by Andrew ’16
The long awaited Thanksgiving break is only a week away! NUSL is literally buzzing with anticipation of the holiday. I know I am looking forward to my annual anniversary trip to Portland, Maine with my partner. I have heard others talk about plane and bus trips to scramble home for the long weekend, while others are making plans locally. Many conversations about the break revolve around the excitement of good food and even more focus on the opportunity to re-experience what law students miss the most…sleep. Some classmates have gone beyond the break and started to ponder next semester by speculating about which professors we will have for our doctrinal classes. However, at the forefront of almost all of our minds at this point in the semester are two things…outlining and finals.
This time of year is stressful at any school, but law school is notoriously merciless. For most, it is the one and only grade of the entire semester. The resulting pressure on performance is intense. Unfortunately, NUSL’s unique grading system does not remove the pressure. Letter grades or not, our ability to do well on exams is important to our success, and our evaluations will still reflect how well we have been able to apply what we have learned. As a result, our professors have made clear that we should be outlining, finding study groups, and taking practice tests in order to optimize our performance on exams. In that environment, you would think that we would all be flipping out…but we are not.
In spite of the heaviness, the NUSL community really shines at handling and abating the stress. Study groups are happening, outlines are being shared, and review sessions are rapid fire. In the hallways, I hear words of encouragement rather than doom. In class, professors are spending that extra few minutes to make sure that everyone understands the important concepts. Meanwhile, we all share tips on how to demystify covenants in Property class or navigate the labyrinth of Civil Procedure. As nice as the collaborative environment is, I would be lying if I said I was not nervous about exams. In fact, I have not been this tense since the LSAT. On the other hand, I am confident that I will be prepared when exam day comes and it is comforting to know that I am not in this alone. As a result, my stress level is lower and I can go into Thanksgiving break knowing I will be able to enjoy a little rest and a lot of turkey.