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February 2, 2008: Six More Weeks of Winter
Sarah L. Caragiulo
February 2, 2008
Six More Weeks of Winter
Today is Groundhog Day and good ole Phil in Pennsylvania saw his shadow this morning; therefore we have six more weeks of winter to look forward to. Winter is usually a time of hibernation and seclusion. People are less likely to spend a great amount of time outdoors or to even venture out at all. Winter signifies a time to rest and gear up for the spring and summer. But, for law students, there is no time to hibernate and rest in preparation for the spring and summer.
I often find the spring semester to be more challenging than the fall semester. In the fall, we are all coming off of summer break. Although summers are no longer spent sleeping in and at the beach, we at least get a short break from classes. The summer break allows everyone to recharge. Winter break, on the other hand, does not afford the same kind of “rest.” The first week of break is usually spent in a daze, trying not to overthink the exams you just completed. The second week of break is usually spent trying to reconnect with all the friends and family you have neglected during the semester. This can involve traveling long distances to other states, which in itself can be tiring. The third week is usually spent doing work and preparing for the spring semester. Law school classes start on day one of the semester, there is no “getting to know you” or “let’s walk through the syllabus.” Classes begin on the first day and that means you better have read and prepared thoroughly. I also spent the last week of winter break in the library working on my comment for Law Review. Thankfully I was joined by a number of other students in the same situation as me. It was nice to see a familiar face at 9 a.m. on Monday the week before classes started; that way I did not feel like the only person in world doing work during “break.”
Spring semester forces me to dig deeper for motivation and self-discipline. It is easy to burn out in law school and I think it becomes even more prevalent during the spring semester. It gets dark by 5 p.m.; winter break did not provide me with the kind of break or rest I would like, and I am looking forward to the summer and all that comes with it. Yet being forced to dig a little deeper and push myself a littler harder is not necessarily a bad thing. Generally everything in life has a lull period, or a time when you feel like you just want to take a week off, but cannot. So being forced to find a way to motivate myself and not only stay on top of things, but actually get ahead, is a useful and beneficial lesson. Thus far I am finding I have to dig deeper this year as compared to last year’s spring semester. From listening to fellow students and friends, I do not think I am alone in feeling this way. My greater source of motivation is knowing that I am doing and working towards something I truly want for myself. Although I feel the mental and physical exhaustion that comes with law school, I am more than willing to push through and beat it because I love what I am doing. So, my message for this month – only sign on to something if you truly want it and you want it for you and you alone.