Wednesday, September 15, 2010
20 - Confusion About Succeeding in Law School – Where to Start When You Feel Overwhelmed
20 - Confusion About Succeeding in Law School – Where to Start
When You Feel Overwhelmed
When you are overwhelmed, always return to the basics. This approach is true for law school as well.
Start on the first day of law school. Yes, I know, you weren’t feeling overwhelmed on the first day of law school. This is why I have, for many years, started the first class of each year by telling my students how hard it is going to be. Then I try to give a variety of tools to help manage the difficulty. You might want to review my previous blog under this title, Succeeding in Law School. Many are already there.
One of the first things I tell students is that you must read with the purpose of understanding what you are reading rather than having the purpose of merely getting the reading assignment done. The easiest way to do this is to look at the table of contents of your book and look at the topic. You have to say to yourself, “When I am finished reading, what am I supposed to know?” Then, when you have finished, you must have an honest self-assessment. Do you really know it? If you can pick out a stranger and explain it so it is understandable, then you have accomplished the task. If not, then do it all over again.
I hear all of the time from students who say, “I don’t know why my grades are low. I really know the law.” Generally, I can ask a few questions to illustrate to the student that s/he really doesn’t know the law very well at all. Don’t kid yourself. I know from experience that most students who are receiving low grades really don’t know the law all that well.
I also hear a lot, “I know the law, but when the exam starts I just freeze and can’t think.” Again, don’t kid yourself.
You will be much better off admitting that you do not know the law very well and then resolving to know the law well enough to perform and score well on the exam.
How do you do this? That’s the next blog.
© 2010. Douglas S. Holden. All Rights Reserved.