Wabash Blogs The Graduate

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Jesse James '08

Here’re three words for you. One is a name. One is a thing. One is a theory. Helen Palsgraf. F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Promissory Estoppel. Don’t look like much do they? Four months ago I would have given them an aberrant glance and wondered what in the hell they mean.

I’m certain that at least a few readers of this post know where I’m coming from and where I’m going with this. If you are of that class of persons then what I write may bring a sense of nostalgia (either that or a purposeful avoidance of your memories). If you find yourself wondering what if any connection that name, that thing, and that theory have in common, please, allow me to explain.

Back in July I wrote a post about my “future” plans. At that time, I had just returned from a warm, clement-weathered vacation down South. It was nice. It was relaxing. Now, here in December, my future plans are now the past. Warm and sunny aren’t exactly in the 10-day.

I arrived to my parent’s home just today. For the last month my schedule has been crammed and cramped with a litany of readings and reviews. Since just before the Thanksgiving holiday, I found myself returning to material that I discussed just a few months before. Most –if not a sweeping majority – of the review material seemed frighteningly new, and it came from a range of sources. Most came from my closest and newest friends – my notes and my casebooks. I saw the comments and notations and the words looked like I had written them. Surely, I had read this stuff before.

After a near-month at reading and re-reading it turns out it wasn’t new material. Fortunately, I recalled the stuff as quickly as I had apparently forgotten about it. My truncated chicken scratch prevailed.

As a prize for my diligence I spent a total of thirteen and three-fourths of an hour typing my fingers off. What did I type about? Well, that name, that thing, and that theory appeared at least once each. Helen made her way through analogy in my Torts exam. I gave 12(b)(6) a home in my Civil Procedure exam. Promissory estoppel can be found in questions 2 and 3 of my Contracts exam. Let’s hope I added them at the appropriate times. I’ll found out in latter January.

I never had a problem with any exams administered to my while a student at WC. I grunted and moaned I’m sure, but in all honesty I never really had a fundamental distaste for them. Call it an albatross, if you want, or a mixed blessing to quasi-enjoy exams and essays. The past two weeks have made me appreciate them (now, that I never had). A Wabash guy might not be overzealous to cram out his C&T exam or write his butt off for a three-hour brain fest. However, the time spent on those exams is beginning to manifest into benefit. Coupled with the lengthy reading assignments, the exams of my undergraduate days have helped me better cope with law school. In fact, they seem to have ridden me of a ‘shock and awe’ that many of my classmates experienced. Strike one up for the liberal arts.

I had been told that one of the best ways to navigate law school is by keeping up. I was told to keep with the readings, the lectures, and the supplemental stuff. I did, and it was not overly overwhelming. I kept up at while at Wabash, and I feel that has really played a role in my enjoyment of these last few months. I’m enjoying the material (save a 12(b)(6) request and Atlantic Bell v. Twombly); I enjoy being a Bloomington resident; and I enjoy the company of my classmates. I’ve found a great cast of legal comrades who are as dorky and dynamic as I am, and I am fortunate to have my best friend in Bloomington. Yes, things have gone well this first semester (the spring semester starts off with grades; I’m not making any bets or projections).

I wouldn’t feel right ending this post without proffering up at least some advice. I don’t really care if you enjoy taking exams or if you dread them like having teeth pulled (there are kinky people in this world, so we’ll go with the normal view on having teeth pulled). I don’t really care if you gripe about studying for your comps. I took them. My friends took them. It happens when you’re Wabashian.

What I do care about is that you give them your best effort. If you plan, even remotely, to attend law school do your future self a favor and put in the time. Read. Analyze. Repeat. Keep up with the readings. I’m not saying that Wabash curricula are the emblazoned pass through law school. They aren’t. However, they help, and from my experience in a rather substantial way. The first semester of law school is an awesome experience. Allow yourself to enjoy it a little more by applying yourself as an undergraduate. Every little bit helps.

Okay, there’s my motivational. Now, time to go back to my van down by the river (there’s a generation determinant comment for ya).

Merry Christmas!