advice i wish i had/ had taken

  1. it is important to try and cultivate mentor-mentee relationships. class participation and asking questions can contribute to this end- anything that helps the prof remember you better. research paper classes also help, especially if they allow you to pursue your own topics and consult regularly with the prof on them. basically, anything that helps you get more face time. this is one of the reasons it can help to pick classes that you’re genuinely interested in, so there’s at least that baseline shared interest between you and the prof and you can demonstrate that interest by discussing new developments. it might also be easier to do this in a smaller class size. things to think about when picking mods!
  2. try and discover how you learn and process information as soon as possible. what study methods work best for you, what kind of examination methods you are best at. it just makes the process less painful all around. that being said, doing past year hypotheticals are always worth it. you have a better idea of how to structure your answers and the kinds of issues that the prof likes to ask about and how they tend to be interconnected.
  3. actively reflect on and record your learning and feelings about each experience, especially because you might have to discuss it in the future for interviews.
  4. ask for help when you need it. from anyone, even if you’re not close to them. so many of us survive much of law school on the grace of others- their notes, their time, their effort- to begrudge giving what we can to those who need it. just ask politely, without presumption, and it’ll be fine.

we are many

by Pablo Neruda

Of the many men whom I am, whom we are,
I cannot settle on a single one.
They are lost to me under the cover of clothing
They have departed for another city.

When everything seems to be set
to show me off as a man of intelligence,
the fool I keep concealed on my person
takes over my talk and occupies my mouth.

On other occasions, I am dozing in the midst
of people of some distinction,
and when I summon my courageous self,
a coward completely unknown to me
swaddles my poor skeleton
in a thousand tiny reservations.

When a stately home bursts into flames,
instead of the fireman I summon,
an arsonist bursts on the scene,
and he is I. There is nothing I can do.
What must I do to distinguish myself?
How can I put myself together?

All the books I read
lionize dazzling hero figures,
brimming with self-assurance.
I die with envy of them;
and, in films where bullets fly on the wind,
I am left in envy of the cowboys,
left admiring even the horses.

But when I call upon my DASHING BEING,
out comes the same OLD LAZY SELF,
and so I never know just WHO I AM,
nor how many I am, nor WHO WE WILL BE BEING.
I would like to be able to touch a bell
and call up my real self, the truly me,
because if I really need my proper self,
I must not allow myself to disappear.

While I am writing, I am far away;
and when I come back, I have already left.
I should like to see if the same thing happens
to other people as it does to me,
to see if as many people are as I am,
and if they seem the same way to themselves.
When this problem has been thoroughly explored,
I am going to school myself so well in things
that, when I try to explain my problems,
I shall speak, not of self, but of geography.