Sam Edandison, a 1L at the University of Michigan Law School, talks about Michigan's collegiality, the curve, and 1L lessons learned.
What do you like most about law school?
I like the people here at Michigan. People here are very collegial and friendly. Perhaps it is because it is a Midwestern school. The law school has a welcoming aura to it. Of course, everyone wants to do well, but there's none of this outward competition. Most of the competition is within. I made a lot of great friends and that really helps with liking a school.
What do you dislike the most about law school?
I dislike the curve grading. I don't think anyone here is a slacker. Almost everyone works hard, and it's tough to see someone who works hard not have anything to show for it.
What aspect of the academic work do you find most challenging?
Law school is not that tough. The material is pretty easy if you put in the time. The time, however, is what I find most challenging. There are many other things to do and to get involved in. However, you cannot do those things at the expense of your school work. Deeply understanding the material takes time, and it's challenging to find the time and be social as well.
Do you brief cases?
No. Briefing cases is a waste of time. All that matters at the end is the holding and how you apply it in a scenario you haven't seen before.
What was the biggest adjustment you had to make?
The biggest adjustment is finding a work-life balance. I worked beforehand, and when I was working, I knew from 9-6, I'll be at work and after work, I'll have the time to do whatever I want. However, in law school, it's tough to [...] separate life and work. I can go take a nap during the day, but that means, I'll stay up late reading. Work-life balance in law school is more flexible than in the real world, but that flexibility can also be a bad thing.
Is there a study tactic or method you find most helpful?
A weekly review is really helpful. You can sit back and see the bigger picture of where the class is heading. It also reinforces what you learned beforehand.
If you could do 1L first semester differently, what would you do?
I would do more practice tests and start doing practice tests early. I can't stress enough how important practice testing is. It makes a big difference. With practice testing, you are actually practicing what matters. Of course, class and the intellectual aspect of law school matters. But in the end, you get a grade. And that grade is all centered on one test. It's best to concentrate on the that test.
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