Deja Vu

Remember the memo my class got at the end of week one during our first year of law school?

Guess what I’m writing this weekend?

Another class memo…given by the same professor that gave us that first memo…again, given on the last day of the first week of classes.

Oh the irony…and don’t worry, I hope you’re laughing for me in this one, because I’m not finding it terribly funny at the moment. Maybe someday I’ll look back and laugh…

On the bright side, I’ve survived my first week of Practice Court!! So far, I’m still getting 8+ hours of sleep per night, I’ve worked out every day this week, and I’ve managed to keep a pretty positive outlook, minus yesterday afternoon, when I came home feeling rather grumpy. I’ve also managed to easily find three things to be thankful for each day! I consider that pretty decent compliance with the terms of my contract. 🙂

So, here’s a recap of the week:

My first impressions of our PC I professor have continued to prove true – I really, really like him. He does occasionally play dirty (such as blasting someone for not remembering something from a footnote in a 20+ page case), but overall, he’s very reasonable. Plus, he gives us a pep talk every day. For instance, on Thursday, he talked to us about mindsets, referencing “Mindset,” a book by Carol Dweck.

Basically, a fixed mindset person believes that intelligence cannot be changed. Thus, a fixed mindset person avoids risks, because he is afraid of being revealed as a failure. These people often feel as though they are imposters, and that someone will eventually find out that they “don’t belong” or that they’re on “idiot.”

On the other hand, a growth mindset person believes that his performance today does not define his performance tomorrow. These people are not afraid to fail, because they realize that a failure today is part of the process of achieving success tomorrow. What matters is not the outcome, but rather the work that went into the project.

So how does this tie into Practice Court? Our professor encouraged us to consciously seek to cultivate a growth mindset. We are all going to fail at some point or another during this quarter. Instead of beating ourselves up about it, we should pick up and learn from the mistake.

Pretty motivating, huh? I’m telling you, this guy is great! 🙂

I get the impression that he really cares about our success (in fact, he said so himself), and that, despite pushing us hard, he’s not unreasonable. For instance, fatigue is a legitimate reason to skip class. We only get five absences, so it’s not a license to not go whenever we want, but he recognizes that we are under a lot of pressure this quarter.

I’ve discovered that if I get the sense that a professor legitimately cares about his students, I can take some heat. In fact, I even want to put my best effort forth, not just slide by with the bare minimum.

On the other hand, when a professor is consistently condescending and unreasonable, I would rather just give up. If I’m going to get a memo no matter whether I’ve done the reading or not, why bother? Hence why I am NOT enjoying PC II.

Our third class, Professional Responsibility, meets only on Friday afternoons. The professor for that class is a federal district court judge, and he is HILARIOUS. He described himself as the medic that comes in and heals our wounds from the week. He spent an hour and a half yesterday calling on people just to ask them about themselves: questions like, “Why do you want to be a lawyer?” “Are you glad you’re here?” “Where are you from?” and “If you had it to do over again, would you come to Baylor again?” It was really sad how many people answered the last question with a negative (though honestly, not that surprising).

The best part of the class was when he analogized PC to the “Ramming Speed” scene in Ben Hur. And yes, he showed the video as part of class…

And with that, I’m off to work on some reading/outlining! I’m hoping that I’ll be able to stay ahead in the reading this quarter, thereby easing the load once advocacy exercises start.

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