My name is Tom Peterson and I am a 1L originally from Seattle, WA and living in Lincoln, RI. I am a non-traditional student, attending Roger Williams School of Law after finishing a career and retiring from the U.S. Navy. I received my undergraduate degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in...
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... And To All A Goodnight.
It seems hard to believe but my first semester of law school is complete and Winter Break is upon us. It is great to have a couple of weeks off to relax, rest, and enjoy time with friends and family. Having two weeks off is a luxury that I haven’t had in almost 25 years, so I will definitely enjoy that.
The first semester flew by, and with my first set of Law School Finals in the rearview mirror, it is a good opportunity to reflect on tests in Law School.
Finals in law school are like no other experience I have ever had. Three hours to tell the professor what you learned (or didn’t learn) throughout the semester. Unlike undergraduate education, there aren’t really any graded exercises in most classes except for the final. There was a mid-term in one class and legal writing has a series of grades, but in three of the five classes everything came down to the final.
I can’t begin to tell you how nerve-wracking it is to have everything come down to a three hour challenge between you, your computer and an exam. The format for the most part is a “fact pattern” or a story that the professor has come up with to challenge your knowledge of a topic. In Criminal Law, who would have known that one person could get into so much trouble!?! The interesting thing that almost all of the professors told us was that there wasn’t really a right answer… as long as you look at the facts and analyze the information from both sides and support your conclusions, you are on the right track. To use an elementary mathematics analogy, show your work and how you got to the answer. Hmmm… so I am taking a final, that is all my grade, and there isn’t a right answer… great!
One last thing about finals, the tests are all taken anonymously so the professors don’t have any idea whose is whose, which I think is a blessing… that being said, if any of the Section A professors are reading this… be on the lookout for my anonymous number… oh, just kidding.
The best thing about finals is, that they are over and the faculty at Roger Williams did a great job getting us ready for the exams. It was a challenge but we were ready for it and all we can do now is wait for the grades. They won’t come out until mid-January or so, I guess I will enjoy the holiday even more this year.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you in 2014!