Congrats on getting through fall semester. For me, those were always a bit tougher. As you head into a new semester I thought it would be helpful to share some ways to assess and better prepare for a new year/new semester.
Whether you were happy or disappointed with your grades, it’s helpful to stop and think about what went well—where did you do better than expected or what class took you by surprise by how interesting you found the topic to be? For those classes where you excelled, what do you think made the difference? And is there a way to replicate that for other classes?
If you found a topic particularly interesting (one you hadn’t considered before) is it worthwhile to consider a similar course for next year? Maybe you are a personal injury attorney in the making!
After you figure out what your strengths were, you have to dedicate equal time to figuring out what didn’t go so well. Why didn’t a certain topic land with you? Was it your time management? Was the topic super boring? Did life responsibilities get in the way? Be as honest as possible about what you think held you back. And then be just as honest in figuring out what needs to change?
For me, I had to reconfigure how I studied. I had to be honest that I wasn’t always paying attention in class. And recognize other distractions to problem solve how to avoid them again. This isn’t just about school and the lecture hall—where there people in your life that made things more difficult? That expected more out of you during this time and provided less support? If so, what kind of boundaries can you set here? Are you laughing at the idea of setting boundaries with family or friends!? Don’t! The time you spend in law school is finite and so is your opportunity to make the most of it. You cannot let outside factors diminish this limited time.
Finally, what will your next eight weeks look like? When will you study? How will you weave in other responsibilities? What about the extra stuff that comes with spring semester like oral arguments, try-outs, applications, etc. It may seem like overkill to map things out but for me, it was always helpful to have a long-term view of the next weeks ahead so that I could prepare as much as possible. Of course don’t be rigid—if something fun happens or an emergency arises you have to be flexible but the more structured your time, the better things will feel.
Have a great semester! And pay attention in class!