School

The Last Week of Classes – Preparing for Law School Finals During Quarantine

I can’t believe it’s the last week of classes of my first year of law school!

No really, I can’t believe it. It just dawned on me yesterday when I finished my legal writing class. I’ve had the same professor for both semesters, so it really sank in when he gave the end-of-the-year speech.

With exams around the corner, we still don’t really know much about them. The only information we have is that they will be open-book and open-notes. How long we’ll have for each exam is still very much up in the air. It’s a little nerve-wracking. My study habits definitely differ if I have a 3-hour exam versus a 24-hour exam. Basically, it’s the difference between memorization (you don’t have time to look at your notes during a 3-hour exam) and going more into detail (in a longer exam, you can write more, so you’d want to include much more detail).

Regardless, with my first exam a mere two weeks away (read also: yikes!) I am certainly not ready. Allow me to explain how I plan to get through finals:

  • Legal Writing: This class is finished when I turn in a quick contract tomorrow. It’s one I drafted last semester and just need to edit. I got a very high grade on it the first time around, so it’s a very minor assignment.

  • Property: Property is a classic issue-spotting exam. Issue-spotters are where a professor gives you a long hypothetical situation – like 5 pages of content kind of long – and you just throw everything you can at it. To combat these kinds of tests, you need to remember every topic. The way I did my issue-spotters last semester is I made an outline and memorized the table of contents. When I got my exam, I spent the first 15 minutes writing the entire table of contents on a scrap piece of paper. It paid off.

    If I’m under a time constraint, I’ll need to memorize that table of contents again. If I’m not under a time constraint, I won’t have to. To try and find a healthy balance, next week my boyfriend and I will tackle sample exams every day of the week to familiarize ourselves with common fact patterns (Law School Hack: Professors can only come up with so many outlandish situations dealing exactly with what you learned. Getting your hands on as many practice exams as you can is key!)

  • Civil Procedure: My method right now is to type up all my notes. My professor wasn’t always super clear about what information connects, so once I have everything typed up I’ll try and make sense of it. I also want to create guides on all the different rules we covered and the cases we went over (sometimes cases make rules, it’s called common law).

    I bought a supplement earlier this semester, so I plan on reading through that to add to my outline. I’m also a school representative for Barbri, a bar exam prep service – yes, the one Kim Kardashian uses – and they give first-years free access to their first year materials which includes a lot of civil procedure stuff, so I’ll be sure to dig around there as well.

  • Legislation and Regulation: Ah, leg reg. My professor is currently theorizing his own rules to this class, so it’s been really difficult to follow. Usually, you can turn to the internet or someone else’s outlines, but not for this class. The older students all reassure you by saying on the last day everything clicks. That’s tomorrow, and well, I have low expectations.

    I think my plan is to really re-read the cases. He said his exam hypos are slightly different versions of cases we read for class (and there’s only like 20 we read all semester), so I want to really dive into those and create some long case briefs.

    Other than that, no plan. At least I’m not alone though.

So there you have it – I have no idea what’s going to happen from here. But I do know I’ll overcome it. Who knows, maybe I’ll even pull an honors pass.

Will I be finishing Project 1 any time soon? Probably not. Unless my legal writing class pulls through for the CALI, it looks like this one’s going to go into next semester.

Project 2

The Quarantine Post – What We’ve Been Up To

I hope everyone reading this is happy, healthy, and safe. What a strange time we’re living in, huh? I’ll keep the coronavirus thoughts to a minimum, we’ve all heard enough opinions to last a lifetime.

That being said, with my mother’s birthday this week, I went home for a few days to visit my family. With my brother returning home from school, it was a full house. It felt a bit like we were kids again which was really refreshing. We’ve found ways to keep things fun and I’d even recommend a couple of our activities to those who are counting down the minutes to the return of normal society. For those looking to escape ultimate boredom, here’s what we got up to:

  • Jackbox Party Games: These are little mini-games you play with your phone as your personal controller. Meanwhile, the main event takes place on the tv. We managed to find a way to use Zoom to do it with family that was also quarantined by sharing our computer screen. Our Zoom date lasted for nearly 5 hours and was exactly the same experience as it would have been if we were together.
  • American History Heads Up: We found old AP U.S. History flashcards during our deep cleans and turned it into a game of Heads Up. Conclusion: We’re bad at American history. Or at least that version… man, do they teach some unnecessary things in AP classes.
  • Counting all our piggy banks: Of course we turned this into a competition of jelly-bean jar proportions. All you had to do was guess how much money by weight. We all sucked. But on the upside, we were all too low.
  • Sending letters to the kid next door: He left us a drawing in our mailbox, so obviously we had to send something back. We pulled out all the stops (and foam letters!) to send him a nice letter back. My father even found a little toy car that we cleaned and sent to him.

But it wouldn’t be a Project 865 post without project updates and honestly it’s been helpful to be home all day to get my get organized project moving. Being home, I’ve been cleaning my childhood bedroom. It’s always tough for me to clean out my childhood bedroom because it’s so easy to get distracted with even the tiniest bit of nostalgia.

I was an avid book collector as a kid so it was time to purge. Most of these books I had either read or had no interest in, so I went for the jugular on it. Although, I did find that I had about 30 of the books on my list at my house which was great news.

I also sorted through all of my undergrad papers since I kind of threw them at my parents house once I was done. I did keep all of my tests since I think I have an idea for a project way down the line.

Lastly, internet spring cleaning was in full effect. I’m chipping away at my computer bookmarks and school e-mail – which has become extremely important since we are constantly getting so many e-mails it’s hard to keep track of.

In conclusion, it was a very successful trip home. Very productive – but I guess that’s what we could expect from 4 people all working from home in the same house.