Saturday, May 05, 2007

Law School Hell

I'm fond of referring to the lesser moments of my law school experience as moments in law school hell. At no time is the characterization more deserved than exam time. I thought I might give you a glimpse into the dark side.

Here in law school land students take final exams seriously. With good reason as, more often than not, the exam is worth your entire class grade. Most exams are three hours in length and may be made up of essays or over 100 multiple choice questions or some combination of the two. I don't know if it's the pressure of competition, the stakes or just a general obsessive need for control, but something makes most students get excessively overprepared in every way for an exam.

Now three hours is a long test, but in life most of us can get through that period of time without extensive provisions. I suspect I've spent many 3 hour periods without food, drinks, gum, medication, ect. But 3 hours of law school exam time requires provisions on scale with a nuclear fall-out shelter. Almost everyone at least brings water, in addition to water many people bring a soda, juice or an energy drink. A surprisingly large amount of people bring food: granola bars, peeled fruit, candy, ect. The girl in front of me today had a sleeve of peanuts and a pack of lifesavers. As an additional mesure of preparedness she opened the lifesavers, unstuck them, and layed them out of paper before the exam began. Some people bring good luck charms such as saints or coins. Some people bring a bottle of an OTC pain reliever (or Prozac disguised as such.) Most people have an excessive number of writing untensils. I myself had three pencils, three pens and a highlighter for today's test. Don't ask me what I thought would happen to five writing utensils that I might need a sixth...I just don't know.

I usually bring a beverage to a test, but I don't bring food or charms. I do bring peppermint lip gloss. There are several reasons for this. 1) peppermint is supposed to stimulate your memory, 2) lip gloss application provides small intermittent breaks in test-taking, 3) it's clearly become a test ritual that I'm not willing to acknowledge.

So yeah exams clearly make us crazy...some more than others.

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