The Deadman Night Rider

A forum for evening students of the SMU Dedman School of Law and other outlaws..

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Surviving exam season

Well, the Deadman Night Riders weathered Contracts last night. Off-duty firemen, ice cream, and pig iron--I guess you had to be there.

Luckily, no one had a breakdown like this guy. BarelyLegalBlog is looking for more nuclear meltdown stories like this, so if you have one, send it on to them. Natasha is a big fan of this site.

I can say, though, that I do understand where the guy was coming from and that everybody has probably had at least a fleeting second of feeling the same way. What's strange is that I can't really put my finger on why it's so stressful. The material is challenging, but so far it's not the most difficult I've ever seen (corporate income tax still has that dubious honor, followed closely by Russian verbs of motion). Some of my study partners are doctors, engineers, bankers, Army vets etc.--they all say the same thing. In the end, it's all just reading and writing--no math, no running, no obstacle courses or drill sergeants--so where does all this anxiety come from?

Part of it is just the uncertainty. You can't sit down with a problem and work down to an answer that you know is wrong or right and feel you've mastered something. Old exams only do so much--you just get the questions, not the answers. I think there's also a feeling of disconnect between the exam and whole semester beforehand that just leaves you feeling unprepared.

Part of it, though, is simply ego. Everyone wants to do well and everyone has high standards for themselves. I think maybe it's that 'culling' effect. In every other class I've ever had, there were always maybe 10-15% of people that were just way more committed than everyone else (unfortunately I wasn't always among them). Law school is the first place I've been where basically everyone is like that--there are no real coasters. Luckily, none of it has turned ugly, which is something I ascribe to my group being older and having more perspective.

One last thing on that: I can't tell you how much respect I have for the work my classmates are putting in--many of my colleagues are working full-time jobs and came straight from work to take the exam yesterday. How's that for a fun Friday, huh? I'm lucky to have so much control over my schedule--I honestly do not know how these men and women do it.


Blogger nappel said...

Barely Legal have posted other melt down stories, I hope it's not as bad at SMU...

10:15 AM  

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