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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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Last Full Measure

Posted by Hala Furst on 04/13/2008 at 12:00 AM

That might be an overstatement (especially since it was penned in memory of people who had given their lives for this country), but it is the final push before finals. If last semester was all about learning to stay above water, this semester was about swimming for shore, and rapidly. I haven’t been studying as hard as I did last semester because, like everyone in the first year, I’ve been hustling, hustling for summer placements, jobs, internships, classes for the summer and next year, and figuring out which way we want our careers to go over the next two years. We’ve been attending lectures, symposia, roundtables, and some of us have been arranging summer assistantships, or like me, making arrangements to study abroad in London and Lisbon, through programs offered by Roger Williams. This semester has been more like real life: we have all the studying of last semester, but now the other demands are increasing exponentially, and time management has become of the utmost importance. Not studying as much this semester has made me nervous, mostly because I don’t trust myself. Instead of thinking, “hey, I get this stuff, I must be improving”, I think “hey, i get this stuff, I must be missing something”. But that is a common fear in law school- when everything is new, you aren’t sure whether the first semester grades (good or bad) were a fluke or actually representative of your abilities. Regardless of how you did the first time around, this second semester has brought new teachers, new material, and new crisis of confidence. And yet, we all will be able to go into the second round of exams knowing we survived it the first time, and we’ll survive it this time as well.

I will say one thing, this semester had flown by. I thought last semester would never end, and now I’m praying for just a little bit of a lag in the passage of time until finals. I’m so excited for this summer I can barely contain myself ( i literally had to stop reading a travel guide yesterday because I had the uncontrollable urge to dance around the Brown Bookstore- and that’s just not appropriate). But before I get to summer, i have to finish up here, and for a variety of reasons I’m nervous. For one, the exams are a bear, and exhausting, but that’s not the big thing. For me, this has been one of the best years of my life. At the risk of sounding cliche, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve had a lot of beer and free pizza. I’ve met amazing people, and I’m excited about continuing to deepen those relationships, and looking forward to creating new ones. Law school teaches you a lot about the law, of course, but it teaches you a lot about yourself, the way you see the world, and the way you see yourself. It teaches you about human nature and behavior, about our government and our history, and about what it means to be a citizen. You only get one 1L year, and while for a lot of reasons many of us will be happy to look at it from our rearview mirror, there is a certain sadness about knowing that the journey of discovery is about to change. We’ll look forward with a wiser and more skeptical perspective. We’ll be less trusting, maybe, but also less easily surprised and flustered. We’ll gratefully get rid of our casebooks, but our shoulders will stay burdened with the things we’ve learned, and the challenges and duties that lie ahead. Committing to going forward in this path of study is committing to a way of life broadened by worldly knowledge, but also limited by a certain loss of innocence. There is a melancholy to the end of this year; I’m hoping the hot sun of Portugal will burn it away.