Thursday, December 19, 2013

Law School Finals in GIFs

Panicky Smurf (1L is tough)
After three years of law school, exams still feel just about as terrifying as they did that first semester.  I still feel the same way about the exams as that smurf - panicky - and it seems that the only thing that has really changed in this regard is that the internet is now using GIFs (and on websites other than tumblr).  Now that all my final exams are done, here is the story of law school exams, as told by GIFs.

First, finals period for law school doesn't really start during the last two weeks of the term.  It actually starts around Thanksgiving, usually during Thanksgiving break when the rest of your family is celebrating together and you have to start reviewing your material and outlining to hope to have a chance of getting it done by the time you have to take 3+ finals.  

Once the outlining commences, other things fall by the wayside.

Outlines are ridiculously long.  "Attack Outlines" are shorter (3-4ish pages), but the real deal is more like 50+ pages.

But when you finally finish that outline, it feels great.

This really isn't as good as it seems, because once you finish the outlines, then you have to start taking practice exams. 

There's not usually a lot of sleep that happens at all during the preparation for finals.  Or during finals.  Or during law school....

And things that interrupt your precious sleep, especially alarm clocks telling you to wake up for the next thing, are not appreciated.

But test day is right around the corner.  With law school, you've got your variety of in-class exams and take-home exams.  Take-homes can be any amount of time.  I usually prefer the 4-5 hour take-homes over any other kind of exam, but this semester, I had two in-class exams and one 48 hour take-home (thankfully there was a word limit on it so you can't just type for 48 hours straight - it's law school, you know someone would do that if they were allowed).  Regardless, all exams basically feel like this.

The 48 hour take-home was basically just a whirlwind of feelings.  Mostly brought on by confusion and exhaustion of how to answer an impossible question.  First opening the question was a scary experience in itself.

And the hypothetical situations posed in the exams are always totally unrealistic things that would never happen in real life.

After the initial panic died down, the outlining of your answer begins. Finally getting a draft outline of your answer together feels great.

Then you start typing.  And it takes forever to put the "genius" ideas you had in your shoddy outline into coherent, complete, English sentences that reflect thoughts relevant to answering the question.

And then, because this is Michigan, it starts snowing outside your window.  

Once you finally have significant portions of your draft typed, you re-read the question and then what you wrote.  Your subsequent realizations are not so fun.

But, you've got 48 hours.  At this point, you still have about 36 hours left to go.  And brains need to sleep sometime.  Trying to sleep that night though is a bit difficult.

Once you finally fall asleep, it's great....but, then you have to wake up and finish that exam answer.

Re-typing and re-drafting happens.  And a (hopefully) better draft starts to come together.  But you might be running out of ideas.  

Then, once you have a final draft, it's time to take a break and come back to it a bit later to proofread everything.  

After 40-some hours of living, thinking, breathing the one exam question and your answer, the only thing you want is to have the exam be ready to submit.

But then you catch a couple more typos and have to read it all over again, just to be sure.

Finally, you submit the exam.  Initial feeling:

But a few hours later, when you begin processing that you never have to think about that class again, your reaction changes.

When you realize that after you submit one short paper, you are officially done with law school exams FOREVER!

.....until the bar exam in July, that is. Whomp whomp.


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