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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...

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Can You Call Them Finals When You Still Have Another Year Left?

Posted by Hala Furst on 05/03/2009 at 12:00 AM

Answer: sigh.... unfortunately, yes.

It’s that time of year again, kiddies, and once again I’m fighting the urge to run down to the patio at Aidans, enjoy the beautiful weather in the East Bay, and pretend that I didn’t decide to come to law school. Some days I wake up, look around, and ask myself why the heck I decided to spend my mid-twenties slaving away in front of a computer, prisoner to my own need for perfection.

But then the next day comes, and some exciting opportunity like visiting the SCOTUS, or externing at the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, or working this summer at the US Attorney’s office knocks on my door, and I’m reminded that it all is, indeed, worth it. Looking at the end of the second year of law school, I can hardly believe I’m a year away from graduation and being a no-kidding lawyer. The fact that someone would trust me with their legal problems or constitutional rights seems both frightening and foolhardy, but I know that a year from now I’ll be that much more prepared (right). Second year they do work you to death, but it isn’t the work, really. The work itself is immense, but not nearly as scary as it is in the first year. You’re more cynical in the second year, you know more of what to expect, and you know that most of what you read is the result of judicial ad-hockery, rather than any sort of high theory.  On top of that, you have all the added concerns that don’t trouble you in your first year, like finding the all-important summer job, figuring out which Bar exams you want to take, and figuring out what you want to be when you grow up. While I’ve grown a lot this year, and learned even more about myself and the law, after this 17 credit bear of a semester, I’ll be more than happy to see this year receding in my rear view mirror.

But the good news is that by this point in law school, finals seem more like an annoyance than an insurmountable hurdle. Which isn’t to say they aren’t just as hard and you don’t study just as much, but you’ve gained enough perspective to know that they aren’t the only measure of your understanding of the material- they’re really just a measure of how well you understand it on the particular day you take the exam. Which is really a soul-crushing thought in the immediate, and is somewhat reassuring in the long-term. The bottom line is, exams don’t have to define you, unless you let them.

So, I’ll see you on the other side of exams. Good luck to everyone!