I was under the impression that the first year of law school is the hardest and then it became easier the second year. I was a little right, but more wrong, at least when it comes to my experience in the Evening Program at Loyola Law School. I’ll start with the good news which is that nothing compares to how hard it is to start law school, really having no idea what to expect or what a professor wants on an exam. Last year, I’m not too proud to admit that I bombed my first law school midterm ever in Contracts. I’m also not too humble to admit that I studied my butt off for the final exam and pulled it all together in a nice way—so know that’s possible to do. What’s easier about 2nd year is that the unknowns are out of the way. By 2nd year, you know what’s expected of you, how much time you really need to give your studies, and what a professor is going to want you to write on their exam.
What was I wrong about? That 2nd year would be easier course-wise. I’m finding that the workload in the first semester of 2nd year Evening is significantly more intense than that of last semester. Whereas last year I could take one weekend night off to go out with my friends, this semester is not like that. I have no social life this time around, and can’t have one. This isn’t the end of the world, however, as long as I keep telling myself the truth…that, “If I stick with this, it will all be worth it.” The end truly does justify the means here.
If you’re an Evening Program student, keep in mind that in the first semester of your second year, you’re mostly still working through the standard “core” curriculum of first year law students who are in the Day Program. Be mentally prepared to stick it out through another half-year before you get to choose a nice set of courses you’re really interested in, notwithstanding any built-in interest you may have for the core I just mentioned. Oh and be prepared to use words like “Whereas” and “Notwithstanding” like I just did in this blog entry, without even realizing it. Now that the lion’s share of my brain storage is filled with court opinions, I have no control over this behavior.