As I spend my Thanksgiving break frantically preparing for my exams I am once again overwhelmed by the sheer amount of material we have gone over. When I turn to the beginning of the course to start memorizing I feel like someone else has written the notes in the margins of my books, and someone else has typed up the close to 400 pages in case summaries. I tallied up 3 out of my 4 classes, and we have gone over more than 2,000 pages of dense, chaotic legal material (my fourth was more scattered so I didn't count it up, though it probably amounts to about 500 pages). Two of the courses are closed book, meaning all of that has to be memorized cold by the second week of December.
It makes me regret my undergraduate study habits. If I put just half of the energy into my undergraduate studies that I put into law school I would have been in the top %20 of my class if not better. What makes the regret so strong is that in college you were rewarded in proportion to the amount of work you put into the course. I was never once disappointed after working hard. This is not the case in law school.
I think there are two reasons for my not working hard in Undergrad - My unhappiness and my peer group. I was always unhappy, and one of my weaknesses is that I cannot work well when I am unhappy. I don't think there is any excuse for it but that is the way I am. As for my peer group, there were always a few kids in every class you could look at and say "at least I am not in his position," meaning you could always count on a few to do absolutely nothing - so if you just went to class and paid attention you were ahead of a few. That cushion does not exist in law school, and its absence has been one of the best things to ever happen to me.
But the lost opportunities due to my bad grades are manifold!
On another note, while I am overjoyed at my newfound academic discipline, I am worried about what it is doing to me as a person. I feel more and more alienated from those around me. I am spending so little time around people that I feel like I am losing the ability to relate to other human beings. I guess it will have to wait until after the bar exam...