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A Reflection on my First Year of Law School (Written on the Post-Exams Comedown)

Man in a suit lying on the grass

It's 2am. As I'm writing this post I'm sipping whisky and eating ice cream. The caffeine of the past month has worn off and consequently been replaced by a nauseating but consistent throb. So given that a decent sleep pattern is yet to be established, here are a few thoughts on my first year of law school…

Was it as hard as everyone says?

Yes and no (or, as we say in law, 'it depends'). There were some weeks where I thought that I might die (see: SWOTVAC) and others, where I seemed to be cruising along just okay (see: mostly the first half of every semester). Assignments require a lot of research and you will either learn to love or hate the AGLC (I personally fall into the latter category). When it comes to organisation and not leaving things to the last minute, most of your cohort will probably be in the same boat as you. As I always tell myself: if everyone’s stressed, no-one’s stressed.

Did I do all my readings?

No. Should I have done so? Ah, yes. Absolutely yes. But sometimes, other things (eg. life) get in the way. So I would say do your readings or you will not be sleeping soundly when exams come. In the alternative, make sure you have a good lecturer (with concise slides/notes) who can explain those key concepts without you having to trawl through textbooks.

Should I moot or do other poshly named law competitions?

Yes! Absolutely. These competitions are your chance to learn important legal skills and make mistakes without dragging down your WAM or GPA (unless you’re doing them as an elective unit). They also give you a taste of taking a ‘client’ through their legal matter from start to finish. There is nothing as satisfying as knowing that your Mrs. X or Mr. Y would be jumping for joy at the result you have achieved.

As for the sleepless nights that come with moot: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Not to mention the bond you’ll form with your team mates as you share moments of triumph or sheer terror, as demonstrated by one of my own moot team members:

“Do you have an authority for that?”

“Not a hell of a lot Your Honour.”

Is everyone at law school super-ridiculously smart/nerdy/high achieving/etc?

If you have made it to law school, then you are a part of this cohort. Unsurprisingly, your law friends are human too. No one exists in some separate elitist law school bubble. So far the friends I’ve made in law are quite possibly the most awesome bunch of people I've ever known. Let's just say coffee dates with ten or more law students will always make for some interesting, fast paced and entertaining conversation. Just make sure you have authority to back up your opinion...

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