Leaving Thanksgiving break behind and driving back to school this weekend, I started to think of all the things I had to do when I got back to my apartment. Grocery store, Walgreens, unpack, put all the food I stole from my parents in the fridge, clean up, and of course all the homework I didn’t do while I was gone. I started to get that nagging feeling that I was forgetting something. Then I remembered. Finals. They’re upon us. They’re starting next week, actually. And that realization took me by surprise, somehow.
Don’t get me wrong, I knew finals were coming up. I put my specific final exam dates and times in my planner months ago. I made a very ambitious, well-intentioned to-do list for Thanksgiving break, all of it pertaining to finals. How much of that list was accomplished is another story — but that was expected. Not desired, but I knew the list was exceedingly optimistic and lacking realism. It always is. But it doesn’t make things any easier.
We all know law school finals are nothing like undergrad finals. There is no “when in doubt, pick C” option. The acronym for FINALS (F— I Never Actually Learned This S—) we all joked about in undergrad has multiplied by a billion in law school. The myriad of things you don’t know, won’t know, can’t ever know, never seems to end when it comes to the final exam. Making it to the right room at the right time on the right day for the exam is half the battle, with extra credit for putting the correct date on the exam and staying conscious long enough to get home and back to your bed afterward.
Spending the week before finals putting together outlines, attempting to learn the material, and catching up on all the homework I didn’t do for whatever reason during the semester isn’t exactly a new thing, nor is feeling like I’m so far behind I’ll never catch up. It probably isn’t uncommon for most law students, except the exceedingly ambitious, gun-so-hard kids that started outlining over Labor Day Weekend.
This year I have three take home finals and two in-class finals. I don’t want to hear what you’re thinking — “oh you’re so lucky!” and the “everyone cheats on those things anyway” and the “at least you don’t have to worry about back to back finals with take homes”. Two of those things are due before finals start and the other isn’t released until then. So during the time that I should could have been learning material for my actual sit down finals, I’ve been scrambling to find the time, energy, and motivation to do the other finals. And failing miserably. What’s new?
I know, I know, I’m being very “woe is me” and you’re all playing the world’s smallest violin for me while I whine. Someone hand me my pacifier Diet Coke. Welcome to law school. Welcome to law students. Welcome to finals. We’re all like this, and the only ones who don’t think this applies to them are in denial. Someone, somewhere, is dealing with your constant complains about studying, not having enough time, tiredness, whatever. If you think you aren’t like this, you are the Friend Nobody Likes (possibly in more ways than one).
The only good thing about this impending doom is that you can use finals as an excuse for all kinds of things: exhaustion, whining, referencing Dane Cook. So good luck to you, and good luck getting through it.
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