Fun in Law School and the Power of Checklists

Law school is nothing like I expected it to be; it is so much more. I came to Widener straight from undergrad, without taking any pre-law or law related courses. I thought law school would give me lists of statutes and codes to memorize. Instead, I’ve received an experience that has re-shaped my critical thinking and writing skills. By far the biggest surprise is how much fun I’m having in law school so far. I was told about the stress, the opportunities, and the heavy reading that I could expect as a law student. But no one ever told me that I was going to have so much fun. This could be because I’ve always been an academic at heart, or it could be because Widener Commonwealth is a truly unique and lovely place to study law.  

I was lucky enough to receive a real, physical tour of Widener before COVID shut everything down. From the moment I stepped on campus, I knew that Widener was special. It is small enough that professors and administrators know your name, but large enough to provide countless opportunities for experiential learning. Widener and I “clicked”, and I wake up every morning grateful to be a student here. If you are a prospective Widener student, I highly encourage you to reach out, schedule a tour, and get in touch with a student ambassador.  

I’d also like to pass on something I learned this year: the power of checklists. At the beginning of each semester, I find myself frustrated that I cannot see the whole “picture” at once. In law school, you work through each element of a crime, tort, or contract before coming to the big picture. This was such a dramatic shift for me from undergrad, where I felt like I had everything presented to me at once. Instead of trying to see the finish line, I had to force myself to slow down and enjoy the scenery along the way. As each element or concept comes along, put it into a list. This will help keep information organized and make outlining easier. When you finally do have the big picture towards the end of each semester, your list will become an invaluable study tool for final exams. Instead of having to piece together a semester’s worth of scattered information, you will have a beautiful checklist to aid you while writing. While you study and do practice exams, you can simply move down the checklist and let it guide your writing.  

No matter what class you’re writing a checklist for, don’t forget to keep in mind your own personal big picture.  Everyone has a reason for coming to law school. It’s important to keep your end goal in mind, but don’t forget to enjoy the scenery along the way.  

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