14 August 2008

Who prepares for orientation?

Posted by Shake sense into me

We were of course assigned orientation homework, as I wrote about anxiously before, and I of course started it right away out of excitement...but soon the excitement wore off and I continued watching a marathon of Jon & Kate Plus 8 on TLC.

Between moving, buying a car, setting up my place, and dealing with random visits from family (uh..hello?  I'm in law school - let's pretend I don't exist!) I have not really had all that much time to read the cases that were assigned.  I did read them, but to be completely honest, I'm not totally taking everything seriously yet.  I really feel like this is my last "fun" week and why should I stress out about orientation homework?
Well, turns out, everyone around me is stressing out about it and asking me what I think.  I have read the cases.  I know what they are generally about.  I even briefed one (my first brief), but I don't really understand what the "issue" is yet.  So when I get asked, "What did you put for the issue in blah blah blah?" I return a blank stare.  Why are my peers asking me this?!  Aren't they supposed to help us in orientation and tell us what the issue we were supposed to find was?  Is it okay to return an answer of "Uh...I don't know" to a fellow student?  
I feel as though I am already being labeled as a slacker before a group of OCD worriers.  
But I'm not a slacker.  I've obsessed with law school enough that, for me, this whole orientation thing is nice, but I'd rather hang out at the beach and tan.  I fully intend on buckling down during school, but what is with people acting as though their life depends on knowing what the issue is in a case that was assigned at orientation?  And why do I get judged negatively because I respond with "I don't know."  I am soooo close to wearing a sign that says, "I DON'T CARE WHAT THE ISSUE IS."
Of course, the other side of this - and this is what I was afraid of - I don't study like most future lawyers - at least I don't think I do.  I study by myself, and I don't like to talk about what I'm studying until I know I've mastered the concept, or until I know that I just can't master it without talking to someone.  Everyone I've spoken to wants to know about the homework, what I think.  Somehow I think they are benefiting from others opinions, but I can't; nor can I give an opinion on something I've done a cursory overview of.
The worse of it is is really that I am living in close proximity to one of the most enthusiastic homework question askers this side of the Sierra Nevada's, and it really isn't my thing to discuss an issue when I'm taking out the trash in the morning.  LEAVE ME ALONE.  
Maybe part of my stand-off attitude is because I am afraid of giving the wrong answer.  I really don't know - but I'm more worried right now about taking care of myself and my worries than what the person sitting next to me at the reception thinks of our assigned cases.
I will say that I have, of course, found out how to get the syllabi for my courses and I have marked down the readings I need to do for them.  I'm not slacking.  I just study differently.  
I really hope that my lack of preparedness for my peers asking me about this does not permanently reflect on my reputation at this law school, but if it does it does, and what can I do.  C'est la vie.


The Legal Optimist said...

I'm sure your classmates are just nervous and they want to make sure they do everything right. Hopefully, someone has told them to relax a bit (that is one piece of advice that has been constantly repeated at my orientation). Good luck this year!

Butterflyfish said...

Insightful comments in class, knowing answers, blah blah... none of that matters after the grades come out. Everyone says they don't talk about grades, yet everyone figures out class rank pretty easily.

Kel said...

I agree with the above. However I will admit that I was peeved when I saw a hornbook at orientation.

Try coming across as relaxed and see if people stop asking you. Or try to change the subject.

Shake sense into me said...

I don't even fully understand what a hornbook is...

The Yuppie Attorney said...

Welcome 1L:

As a JD here are some things that I wish people told me the first day of class/orientation:
1) No one likes a gunner.
2) Legalines outlines, --worth the money.
3) Lawschool is $700 a credit hour. Ask questions and use the time wisely. You are paying for it!
4) After your 1L year, you need to get a P/T legal job during the summers and regular school year.
5) Slackers and stupid people you left in your undergraduate days. Lawstudents are 3.0+ GPA highly competitive people. The work you did to get you a "B" in undergrad might get you a "D" now.
6) Make friend and connections. These are great leads when you graduate.
7) Lawschool classes have only one exam. After your 1L year your class rank and GPA are pretty much fixed for the rest of your stay.
8) visit www.jdundergound.com

good luck

Law Ingenue said...

The only time it will ever matter how intelligent you answer a question is when you are writing your exam.

Don't worry about how others study. Do what you need to do.

Hang in there!

Kel said...

Hornbook = cliff notes like outline for law school