So if you are anything like me, you are probably surprised that summer exam time is upon us. I imagine that many of you who are a. not law students or b. not night students are not familiar with summer classes, least of all summer law school classes.
In college there were always a group of friends of mine who would stay in lancaster and live rent free at the frat house and take summer classes along with the rest of the slackers (most importantly to those guys- female lushes who didn't get summer jobs). It seems like every year I asked my mom if I could take summer classes, but every year she denied me the funding and I went home to work a glamorous summer job such as working in an aluminum foundry- experiences that have made me the man I am today. From what I gathered the summer classes these guys took were a pretty big joke. I am basing this on the fact that this is almost an exact quote from my friend Fonz who stayed one or two summers: "Summer classes are a !@#%ing joke mang." *
(*He may have used the word "Dawg" instead of "Mang")
So essentially people seem to have the perception that summer classes are basically a huge joke and a chance for easy grades, which tragically is not completely the case with law school. The key advantage to summer classes is that they cover a lot of material in a very short period of time so there is far less time to forget information, which is a positive thing is you are someone like me who relies heavily on memory and understanding as opposed to diligent note taking or outlining. The disadvantages of summer classes are numerous. First of all, mentally part of you has decided you are on vacation, no matter how hard you fight it. After finishing up with a full load of 4 or 5 or even 6 exams it's very hard to tell yourself you need to get right back into it again. Even after fall exams you have a christmas break followed by 4 or 5 months of class before the next barrage of exams. The situation is different with the summer classes because there is very little time and thus little margin for error in terms of slacking off for a week or two. Second, pretty much all summer school students are also working. For me it was an unpleasant reminder of what first year was like trying to work and go to school at the same time. Even though the overlap between my internship and classes has been less than a month so far, it has nonetheless meant a busier schedule that I enjoy. If nothing else I have renewed respect for people like Matt who manage to keep performing in this type of situation. Personally, I find the situation more difficult to manage. I would rather stay at school from 8 or 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. or later every day than work 8 hours and then fight traffic and spend three hours or so at aschool until 9...call me wimpy if you'd like.
The final difference between summer exam time and spring or fall exam time is (as you might expect with me) the question of motivation. Every semester I have a strong feeling of just "Wanting it to be over," but generally that feeling masks a stronger desire to actually do well. Summer exams are like the 6 miles or so after "The Wall" at mile 20 of a marathon, my greatest concern is finishing without serious injury.