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  • Writer's pictureSurvive Law

Surviving my First Semester of Law... Sort of.

Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed film

As a first year, I spend most of my time at uni feeling extremely confused. How does the library work? Why are my classes scattered all across campus? Why are all the cute guys I see never in any of my classes? WHAT IS FOUNDATIONS OF LAW?

It’s been about eleven weeks, and I’m still not entirely sure what I’m doing. On one hand, it’s repeatedly stressed to us that we’re learning the basics, that we’re not going too fast, and that we’re learning the essential skills and concepts needed for later on. Except then it’s assumed we know how to write a legal memo in an appropriate tone for addressing a principal at a law firm. Or that after one lesson on briefing a case, we can easily locate the ratio. Or that we can propose legal remedies for complex legal issues.

Looking at my future subjects and considering what I’ve heard about them (particularly Constitutional Law) just makes me even more nervous. Not to mention when my tutor tells us that if we learn how to read properly, we will all be High Court judges. That honestly made me worried that I had terrible comprehension skills and that I would surely fail law. So much so that I actually did all my readings that week. I read them twice and highlighted important areas. Then I worried that I thought that too little was important, so I highlighted some more. Then every page became very yellow.

But what about the social life of a first-year law student? I was kind of worried coming in that pretty much everyone would be massive douchebags, they’d be extremely pretentious and that they’d be constantly drinking. I am so glad to say that this is pretty much not true (except maybe the drinking part). I’m eternally glad I went to law camp, because I got to meet people, make some friends, confirm my suspicion that I was very quickly being labelled as “the nerdy girl who answers questions all the time”, and identify the tools and jerks who unfortunately help propagate the myth about law students. I’ve stayed well away from them.

At the same time, however, I’m already falling into behaviour that I thought only existed in memes. Very, very few of my friends don’t study law. I’ve started making terrible legal jokes and using language that only appears in cases and legislation. My high school friends (none of whom study law) are already complaining that I have to leave early to do an assignment. And, worst of all, I find myself somehow slipping in that I study law in every other conversation.

Despite being very confused about the course, very anxious about the expectations, and very concerned about my behaviour, I feel pretty great about my first semester of law. Especially when I hear about my friends who do science subjects and have to go to uni everyday. Then I look at my stack of readings and I cry and drink another cup of coffee.

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