Wednesday, February 5, 2014

On Being Prepared

By Marlee, 1L

While preparation is not always fun, most law students have mastered the art of preparation. Whether preparing to study for a test, researching for a memo, reading for class, and, recently, preparing for summer jobs and interviews, we are all experienced in preparing so we can be the best we can be. Each of us have our personal routines, special “study habits”, and preparation tactics. For instance, I need Vitamin-String Quartet songs playing in the background, a venti iced-coffee from Starbucks, and chewy candy [preferably Hi-Chews]. Preparation helps us build confidence and “get in the zone”. However, the scary reality is preparation is not always enough. It’s these moments, when events occur that exceed our preparation, that we are put to the test.

I was sitting in class [thirty minutes early of course] waiting to begin my first law school exam. It was the longest exam out of all my finals and it was my whole grade, if I were to say I was nervous that would be a very large understatement. But I was able to shake my nerves because I knew I was prepared. I felt ready as ever to tackle that first exam. I was overly equipped with anything and everything the proctors would actually allow me to bring into the testing room. After the proctor went through the usual pre-testing formalities we were finally able to begin. I opened up the dreaded software application and my heart just sank. Somehow Softest sent a blank essay in as my test. I began panicking, I was sweating, spinning, and in no way ready for that to happen. All of my preparation DID NOT prepare me for this!!! I was not supposed to have a Softest malfunction in my first law school exam, that was just completely out of the realm of things I could prepare for. While it felt like I was panicking for at least an hour, I collected my thoughts, notified the proctor, got a blue book, and hand wrote my test. 

Two and a half hours later I finished my first law school final, but I wasn’t relieved. I was beyond frustrated. I was thrown a curveball and all the hours I had spent preparing could not have helped me one bit. However, reflecting on that moment I learned a very valuable lesson. Life is far from predictable, especially in the profession we all want to go into. The law, working with people, and dealing with day-to-day issues are not always going to pan out the way we expect them to. Life is completely unpredictable and we are all going to be constantly thrown curveballs. But these curveballs help us grow as individuals, and more importantly than preparing, it is vital that we learn how to adapt to the unexpected. I don’t know if I did as well as I could have done had my computer worked, I could have done the exact same, or maybe I did better, I will never know. However, I do know that I tried my absolute best given the circumstances. As I continue on this “guided tour through...” as Professor Hull would say, I learn more and more beyond the books than I originally expected. I have learned that life is not always going to go as planned and in those moments it is important to continue on and persevere and not be distracted by things going off course. 

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