Tuesday, January 09, 2007

if grades equal identity, i'm a gentleman

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Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Grades came out today. I don't really know how to talk about my unbelievably mediocre performance, other than to say that I am clearly not the only person demanding answers from Google right now. The web is full of comforting voices trying to reassure the desperate and suicidal that indeed, plenty of people get Cs their first term and go on to get stellar grades and great jobs afterwards. I am trying to listen to them and refrain from what I really want to do right now, which is withdraw from next semester, cash in my entire TIAA-CREF retirement account, and try something else.

If I hadn't worked so hard last semester I wouldn't be so devastated--after all, you know when you didn't go that extra mile and you should have, and when you get your grades, you say, yeah, I really didn't work as hard as I should have in this one particular way. But the truth is, I did go that extra mile. My problem is efficiency. I worked hard, studied hard, outlined, read supplements, and sucked at taking the actual exams. Sucked hard, apparently.


I have no idea. I suspect some of it has to do with my inability to touch type and my slow, plodding insistence on full sentences. Maybe I should have hand-written the exams. I have talked to at least one 3L who tried this after her bad first semester grades, and subsequently did much better on exams.

I've already been on the phone to my school and made an appointment for the first day of classes to talk to a career counselor. The secretary and I joked about making an appointment for my "friend" who needed academic help. Ha ha.

"Law school," a fellow student in my section is fond of saying, "when your best just isn't good enough." She gets called on all the time and often appears to be asleep. I bet even she did better than I did.

Then I found Harry Blackmun's law school grades on "too much about nothing," and it comforted me. Granted, Blackmun still finished 120 out of 451 at Harvard, but still, these babies make a gentleman girl failure like me feel a teensie bit better.

Harry Blackmun's Law School grades, courtesy of Too Much About Nothing:

Year One:

Civil Procedure: B
Contracts: C
Criminal Law: C
Property I: D
Torts: C

Year Two:

Bills & Notes: C
Equity II: D
Evidence: C
Property II: A
Sales: C
Trusts: D

Year Three:

Conflict of Laws: C
Constitutional Law: C
Corporations: B
Property III: A
Public Utilities: B
Suretyship & Mortgage: B

So there you have it. It's a low bar and I'm certainly not at Harvard, but mostly, the only way to go is up. Cheers, Harry.


What Now? said...

Oh, Sfrajett, I'm so, so sorry. I know nothing about law school and thus have no satisfying platitudes to offer, but I can imagine that part of the difficulty is that this must be such a different way to interact with a subject than we're used to. Academics get to immerse themselves in a few subjects at a time and carefully craft original thoughts about those subjects, and neither of those conditions seems to be true of your law school experience. And it also must be hard to be a beginner at something again; we haven't experienced that in an awful long time, and it must take a great deal of getting used to.

Rats. Just ... rats.

Sfrajett said...

Hey Thanks WN. Your words of consolation help. I am feeling pretty down right now, but the consistency across the board in scores vs the amount of work I put in suggests I am doing something terribly wrong at the level of test-taking, so that's what I'll work on next. But it's hard to let go of old ways of thinking and writing, and it's nice to have someone else recognize that strengths can be handicaps sometimes. Because the inverse of that is handicaps are also really strengths, right? Or something like that.

Hilaire said...

Hey, Sfragett, I was going to write something along the lines of what WN wrote. I'm so sorry. But I'm glad that you clearly realize that it's just a question of techniques and strategies. Cause we all know how brilliant you are!

Sfrajett said...

I know one thing--I'm lucky to have such wonderful blogger friends. Thanks, H. It means a lot to me and cheers me up. Tomorrow is another day, right?

lucyrain said...

My best friend from high school went to law school after earning a BA in English Lit. Her first semester--year, really--were rather unpleasant. The way she tells it, she had to learn to think and write differently--way differently than she had been trained to (or, even what came 'naturally' to her) in her prior schooling.

Then she made law review. Then she graduated in the top 5% of her class. Then she was hired at a ridiculously large and prominent law firm in a major US city. Now she has her eye on a private practice.

I remember her saying that it's all about learning a new language. Not only learning new words, but embodying a different kind of logic. Truly learning a new language means thinking a different way.

If you want to pursue law, S, you'll settle into that new vocabulary and that new logic. That new language. I know you're able to do so.

Flavia said...

Hmm. I left a sympathetic comment here earlier today--but it seems to have disappeared.

Short version: the first year is really tough. And everyone says that those who do well in/enjoy law school dislike practicing, and vice versa--which means that you should be a brilliant practitioner!

But best wishes for semester #2. . .

DGUY said...

How about:


Roughly translates to a 2.5 on a 2.8-2.9 curve.

Pretty crappy for first semester grades. I go to an upper ranked T2 school and I'm devastated by my grades. However, I take solace in knowing that I have absolutely no aspirations for Big Law, which makes 1L grades less of a big deal.

Admittedly, my studying habits this quarter were terrible, and I'll work on that 1,000 fold. Anyway, my point is that there are plenty of people (and some with worse grades) there with ya. Hang in there. 5 more semesters left to go...