethic- who will win the Game of Law School.
The majority of people going into law school are going in with the mindset that they’ll work to be in the top (top 10% usually gets you on Law Review, and possibly a scholarship depending on your school). 90% of them will be wrong.
If you don’t want to be in that great majority, the key is to get ahead of the game.
To know as much of the rules and moves as you can before you start.
I intend to be the best. Unlike everyone else however, my intentions are backed by months of research and advice from top 10percenters at top law schools (i.e. Standford, UCLA, Berkley, etc.), current lawyers, and law professors.
The first of my steps towards success this summer is 0L Prep.
I’m poor, so I wont be spending $1500 on some fancy Kaplan law school prep that most people say doesn’t help them any way lol.
I have however, researched the best books, the best type of prep, and what I should be working to understand prior to starting, so if you’re interested check out my next post detailing my whole plan and the books with some links to other blogs or forums that helped me form my plan.