Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Exam Time Stress

Ah, to be a law student in December! (or April)


This is a terrible time of year for our students, and they need our compassion and kindness. Exam time is stressful for all kinds of students, but law students experience a special kind of stress. Most law school courses, even today, put all or nearly all of the course final grade into one final exam!

This is pedagogical madness, of course. But it's Tradition! (as the Fiddler of the Roof guy sings.) Also, it enables a single professor to teach 100+ students a semester in some schools! This is why law schools have for so many years been profit centers in universities, and made them attractive enough that many for-profit law schools began to open. Of course, that all came to a skidding halt with the 2008 economic crash, and the collapse of the legal job market, that finally trickled into law schools' admissions. But in the meantime, too many law schools have not changed their teaching methods.

However, I see current students handling the stress much better than we did in my law school days (when the most popular methods were to become a slob, stop sleeping and drink to excess or live on caffeine). Many students these days take a much wiser course:

* Eat healthy foods, in moderation, and at regular meals

* Keep exercising -- exercise reduces stress, improves sleep, and helps combat depression, as well as keeping you fit!

* Sleep regularly -- don't pull "all nighters." If you don't have it in your head by now, it's too damned late to try to learn it all now, bubby. You should have been working on this stuff throughout the semester.

* Stress-reducers:
* Yoga
* Tai-chi
* Beating the crap out of a speed-bag (not everybody is a yoga type)
* Laugh a LOT with friends

It's still a terrible time. You will undoubtedly lose sleep and stress out. But maybe you won't wreck yourself entirely, and at least you will have laughed a lot in the meantime.

We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping the best for you. And remember that law school exams DO NOT measure the quality of you as a human being. The most they do is measure how much you managed to write down that day of what you learned in that class.

The decoration is The Scream, the famous painting by Edward Munch.

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