Tag Archives: journey

The Grades are in

As the last grade came in, my heart dropped. A sinking feeling entered my chest and I immediately felt sick and worried. At this moment, I realized that I would not be back at FAMU for a second semester of law school.

I needed a B- in my last exam to stay in law school in order to meet the GPA standards set by FAMU. I did not get it. While I was happy to say that I passed all of my courses, my GPA didn’t meet FAMU’s requirements. It is very hard to make it from being a first-year law student (1L) to being a second-year law student (2L) in law school. According to the last published ABA (American Bar Association) data just over 40% of 1L students did not make it to the second year for any number of reasons. Based on grades, about 1 in 6 didn’t make it for academic reasons, like me.

I’ve had a very stressful, exciting and eventful semester. I’ve been stressed with so many different things from driving downtown Orlando to FAMU at 6 am, to turning in legal papers 15 minutes before the midnight deadline, learning how to write legally and making sure that I’ve prepared for class.

On my final exams, it was particularly stressful because a couple times the software that I was using to write my essays, froze up and I wasn’t able to write as much as I wanted.

Another time I had handwrite the whole essay! I definitely think that hurt me because I wasn’t able easily to go back and fix anything. Also, in the majority of my classes, 100% of my grade in the class was determined by the exam. Now that was super stressful! I’ll definitely want to meet with my professors to find out what I did wrong and also, hopefully, learn what I did right.

It’s extremely disappointing to me that I won’t be back for a second semester as I feel like I blew a golden opportunity to get done with law school before I was 21. There were definitely some things that I probably could have done better and there were a couple issues that I had that probably hindered me throughout this process.

One issue was the exams themselves. These law school exams were unlike any tests I’ve taken before. The material was harder, the questions were much more confusing than any questions I’ve seen on other tests, or practice exam questions. The second issue was that during the semester, I had thought that I understood the material that I was learning, but I didn’t really begin to fully understand it until November. Meaning, I understood the material on the surface level but I didn’t begin to understand it on a deeper level until November. That is too late to be fully understanding the material in law school and I suspect that I needed to know it at a deeper level.

I started to understand things better as the term progressed and really caught fire towards the end. That won’t work in law school. Also, I jumped into the fire not knowing what to expect or how I was supposed to do anything, such as writing case briefs, reading cases, taking tests and legal writing. That played a major part in the struggles I had. It definitely would’ve been better if I had more experience in all of these things before law school. But I know that the reason I started law school at 17 was because I wanted to give it a try rather than wait several years before trying.

I am definitely very disappointed that I didn’t make it this time. I feel like I let my family and my friends down and didn’t live up to the standards I set for myself. I had a great opportunity and I couldn’t capitalize on it. It’s like starting at your opponents 17 yard line in football and not being able to score the touchdown. It’s disappointing but all I can do is move on and learn from my experiences and better myself. I’ve got the future in front of me and all I can do is continue to do better and make my way.

I definitely plan on coming back to law school. In the meantime though, I plan to get a job or two, maybe one at a law firm and earn enough money to pay off my student loans and save some money for law school. I’ve also have some ideas on some blogging, book writing and putting some more effort into my bike rental business, ELBikeRental.com.

There’s that old saying, “when one door closes, another opens.” In my case, the door hasn’t been locked, but rather just closed. All I have to do is reach for the doorknob when I’m ready and open it back up again! I’m disappointed but very excited to see what the future holds for me! Stay Tuned.

Family time at the Beach!

These last few days have been pretty awesome! Christmas was a lot of fun as I got to spend a lot of time with family and have a good time. On Christmas morning when we were opening presents, Mom and Dad surprised Margo, Benjamin, Annika and I with a trip to the beach the next day! I was so excited because we hadn’t been to the beach in awhile and I thought it would be a fun trip. Mom also told us that we couldn’t bring any computers with us, which annoyed me slightly as I do a lot of work on the computer. I figured I could be without the computer for a couple of days before I will (hopefully) be back reading law books and using the computer.

The drive to the beach was very interesting because Benjamin was driving down to Madeira Beach (where we stayed), as he has his permit and I was a little bit nervous because I haven’t ridden in the car with Benj driving much. When he was driving and would go 5, 10 mph over the speed limit, or have one hand on the wheel and start talking to people, not putting his sole attention on the road. I would get nervous. Now sometimes I do these things when I drive but I’m not used to Benj driving and I don’t believe that he is experienced enough to be doing any of those things quite yet. I am a terrible backseat driver, I’m told.

When we got to the beach it was late at night so we ended up playing Monopoly the whole night and that was a lot of fun as I have never really played Monopoly knowing all of the rules. I didn’t win but it was fun to play anyway.

We were originally going to go biking the next afternoon but we ended up not going because the bike rental place did not have enough bikes available for us to rent. We walked along the boardwalk at John’s Pass. While we walked on the boardwalk we stopped and watched some fishermen unload their daily catch and sort out all of the different fish out, put them in ice and load them into trucks. It was pretty cool watching that as now I can see how the fish gets to stores, restaurants and packaging company. The smell was pretty bad at first but after a little while, I got used to it.

Later that night, we went to Bubba Gump’s, a restaurant based off of the movie Forrest Gump and I had a great time. It was very chilly that night but it was fine for me because I enjoy being in the cold weather. It’s a nice change from the seemingly constant heat in Florida! The dinner was great and I had an awesome time there with everybody!

I had a fantastic time at the beach these last few days and I’m happy Mom and Dad took the opportunity to take my siblings and I there to have awesome quality family time!

Phew! Completion!

Today was very stressful and a bit crazy! I spent most if the day working on a Rules assignment for Legal Methods where I had to read about four to five different cases and synthesize them in order to come up with a rule statement. Yeah, even explaining it stresses me out.

Writing the statement was a bit difficult for me because the instructions were not very clear and I was having a hard time finding out what exactly was needed in the assignment. Eventually though, I was able to get some clarification on the instructions from some classmates and I was able to get the assignment done before the deadline — not a lot before, but before!

Missing Classes Get You a Star

Today was a very interesting day to say the least. Labor Day is coming up so some of my classmates were talking about their plans for the weekend and Monday since we didn’t have class that day. When I was in Property, I noticed that there were about six people missing from class. I’m not sure why they were missing class but I felt sorry for them and just a little relieved. Law school classes are graded on a Bell Curve and attendance is taken into account, so if people miss classes, that gives me a better chance of getting a higher grade than them because they lose points for missing class. The Torts professor was not happy about them missing class so she had everybody who was there put a star by their names. I’m not sure what the stars mean, but it can’t mean anything good for the people who weren’t there.

Hypothetically….

Today was a great day! Today we just had Contracts and it was a ton of fun! Professor Fineman split us up into groups where we discussed one of the hypothetical cases. The situation was between two companies over the fact that both parties were negotiating a licensing deal and both sides had agreed in principle to the terms that would be written in the contract. The parties also agreed to write a contract and give it to their presidents to sign. One of the parties had not signed the contract or communicated with the other party about why they hadn’t signed it. Now the offering party wants to get out of the contract because they got a better offer from a different buyer, so the president wanted to know if the company would be liable for anything.

My group spent some time discussing this and I believe I contributed a lot to the discussion. Actually, I know I did.

Woo! Interactive Student here!

Today was probably the best day I have had in class in regards to interacting with the professors. In Property, I answered several questions and I was right on target and I also asked a couple questions that Professor Whitman was happy that I brought up. My confidence has improved a ton from the first week now that I’m starting to get more comfortable and I can really start to tell. Hopefully the professors can too! Torts was also pretty good today and while I interacted more in Property, I did interact a little bit with giving the facts of a case and the issue statement.

Ahhhh… group sessions

Today was a very good day! Around 10 am I got to FAMU where I met with Audrey, Dustin and Cynthia to discuss our briefs and any issues we were having. Dustin and Audrey were not done with their briefs yet, so I felt a little bit better about spending so much time on my brief to get it done. I talked with everyone about how to pinpoint cite cases and while they were not sure either, Dustin had majored in Legal Studies so he presented us with two citation methods to use. I was very happy because I had spent about two hours trying to figure out how to cite the paper.

After studying for about two hours we ran into two fellow 1Ls from sections 301 and 302, Alex and Jason- or Holloway as everyone calls him. We talked with them about several different topics ranging from living situations, the law school experience, classes, classmates and so much more. We probably talked for about three hours and Holloway probably described the group conversation perfectly when he said, “it was a group therapy session.” Since we are all in the same boat it was nice to be able to talk to people who know what you are going through and are able to relate.

Gettin’ into the groove

Today was another good day in the life of Erik. Our Civil Procedure classes for the week had been rescheduled because Professor Smith had things she had to do this week. It was nice because it gave me some more time to prepare for other classes and review materials. Contracts was pretty good today as we discussed several mutual assent cases and Contracts has become a lot more fun to me because the concepts are starting to click more. I’m starting to understand them. I’m also starting to interact more in class which is good because you can’t be a timid law student, or else you will be so nervous you won’t converse with the professors and that drastically hinders the whole learning process. I am definitely learning.

Procrastination = Bad

Today was very stressful for me. Even though it was a weekend, I was extremely busy with doing the case brief assignment, preparing for a Bluebook citation quiz on Monday, as well as doing the readings for next week. I spent the day procrastinating after each task in the day for a total of maybe two hours and then furiously writing the brief, reading cases, reading the casebook and preparing for the Bluebook quiz. It was very stressful. I finally ended up getting the brief done around 10 pm and I was very happy because now I could take it to the study group meeting and discuss any problems that I had with it. And, I as far as problems go, in my eyes, there are a lot.

First Assignment… yikes!

Today was another day in the life, so to speak. It was a little hectic because I had Property and Torts as well as getting the instructions for an assignment due this weekend! This is my first actual assignment in law school so I’m pretty nervous about it. Actually – a lot nervous. I’m not sure how I will do considering how many of the things we have to do like pinpoint citing, case citing and rule discovery hasn’t been taught to us yet. I feel like I might be behind the curve slightly on this assignment because many students majored in legal studies in undergrad and I didn’t. Hopefully though it ends up being alright.