Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Most people talk about the problem with grades only being based on one thing at the end of the semester is that it's too random, you can't compensate for one bad day, you have no second chances. I think the bigger problem is that it makes you run a race without giving you a chance to warm up. I mean, I haven't had to write something I don't particularly feel like writing since May. It's hard to work myself up to writing a paper about Family Law when I haven't had to exercise my academic muscles in a while. I should have done this weeks ago. We've had the questions since before Thanksgiving. We have to write two 7-8 page papers, picking two out of three questions offered. I still have plenty of time -- it's due at 4:30 on the 22nd, and the only other things I have are two 2-hour exams, on this Tuesday and one the following Monday, neither of which are the kinds of things with complicated concepts and case law and theory to puzzle through, so, regardless of how I end up doing on them, they're not the kinds of things that take days and days and days of studying. So I'm not in a race against time. But I'm having a tough time putting pen to paper -- well, finger to keys -- on this Family Law thing.

I've been taking baby steps. Yesterday I made a list of all of the materials we covered in the class and a one-sentence summary, so that I could have a sense of everything we've looked at before I focused my attention on how I wanted to answer the questions. It also helped me come up with a general idea for my answer to question 1. Today, I chose the cases and statutes I'm going to focus on to answer the first question, re-read them with a pen and highlighter in hand to mark up the margins, and, in my head, I feel like I have enough to say to fill the 7-8 pages, and to do so with a decent answer. Now all I have to do is write it.

And, instead, I just watched all three episodes of Ivory Tower, a "soap opera" made by Harvard undergrads that I read an article about the other day in a Harvard newspaper. The script is not wonderful, but it's kind of neat to watch. Of course, compared to the Family Law paper, anything is kind of neat to watch. I did laundry. I spent a few hours studying for my Tuesday exam, not because I felt like I needed to start doing that yet, but just because it's actually fun in comparison to this Family Law stuff. I did a practice exam. I can handle Tuesday's test. I mean, with the curve I may or may not do well. But I have a decent handle on the material and it won't be too grueling.

This is why I like tests better than papers. At least with an in-class exam, you go, whether you're ready or not, do it, and then you're done. They don't linger like papers. Linger for days. And days. And days. And days. And days.