Wednesday, May 31, 2006

 

School or Work

The question of whether I would rather be in school or in work has come up quite often over the past few months. I think that this is mostly because my friends who have been working since the end of college think about how I'm STILL in school (or at least in the school setting), but it also is coming up more and more because having an actual job is just a couple months away. The typical response from people who work seems to be: "I'd rather be in school. You can get up whenever you want. You don't have to worry about your boss. You're learning new things that you care about. You can even take the summer off." The typical response from people who are in school seems to be: "I'd rather be working; at least then I get a pay check and usually have free time on the weekends." I just thought that was kind of funny. I guess that people seem to focus more on the bad aspects of their daily routine than the good. I think that my answer is that I enjoyed being in school while I was there, but now I'm a little tired of it and ready to get out of debt.

I guess that my relevant thought in regard to an undergraduate reading this blog would be that you should really think through going back to school (or continuing in school). There are a lot of people that I know who are in jobs and are sick of their job, but instead of trying to find a new job, they decide to go back to school. Usually this happens without the person thinking through why they are going back to school and what their plan is on using the new degree that they are seeking. Going back to school not only takes up a lot of time, it also throws you into additional debt. Going back to school just for the heck of it - and with little advancement in pay - doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Just a warning.

Another note is that this doesn't really apply to going to college because college has, for some, become a no-brainer following high school. Additionally, most employers are looking for a college degree for many, many jobs. In fact, I found it interesting that when I think about a lot of people I know who went straight to work out of college there are only a handful who are truly using any particular skills that they learned in undergrad for their jobs. The ones that are are usually people in finance or engineers. I'm sure that there's a ton of other professions that I'm forgetting, but for the most part it seems to ring true with the people that I know. I guess that just shows that if you are getting a degree in undergrad that you really don't have a strong feeling for anymore, it's not a big deal.

Anyways, I'm just in the middle of my bar review routine (see below post). It's pretty boring so I figured that I should write about something other than my day-to-day activities. As always, please post a comment if you'd like a discussion of anything particular regarding law school. I'll try to get back to filling out some of my general thoughts on first year, second year, and third year in future posts.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

T-Minus 61 Days

That's the amount of time that I have remaining until the bar exam. Since I'm supposed to discuss what my life is like as a post-law student, here is a typical day during bar review preparation (for me):

6:45am - Wake up
8:00am - Take bus to bar review course
9:00am - 12:30pm - Bar review lecture
12:30pm-1:45pm - Eat lunch and walk to law school library
1:45 - 4:30pm - Review lecture notes and start review of outline for tomorrow's bar review lecture topic
4:30-5:30 - Take bus home
5:30-7:00 - Work out, eat, watch PTI on TIVO
7:00-8:00 - Finish review of outline for tomorrow's bar review lecture topic
8:00-9:30 - Do 50 practice multi-state multiple choice questions or do 2 practice essay questions (depending on current topic being reviewed)
9:30-11:00 - Review answers to multi-state questions or essay questions
11:15 - Bedtime

Actually, that's not really going to be a "typical day" - that will be the schedule for every day except for Memorial Day. Weekends will be basically the same except, instead of going to lecture, it will invovle doing more practice questions or listening to audio lectures or going over flash cards. Well, I guess that's not true either since there are some variables, like playoff Pistons games (TIVOing them and then fast forwarding through them until the last 8 minutes or so), softball games, and a couple breaks each week to watch a movie or maybe even go for a walk down the beachfront.

I think that having this type of schedule written up where I know what I'm going to have to do minute by minute is going to help me quite a bit. Staying organized definitely helps to reduce any stress that would come from thinking "oh my gosh, am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing today?" In addition to this general hour-by-hour summary, I also have a 7-page schedule from the bar review preparation course hanging on my door telling me what my assignments are to be each day until the exam.

Finally, posting this is also not meant to scare anyone or complain - I'm just letting you know what a typical day in a post-graduate law student is like. It's just something that you have to go through and I know that. I'm just crossing my fingers that I'll only have to go through it once...

Friday, May 19, 2006

 

The blue bus is callin' us, driver where you takin' us?

As I went to blogger to put up another post, "The End" by The Doors came up on my stereo. I guess it seems appropriate since I will be graduating in two days. Yet at the same time it's really what I would call "The Awful Middle" - aka the time leading up to the bar exam. After turning in my final paper last Friday, I decided that I needed to get a head start on the MBE (multistate bar exam) portion of the bar by listening to some audio lectures provided by PMBR (one of the bar review programs). So I spent around 60 hours this past week listening to those lectures on the six main areas for the MBE - contracts, real property, criminal law, constitutional law, torts, and evidence. Not the most fun I've ever had, but it needed to be done and I feel much more confident heading into the next 10 weeks.

I thought that I would be much more exicited about graduating, but unfortunately all I can think about is the bar exam. I posted the schedule on the back of my door. It's pretty scary - about 10 hours of studying each day, though I do get Independence Day off. Great....

Anyways, I'm going to relax tonight and root on the Pistons - hopefully they won't get embarrassed again. We'll have to see.

"Waiting for the summer rain..........."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

 

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Fast forward a little bit from the last posting and here I am: sitting in the library with a little over four hours before my last ever final exam. I am saying to myself, like I almost always do a few hours before the exam, “I just want to take this now and get it over.” That’s when I usually know that I’m ready to take the exam – except being a third year now might skew that reasoning. Even though each time I look through my notes I seem to tweak one little thing in my “mini-outline” (that’s actually 20 pages of material in size 9-font with 0.13 inch margins), I really just want to take the exam now. The Pistons game has been TIVOed (a new verb), and I’m just looking forward to relaxing while watching Big Ben swat another Lebron James shot. Unfortunately, I do have one last final paper to turn in, but that should be completed in two days or so and I’m not really stressed out about it at all.

I was going to try to do a comparison of studying for final exams during second semester of third year to first semester of first year, but there’s just too many variables. I actually have studied quite a bit for the exam I’m about to take, but it is tough to compare when you only have one exam instead of the normal five. I do know that I’ve been taking my time in getting up, going down to the library, and coming home rather early each day – which is nothing like first year.

One last thing about the title to this blog is that I’ve learned that there’s no real “light at the end of the tunnel” until you retire – and that’s only a “maybe.” Of course, after this “final final exam” I have my “final final paper” to write. Then I almost immediately go into studying for the bar exam. And after that it’s time to start my career. Wow, in reading that sentence back I sound like a complete pessimist. I didn’t mean it to be that way – I just wanted to point out that it is good to look to “endpoints” in time, but to also be a realist and understand that work basically continues forever.

One more last look over my mini-outline, through my flowchart, into the exam room, and through the tunnel…until I wake up tomorrow morning.

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