LSAT Kung Fu Blog / Week 5: Get Organized
Week 5: Get Organized
[Ed. note: As you read the following, bear in mind that the author's position has changed]
Holy mother of actual god, you guys. Just, really. [Long exhale. That’s better].
So, here’s what I’m thinking about after week five: being organized is maybe (possibly; not for sure, but it’s def. way up there) the most important skill for your success as a 1L.
And I am not by nature an organized person. I mean, I love the look of a tidy workspace (or at least I do in theory. In practice, I’ve never owned such a thing. There’s papers all over the place in my office (and I run a nearly completely paper-free workplace! Where did it all come from?!), and my woodworking bench is a humiliating pile of implements I just don’t have the exact place for (though, in fairness, if I had the time to do as much woodworking as I'd like to (t.w.s.s.!) I would do better in that regard), and as I type this at “my” carrel in the library at my school, there are: two bottles (water and Diet Coke. Alas, no rum); a pair of headphones; a syllabus notebook (most professors gave us paper syllabi); keys; a satchel; and a random empty key ring (which, again, in all fairness, is part of an attempt at increased orderliness on my part) just strewn about all willy-nilly. P.S. that long-awaited close parenthesis is on its way in 3…2…1…), but my nature is to let things slide. I like to say it’s because I’m a big-picture kind of guy. A less generous accounting would call me slovenly.
I have made adjustments. I have adapted, learned, grown, etc. I’m a better man! I AM ORGANIZED.
And it makes all the difference.
So far, law school is like if somebody put a reasonably powerful room fan in front of you, pointed it at you, set it on high, and started dropping ping pong balls in front of it so they were lofted toward you while the breeze lifted your perfectly coiffed updo, and expected you to catch them all and then put them into a bucket.
Can you imagine it? If you’ve got a good picture in your head, then you’ll probably notice the salient feature: If you don’t know exactly what you’re about, you can very easily get irreparably behind, to the point where you just drop the balls and try starting over for a clean slate (but now you’ve got bells on the ground instead of in the bucket).
So, in this simile, you are you, the balls are knowledge, the bucket is your brain (Yes, I know. This isn’t the best simile ever. But can you JUST BE COOL ABOUT IT, OK?), the fan is the swirl of daily life and commitments (including attending classes), and the person throwing the balls at you is all of your professors.
If you don’t develop some kind of system for catching the ping pong balls, you’re going to have a nervous breakdown (in this simile, the ping pong balls are VERY important to you).
That’s because of the incredible volume of work. I’m not trying to scare you. It’s not too much. It’s not more than you can do, and you really won’t find keeping up impossible to do if you treat the thing like a full-time job. Fifty hours a week, probably.
But that all only works (for most people) if you have some method to keep your shit together. Here, let’s put some facts on it to help complete the picture. So far in my 1L year, the typical workload for one week is about 180 pages of reading, plus writing 5,000-ish words worth of case briefing (for me, anyway. I write SUPER-short briefs. I may discuss briefing some more in a future post. I definitely will if you ask me to), plus maybe 3,000 words of memos/complaint drafts/etc. So, you get the picture? The ping pong balls were more fun to think about, right?
To keep my shit straight, I use a calendar app that’s on all my devices, and a todo list (also on all devices), and I transfer information from my paper syllabi every day, trying to keep at least one day ahead on due dates.
I had friends over for dinner last night (because you HAVE TO carve out some space for normal life or you will find yourself stalking through the halls slobbering and gibbering, seeing res ipsa lurking around every corner*) and we talked a little about this subject, and he agreed with me so I figured that’s enough to warrant writing about, and here we are.
Or were. Looking at my todo list, I see that I’ve got some reading to do. See you next week!
Questions? Comments? Complaints? Post them below, or shoot me an email.
Be good to one another, for we need it now more than maybe ever,
P.S. Looking for a smoking hot Velocity LSAT discount code? Use this code: DHALL10 at checkout to get 10% off your enrollment in any course! That code will work for the remainder of 2017.
*That last bit was a law school joke. Hilarious, right? Yeah, I don’t know why I included it either.