This is it…that intensity-packed time of year again when the people who are prepared succeed, and when the people who can’t handle the pressure or failed to put in the work, to put it lightly, “choke.” It’s finals time; a time to show your professor that you really have been paying attention in the three-hour lecture one night of the week, and that the doodles on your notebook are nothing but artistic expressions of your thinking process. (Wait, you guys thought that first sentence was for the PLAYOFFS? Channeling my inner Jim Mora– Don’t talk about – – PLAYOFFS? You kidding me???)
What a great time of year for sports. The other week, I had Thursday night off from class, and this was the sports schedule (keeping in mind I am from Chicago): Bulls playoff game, Cubs game, NFL Draft, and Blackhawks playoff game. Yes, I stayed in front of my TV basically the whole night…I mean, I had to get up to get something to eat, etc., but don’t worry, still didn’t miss a beat (I LOVE DVR). What this all means, though, is that finals preparation and studying is even harder. I basically had to unplug my TV over the weekend so I could start the preparation for the biggest time of year in school.
For most every law school class, the final in your class is 100% of your grade (I have had a couple midterms in some classes, but that is definitely not the majority). That means even if you went to (and paid attention in) every single class during the semester and did the entire homework assignment for each night (like I have each semester), if you do not perform on the night of the final, you could be screwed like the Canucks are in the series against the Blackhawks (I know, shameless). I approach each final as though I am an athlete preparing for a World Series game, a NBA Finals game, or a Super Bowl. All of your preparation has been done during the semester, as long as you copiously took notes, did the assignments, attended class, and kept updating your outline…which, with the amount of money going to law school, I don’t understand how you don’t do that! I am confident that I have put in the work throughout the semester to help me succeed, especially after completing and reviewing my outlines again before the final.
I take the day before my final, and the day of my final, off of work. Usually the day before my final consists of getting up about the same time I get up for work, and revising/updating/reviewing my outline of the course the whole day. I sprinkle in half-hour increments of relaxation, or working out, just to keep my mind fresh and not overloaded . I stop around 6:00, and then relax the rest of the night, usually watching whatever sport is on, or Rocky, my favorite movie. The day of my final, I will again review my outline, clean it up a little bit more, and print it out. Around 1:00 or so, I stop and eat, and watch ESPN until about 3:30. Then I hop on the El, and head down to school. After the final, I bolt out of school as fast as I can so I don’t have to hear people saying, “What was the answer to blah, blah, blah…”, or, “What did you put for blah, blah, blah…” What good is that doing for anybody??? You can’t change anything on the final, so just accept that you did as best as you possibly could, and gear up for the next one. It’s like the mindset of a reliever, “Don’t let yesterday affect today.” My first final this semester is Constitutional Law II on Tuesday, so time to start really buckling down.
Big things have been happening for our Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law Society at John Marshall, and I will give updates on my next entry…you can also follow along here (although our Events section has not been updated yet – working on it). Oh, and I had a couple tables reserved for my friends and I at Joe’s Bar on Weed Street in Chicago for the Mayweather-Mosley fight last weekend. It’s a great place to reserve tables for a group of friends and watch a big fight, or any big game for that matter (good atmosphere, 4 huge projector screen TV’s plus HD TV’s all around three bars in the room we were in, had a waitress basically for our group and 4 others, and they had us in a roped off section so we weren’t jammed with all the other people there). Nobody said that you can’t release some steam during finals preparation, especially when it’s still a couple weeks away from finals; in fact, I think it is a necessity to strike a balance during what can be a very stressful time.
Also, good luck to all of the athlete advocates and ballplayers out there hopeful for a call in a couple of weeks. As I have said before, some of my buddies/ex-teammates have been drafted, and it was an exciting time for me, the one not even getting the call, so I could only imagine! Oh, and Go Blackhawks!