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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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Two Part Test

Posted by Hala Furst on 10/05/2008 at 12:00 AM

If the first year of law school is the frightening sprint down a dark and blind alley, the second year is a long, uphill slog, carrying baggage you didn’t even know you had. The job search, which at times can seem like an exciting look into all the possibilities that a law degree can offer, and other times seem to be an exercise in self-destruction, is incessant. The work load is intense, with the very dense subjects of Con Law and Evidence topping off whatever electives you have picked. The safe harbor of your section has been ripped asunder, as everyone goes about their days in a new, separate fashion.

And yet, it ain’t all bad. The 2Ls managed to spank the faculty on Friday night at the third annual Jeopardy match. Saturday morning I got to go on a 5 hour sail thanks to Professor Banks and her lovely family, who had auctioned off the activity at last year’s APIL Auction. And thanks to the things I learned last year and the stuff I’m learning this year, the arguments at the center of this Presidential Election are more nuanced and clear than they’ve ever been before. This is the year when you learn to take pleasure in the little things. I know last year I wrote about little victories, but I don’t think I appreciated at the time what massive victories they were. The learning curve in the first year is Everest-steep. The living, breathing, chipping-away-at-it curve in the second year is asymptotic. You have to learn to appreciate every day as its own little set of bookends. Did you accomplish everything you needed to for the week? No. But you accomplished everything you needed to for the hour, hour by hour, and that will have to be enough. Second year is about setting expectations that are possible, and not berating yourself when you fail to consistently exceed them. Sometimes even meeting the day to day necessities in law school is a feat of super-human proportions.

But on the other hand, I’ve started writing again, and taking time to reflect. I’ve started imagining, even more than a year and a half away, what my life will look like after law school. Now that I can get my head above the books, now that I’ve been asked to look at the finish line in a practical sense, I realize that it can’t just be about right now. It has to be about what happens after right now. There has to be a reason you’re working this hard, and sometimes that reason isn’t so clear. So I employ a two-part test, a model that we have all come to know and love from judicial opinions. First I assess my success in the immediate. Then I look at how that success or lack of success will affect me long term. From the combination, I determine the consequences. It’s not eloquent or particularly interesting, but I find it helps me.