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.