My name is Hala Furst, and I am a 3L. Before coming to Roger Williams I received a BA in Theatre Arts at the University of Minnesota. In the three years between graduating from college and arriving here in Bristol, RI, I worked as a hotel concierge for a luxury brand, a loan officer and mortgage...
Exams are approaching, and it ain’t pretty, folks. We just got back from 5 days off for Thanksgiving, and returned to the last week of class and the impending exams. We’ve had memos and midterms and socratic method attacks, but still, the big Fs are looming (F is for Final, not, I hope, any of my grades). There is a buzz about the school, one that can only be described as high energy fear. Remember in college when professors spent the last couple of weeks in review mode, helping you prepare for their finals? Yeah, that doesn’t happen in law school. I have new assignments though the last day of class, which means it very well may be on the exam. So you are going full bore until the final class, and then you jump right into the undiscovered country of exam prep. Here I will make a confession: I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Sure, there are strategies and practice tests and outlines and study groups and study aids all designed to make sure that what you are looking at on exam day doesn’t look unfamiliar. But even with all that help (and I have been taking it), the exams are still unknown, and they are unlike anything we have encountered before. So all you can do is overprepare, and hope for the best.
Right now I’m trying to focus on what I do know. It can be daunting what you think you don’t know, but you have to remember that you have learned quite a bit in the last 3 and half months. I am comfortable with legal language, I can brief a case, I can write a legal memo, and I can tell you what the elements of certain crimes and torts are. That is more than a lot of people. It may not seem like much, looking at it from this side of the semester, but you have to think about how we all felt walking into school the first day, or while reading our first case. When I read my first case it took me 3 or 4 hours. Now, I can knock most cases out in 15 minutes to a half hour, depending on how in depth I need to be. The point is, there is a learning curve as much as there is a grading curve, an you can choose to obsess about the latter and ignore the former, or take pride in your acquisition of knowledge. I choose the second option, because I know that walking into those exams I’m going to need every ounce of courage and confidence that I have to make it out alive, not to mention satisfied with my performance.
So, while I’m not looking forward to my exams, I know that I’ve been through harder things in life. This is for me, and for my future. I am competing against myself and my own personal best. When I walk into that room to take those exams, there is going to be nothing but me and my brain to carry me through, and the same is true for all of my peers. We are all going through it together, but ultimately we are alone, with only our skills and talents to help us succeed. It is both scary and empowering. I’ll see you after finals.