Mahira Siddiqui

Mid Life/Semester Crisis

I am a little over half way through the treacherous 1L semester. That in and of itself deserves a reward of some sort. Maybe for stamina? Maintaining my sanity? After crossing this half way mark and receiving my self-made award (I’ll go with sanity), I’ve acquired an almost zen-like feeling while reading in between the lines of my casebooks. Quite literally.

When I look back to August (which seems like ages ago) I have changed all my habits from day 1, week 1 and month 1 of law school. While it was important to go through this cumbersome process, it took ‘trial and error’ to a new level. In a way this realization reaffirmed my reasons for coming to law school.

Everyday I am surrounded by a sea of overworked, malnourished and sleep deprived 1L students on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Once I started exhibiting these symptoms, namely the pending breakdown, I knew I needed a new prescription for this problem.

My new approach I share with you is 1) not to take on more than I can handle. It sounds fairly easy to implement this in a regimen but it’s even easier to overlook. We’ve all been told law school is a marathon, not a sprint. I have been asthmatic for a large portion of my life, so it only seems natural and logical that sprinting is not/never was for me.

Number 2, study smart. Another simple, all-too-often-overlooked concept. We are studying a vast amount of material, some archaic (read: boring) and some cases with immense verbosity than others (read: civil procedure Pennoyer v. Neff). Quality over quantity dictates a student’s grasp of the black letter law.

Finally third, stay away from negative energy. It’s contagious. It’s important to reevaluate the company we keep. Everyone has their own distinctive style, everyone has different paces for studying and everyone will in some way or another, inadvertently or not, try to mess up this flow. I have recently learned this and these preventative measures have already helped me plenty.

All in all, a thorough, calming mid life (I already feel as though law school has aged me)/semester reflection has allowed me to refocus and go into finals headstrong with these mantras.  I’ll let you know if that still stands after mid-December. Fingers crossed. Stay tuned.

1 Comments

alisonmonahan

Glad you’re finding your footing, and all of this is good advice.
I think time management is absolutely critical, since it’s the basis of a lot of the other stress in law school (feeling overwhelmed, falling behind, not having time for fun, etc.). Here are a few of my best tips, learned via the school of hard knocks!
http://thegirlsguidetolawschool.com/08/tips-three-awesome-techniques-for-time-management/
Best of luck the rest of the semester - sounds like you’re on the right track!

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