Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Scoop on Finals

For those not intimately involved with law school, I thought I would paint a small picture of the delight that is law school finals. (Delights that are law school finals? Ah, neither one is right, really.) Imagine, if you will, going to every class, reading every assignment, participating to the extent required or beyond, and then, your entire grade comes down to your performance on a 3 or 4 hour test. You sit in a room, typing furiously, trying to spot every issue, analyze every angle analyzable, and remember every detail of law you possibly can for those 3-4 hours. Then you hand it in. It gets graded. There's your grade for the semester. Harsh, right?

Welcome to law school.

I had a prof tell us in the first year that finals are fun. It is a chance to "show what you know." I did not believe her then. Now, I see that she was right. Sometimes, finals are kind of fun. It's fun to see that you know more than you thought you did. Still, it's nerve-wracking hoping you get a good grade and that you understood the material correctly, because you go through the entire semester with no way to know if you are getting it or not.

Fun times!

9 comments:

patti_cake said...

I'm contemplating going back to school soon it's scary at my age!

jen said...

don't forget the best twist of it all - it's not really how much you know, it's how much the others that are taking it do or don't know in comparison.

Dakota said...

Patti_cake -
We are the same age. You know more than most of those young punks and experience counts for lots. Grades don't matter as much when you have a real life. It's all good. You can do it!

Jen - Right. That is double-edge sword, isn't it? Sucks when you are in a class with folks doing clinicals or real world jobs in the subject area of your class. OK if you loved the class, totally got everything, and most everyone else in the class was bored to tears.

MMC said...

Could be worse. You could sit in a room, writing furiously, trying to spot every issue, analyze every analyzable, and remember every detail of law you possibly can for thsoe 3-4 hours.

Like we did back in the stone age. ;-)

yankeegirl said...

MMC does have a point- I think my typing keeps up with my thinking much better than my very bad handwriting does!
I'm thinking of taking the LSAT in February, so the posts about law school have been fun to read. Thanks.

George said...

I was just talking to a student about this and mentioned "blue books." Then I wondered if she even knew what I meant (they're from the stone age, when most people didn't type exams). I also realized there could be a sane reason for the no-grade-until-finals approach -- it's like litigating a case and preparing for a trial, except that can go for years.

Lynilu said...

You said, "Then you hand it in. It gets graded. There's your grade for the semester. Harsh, right?" Yeah, it is, but I look at it this way ... by the time we are in grad school most of us realize that the final work is all that matters. In your case, your "final" wins or loses a case. In my profession (clinical social work) my "final" determines whether a person can make it through another day or not.

But I understand what you are saying here. "...because you go through the entire semester with no way to know if you are getting it or not." That used to drive me up the wall!!

And what you said to Patti is right on. I started college (undergrad) in my late 30s, finished grad school at 44. I was terrified about going to school at that age. turned out to be a distinct advantage. Our life experiences give us the upper hand. No one should ever avoid furthering their education. At any age!

patti_cake said...

Dakota & Lynilu thank you so much for the great advice and encouragement. With the mortgage banking field taking a hit I need a back-up plan.
Dakota I always feel like you are so much younger than me because you are so fun and goofy with the kids. (I mean that in a GOOD way LOL). Again, thanks my friend. You inspire me.

Dakota said...

Good point, those of you who compare finals to litigating a case, but (there's always a but), some of us have no interest in litigation! Also, there is generally time to prep a case, know your facts, do research...etc. Ah, really, I am just whining. I kind of like finals...when I am prepared...which is what I should be doing!

Patti_Cake - Hey - what's the fun of having kids if you don't get goofy with them? *grin* No way I'm missing out on that part!