GUEST BLOG by Harrison Thorne,
2L at UCLA School of Law
A lot has happened over this past year.
I transferred to UCLA Law. I became a managing editor of a secondary journal. I also became an articles editor of another journal. I then became the Editor-in-Chief of that journal. I took difficult courses, including business bankruptcy and evidence. I excelled in bankruptcy, and competed in a moot court type bankruptcy competition, and externed part time for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
But most importantly, I learned a lot. I learned that hard work is absolutely essential.
I learned that working around the clock is sometimes unavoidable. I learned that when a deadline is approaching, sometimes an “all-nighter” is necessary. I learned that when I want something, I have to be willing to do whatever it takes to reach the goal.
But I also learned that working hard is not necessarily the same as working smart.
For instance, there is no point in reinventing the wheel when it comes to creating outlines or learning complex material. Many schools have some form of outline bank. Or, students from past classes will give their old outlines to students who politely ask. Why spend hours trying to figure out how the pieces of a topic fit together when you could create your outline using somebody else’s as a guideline? I cannot imagine how much time I saved using past course outlines and BARBRI outlines to create a master outline for myself. And, in turn, I will pass my outlines onto anybody who asks.
I also learned that keeping up with hobbies, interests, family, and friends is absolutely essential.
I am lucky enough to have a very supportive network of friends, a great family, and an amazing girlfriend. I also like to read (I just read all three books by Gillian Flynn—the author of Gone Girl, and I’m about to start a more serious book by the economist John Meynard Keynes!). And when I feel antsy, I go to the gym. Maintaining these interests and relationships has allowed me to stay sane, and, paradoxically, work harder. Many students think that if they “waste” time pursuing anything other than studying, they will fall behind. That’s not the case.
If I could do the year over, I would change a few things, though. I would have been more focused on prioritizing and scheduling. Sometimes I spend too much time on a reading assignment and have to make up other assignments by eating into my personal time. I would have gotten more sleep. A lot of nights when I am ready to go to bed I innocently check what is on television and end up staying awake until 2am. I would have networked more. I definitely did my share, but there is never too much.
Overall, however, I am beyond thrilled with the past year. I went from a nervous 1L, to a strong student at a top law school. I developed strong connections with peers and professors. I secured a top leadership position on a law journal. And most importantly, I had fun while remaining true to who I really am.
If anybody reading this article has questions about anything I have said throughout the past year, or just wants to discuss some things, please feel free to reach out to me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading, and I will be back next year!!!