Almost four months have passed since I set foot into this new and different stage of my life. And how do I do now?
Oh well. My first day was indeed petrifying. I already triple checked my schedule but still, I was not sure if I actually entered the right class. With lingering doubts, I barely managed to enter the classroom and took a seat farther from anyone. I didn’t want any conversation yet. I was introvert. I look around and saw younger and loud people, those who just finished their undergrad courses maybe. I also noticed some who were older, maybe a mom or a family man. Yup. At that time, I was desperately judging everyone because of my nerves probably. Everybody exchanged awkward smiles and said hi.
Your undergraduate course doesn't matter
At that moment, I was kind of scared because I didn’t know what to expect. I saw someone who had books already, while all I had was a pen and a notebook. I was also a bit terrified because I had no background that was actually related to law. I’m a nurse. What I had was just Nursing Legal Ethics and Jurisprudence. Most of my classmates were graduates of Political Science, Accounting, Legal Studies, and Commerce. Despite being fearful, I managed to look fine and just go with the flow.
We were then asked to introduce ourselves and I was so surprised that I was not the only nurse in the class; we were like seven nurses out of 25 students. Plus, one is a graduate of Biology. Seriously? Yes. With that, I realized that in law school, it does not matter if you have previously pursued pre-law courses. Everything is back to zero.
As the days went by, I was challenged by the bulk of books I need to read and carry every day, cases I need to digest, and recitations I need to answer. Adjusting to this new scheme is one of the difficult things to do. But I tell you, time management is another difficult thing but one that should be necessarily mastered. And so, the first three weeks were definitely very exhausting.
Here are some surprises I had in law school (so far). The following are my experiences. It may or may not be the same to everyone because of different circumstances. I just want to share mine, it might help others.
10 tips how to survive law school
- I go to the library and read, almost every day. You can also read at home if that suits you better.
- You don’t use the usual ball pen; you need to have a real pen, that is, a gel pen/sign pen plus color pens/highlighters too.
- During quizzes, you use the writing notebook, those which are for grade school and have a colorful Mickey Mouse or Dora in the cover page. In other law schools, they provide you with a customized and uniform school exam notebook.
- Recitation is every day and it’s done randomly. You’re lucky if the teacher follows the alphabetical order. But that would be rare.
- Recitation does not include one question only; you might recite during the entire hour and continue in the next meeting.
- When you don’t know the answer, there is no “Pass”.
- When you answer questions and you think you know the right answer, think again!
- Assignments are not one page only; it will be 15 pages or more.
- The Course Outline/Syllabus of the subject given during the first day is very important, keep it, it will be your guide.
- You need to have a dictionary or at least an app of legal dictionary in your phone. For newbies like us, it’s very helpful.
Not giving up is the key
After surviving the first three weeks of tough and demanding apprenticeship, I think I’m getting the hang of it. I know there’s many more to learn and a lot more of surprises I look forward to. I am definitely NOT backing down.
And I thank the One up there for finally giving me this chance to be here. So far, I love the challenge. It’s not easy but I believe I’m doing just fine and I’m learning a lot. May this good luck continue! Let’s drink to that!