Tag Archives: law school

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.

Confidence in Law School

These last two week have been pretty crazy for me! I’ve been super busy with law school and all of my classes as the teachers have started to buckle down and start throwing a ton of material and knowledge at us. It is very stressful. Right now, I feel like I’m doing alright in all of my classes but it’s hard to tell sometimes because I don’t have a grade in the classes and that’s a little nerve-wracking for me because I don’t know if I’m doing well or not.

In some of my classes when the teachers ask questions to other students, I answer them in my head and get them right but sometimes I get them wrong. Right now, I would say I’m doing the best in Torts, ok in Contracts, ok in Property, ok in Civil Procedure and good in Legal Methods.

I believe that I can definitely improve in all of my classes but I think the two things that I have to improve the most on in class and out of class is my confidence and my outlines. When I’m in class, I get a little nervous about being called on, even though I’m prepared and sometimes I just kind of blank out when I’m asked questions that I should know the answers. It’s very worrying for me because I do not want to be taking the final exam and kind of draw a blank because I’m nervous. I’ve been volunteering more in classes and while I don’t get called on all the time, I do sometimes. It’s helped build my confidence a lot from where it was at before. My confidence is still a little shaky but hopefully I can continue to improve it.

My outlines have been a bit of an issue for me because while I know how to follow one, I’m not exactly how to create a law school outline. Should it be just the topics we’ve covered in class listed out, or do I need to write definitions under each thing we’ve covered. I’ve heard different things from almost everybody I’ve talked to about it. My new plan is to spend at least one or two hours everyday on my outlines so that I have a great outline to take into the final exams.

Overall though, while it has been very tiring and stressful lately, I know that this little bit of suffering will pay off in a big way in the future!

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!

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.

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.

Day before Law School Begins!

The anticipation rate is rising, my emotions are in flux, my heart is thumping as I realize that my days of freedom have dwindled down to none and this is my last day before law school begins. I’ve been very busy this last week leading up to law school with orientation, meeting classmates, getting books and having a rush of information constantly coming into my head. It’s exciting but also very stressful and overwhelming at the same time. At some moments in the day I wonder if I’m cut out for law school and if I will be able to keep up my classmates and professors, but when I have those thoughts I just look to Grandpa for guidance in everything. I also start thinking of the song from The Lion King, “Be Prepared” because the professors have been saying all week that the number one thing in law school is to be prepared!