Law in Contemporary Society

MaryJeanWhitsell's Journal

I wanted to start journaling by answering some questions which you posed in class on Thursday, but which I have also been thinking about for the past few weeks.

The first is how does the non-grading policy affects me.

In answering this question, I had to try to separate many of my emotions and motivations since class moved online. At the beginning, it was very difficult to focus on school work with how much uncertainty and news was coming out. At any time, an email from the administration or update from The New York Times could come in, changing my life for the foreseeable future. Knowing that information like this could be announced imminently made it very challenging to focus on anything.

Over the past few weeks, I have become desensitized to these kinds of life-altering announcements. I’ll register news about updated death rates or estimated peaks without the same kind of emotional impact. Sometimes I notice myself even forgetting about the crisis going on around me – almost feeling like this quarantine where days and weeks blur together is some kind of dream.

Occasionally letting go of the crisis going on around me has allowed me to look inwards and focus on things within my control, such as my classes. I’ve noticed that since the change in grading policy I focus on the aspects of class that interest me and allow myself to disengage from other parts of class. I used to take notes on everything that a professor would say, then weeding them down to thoughts or themes that I believed professors thought were important or interesting. Now, I focus on the part of class that I find the most compelling.

In my first semester at law school, I learned to approach each class with the exam in mind. I taught myself to read, take notes, and ask questions with the purpose of putting that information towards a single fact pattern/policy question. Now, I have replaced this energy with thinking about how what I learn in class impacts me and why I think it is important, not in the context of an exam, but to society.

Although I’m approaching my materials with a different goal in mind, I wouldn’t say I’ve changed any of my behaviors significantly because of the non-grading policy. Class has been a welcome distraction and consistency in life – so I’d say that I actually try to maintain my efforts and conduct.

The second question that I wanted to address is why I am coming back in the fall.

I have never doubted that I want to return to law school in the fall. Although 1L has been anxiety-inducing and difficult, I have actually really enjoyed it. I find class very interesting and am excited when I speak with practicing lawyers about their careers. I’ve had a hard time making lasting friendships in the past but have made close connections with my fellow students at CLS.

The quarantine has taken away many of my favorite parts about law school, but it has also made me eager about returning in the fall (or whenever campus is opened up again). I look forward to meeting in class to discuss complex and interesting legal questions with some of the smartest people I’ve ever known soon.


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r1 - 08 Apr 2020 - 13:41:45 - MaryJeanWhitsell
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