Final exams play on a law student’s world like some weirdly orbiting moon. They are always in sight; but while they’re at a distance, they serve merely to create the tensions which swell daily like tides – to read, to keep pace, to understand. As exams draw close, however, in December (and May), their gravitational forces starts to shake the whole place to pieces.
FYI, for those who don't know, the typical law school course has one final exam that determines your entire grade.
It is Monday morning, and when I walk into the central building I can feel my stomach clench. For the next five days I will assume that I am somewhat less intelligent than anyone around me. At most moments I’ll suspect that the privilege I enjoy was conferred as some kind of peculiar hoax. I will be certain that no matter what I do, I will not do it well enough; and when I fail, I know that I will burn with shame. By Friday my nerves will be so brittle from sleeplessness and pressure and intellectual fatigue that I will not be certain I can make it through the day. * * * I am distracted at most times and have difficulty keeping up a conversation, even with my wife. At random instants, I am likely to be stricken with acute feelings of panic, depression, indefinite need and the pep talks and irony I practice on myself only seem to make it worse.
I am a law student in my first year at the law, and there are many moments when I am simply a mess.
-- Scott Turow, ONE L
I am now in my second year. Arguably the hardest semester of the program, and while I do my best to maintian a certain amount of integrity grounded in my life outside of the law, the second to last sentence has rung especially true is days of late.