Law in Contemporary Society

Grade Change to Pass/Fail

I'm curious to hear how you all have been affected by the grade change to credit/no-credit. How has it altered your stress/anxiety levels? Your approach to school work? Etc.

Personally (and perhaps obviously), I'm really relieved and feel an enormous weight lighted off my shoulders. However, I definitely feel less motivated and I'm finding it harder to pay attention in class--although that may be because I'm sitting in my parent's house and surrounded by my family (and a myriad of other distractions) as opposed to sitting in a classroom surrounded by students and professors.

-- JasonL - 24 Mar 2020

I haven’t figured out how I feel about my stress levels re: Pass/Fail.

I think I’m in the same boat as you are: there are many distractions due to being “back home” (speaking of law school being like high school…), and it’s definitely harder to remain disciplined. Being “in” law school definitely made it easier for me to avoid TV/movies/family dynamics/etc.

On the other hand, although I know that I have less to worry about (if only in terms of grades), part of me feels like I should be working even harder, out of fear of forgetting what it feels like to be a law student. I don’t want to come away from this semester and feel like I achieved less because I was allowed to perform to a blurrier standard. (Will I be able to say that I've "improved" at law school / taking law school exams?)

-- GershamJ - 24 Mar 2020

I never really worried much about grades save as a factor in getting the job upon which the endeavor was predicated - or at least the debt. Given everything that has happened in the last week and a half - or that has been forced into my personal experience - I feel as though I have yet to process what the grade change means. Larger in my field of view is the global pandemic, it's burning through the fabric of our society and others; the ravaging of an economy already stacked against the masses which I have no reason to believe will be less so after this passes. Indeed I feel certain it may very well be worse.

I agree with both your observations about being distracted, being in transition, and in my case at least struggling to find a new routine sitting in an apartment with new, additional responsibilities to immuno-compromised family, to partner, and cats (!) in addition to those of "merely law school."

I suppose the grades, in the end, don't really make much of a difference at all. But removing the barometer of success - even after only a semester of acclimating to it - does feel destabilizing. In short and in agreement with you: I don't know yet. What it has done is cast my eye to the fall semester and how I should structure that to the maximum desired effect of effective learning (trial advocacy and litigations and being a "good lawyer") and the aforementioned job... but then I wonder if there will be a fall semester.

It's a lethal curveball but in my experience sudden shifts like this, for all their fear and destabilization, may present opportunities for speedy changes in society one way or the other. The massive toll of human suffering, the devastation of a global economy for all but the insiders and the ultra-wealthy; national aid for small business and individuals will be too little too late for many; erosion of faith in the federal government. I've been asking myself more about how we can thrive in the post corona world as law students and then lawyers. Will society and politics be receptive to change after this? Tangential, but it's all part of my processing the immense changes - one of which is the grades.

Good luck to all of us.

-- LeslieRidings - 25 Mar 2020

I certainly agree with the sentiment put forth here. Grades seem like such a critical component of the law school experience (given the weight provided to them by potential employers), and yet they pale in comparison to the scope of the ongoing emergency. Despite living in New York, I feel fortunate that my life has yet to be drastically affected. Sure, I don't go outside that much, sometimes spending the entire day indoors, but that is a minor inconvenience compared to the experiences of some classmates and friends. I know multiple people who have family members with the virus, and one of my closest friends has just begun to recover from his (admittedly mild) case. I think the P/F grade change is the most fair way to level the playing field for students, many of whom have been or will be disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

-- NathanielPettit - 26 Mar 2020

I am really happy that the faculty listened to the concerns of students and made the grades P/F. Considering 40-70% of our will most likely get infected, even if we feel fine right now, there is no way to know how we will feel come finals. I think another stressor is the financial situation brought about by coronavirus. Both my parents own small businesses and are really beginning to feel the pressure of the virus on their businesses. Having P/F grades can give me a sense of certainty knowing that it is okay to study sometimes and to not at others, be able to enjoy the time I have with my family, and also feel free to pitch in to try to help them out. It's all very new and every day seems like a completely different scenario, so switching to P/F has eased a lot of the stress that I used to have about law school.

-- MonaMosavi - 27 Mar 2020

I think I generally feel the same as everyone else here. That said, the change in grading policy might present us with an opportunity. Based on the comments here, we all seem used to grades being our primary motivation to perform in law school. Perhaps we can consider other forms of motivation so that we can do well here.

-- JakeGlendenning - 27 Mar 2020



Webs Webs

r7 - 28 Mar 2020 - 21:38:17 - MatthewGoldstein
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform.
All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
All material marked as authored by Eben Moglen is available under the license terms CC-BY-SA version 4.
Syndicate this site RSSATOM