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January 2008: First Semester Over
First Semester Over
First semester is over and I'm a lot less nervous for second semester. Although I have two new courses, I feel more prepared and relaxed than before my very first law class back in August. I remember the first day last semester. I had no idea what to expect. There were so many thoughts going through my mind. I didn't know where to sit, who my professors were, and I thought everyone was much smarter than me. Now, my section has grown together and I feel more comfortable than I did in the beginning. I'm not quite sure how I feel about mixing sections after the first semester, because my section gives me security. I am glad that at least my Criminal Law class stays the same.
However, I am worried that grades will change the dynamic we have. I have always heard that in law school, students are very competitive. Although this is definitely true, I feel that we have helped each other throughout first semester. We have shared outlines, notes, and discussed questions together. Before finals I had the feeling we all wanted the other one to do well despite the famous law school curve. I hope that this will not change for second semester. My friends and I have decided not to share our grades, but who knows if we can actually follow through with this. The anxiety is high. My section is the only one which hasn't received most of the grades and we are already going crazy. Hopefully, this anxiety will go away once all grades are posted, so that I can shift my attention to this coming semester.
Despite classes, I am excited to start getting involved again. I was part of the planning committee for the International Criminal Court Moot Competition that Pace hosts each fall and I am eager to start planning the new one even though it isn't until next fall. The moot was a good way to get involved at Pace. I have heard from many students not to get involved in anything first semester in law school, but I am glad I did. First year courses are not the most exciting ones, so it was great to get involved in an area of law that I am passionate about. I got to meet many interesting people and some Pace professors that teach in this field. Since I am planning on taking lots of international law courses, I got to talk to 3Ls who gave me good advice on what courses to take. Sometimes during the first semester it is difficult to keep the focus on why you are in law school. First year courses have little to do with what I want to do with my law degree, so the moot has helped me to keep my focus and motivation.
Through the moot I also learned about the Human Rights in Action internships. I decided to apply to work at a war crimes tribunal in Africa and got nominated by Pace for the Special Court in Sierra Leone. It was challenging and stressful to coordinate my workload with the application process but hopefully it was worth it. I am still waiting to hear back from the tribunal, but hopefully I will get to work in Freetown this summer.