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Law School Snapshot: University of Dayton School of Law

3L, University of Dayton School of Law

I decided to go to law school during my high school business law class. At the time, I loved torts and civil court. I thought being a lawyer would be like what I saw on TV. In reality, there is so much more to being a lawyer than what I saw on "Law and Order". My first semester I loved my property law class and it is still my favorite class I have taken. I loved the subject matter and didn't mind being cold called on it. The professor really showed us how law school was going to be and how the work we put in would matter in the long run. I spent my summer working for a non-profit in Chicago and learned just what a law degree can do for me. I'm more confident in my decision to become a lawyer after my summer work. While I know now there are so many different types of law I can get into, I'm still working toward my dream of becoming a prosecutor.

I chose a law school located near, but not in, a city. I was looking for a place where the students knew each other, professors were always there to answer questions, and I could gain real world experience. University of Dayton fit the bill. Since starting my 2L year, I've been able to volunteer with the public defender's office and observe court hearings. It's common at UD to know everyone in your classes within days and be able to rely on classmates for help when you need it. I learned some of my best study techniques from other students. My 1L year I waited to outline and read the day before assignments were due. Because of my classmates, I focus on homework as it is assigned and take more complete notes to make outlining easier when I start during midterm break.

FountainLaw school is a lot of fun, but there is plenty of studying to be done. During long study sessions, I'm grateful for the beautiful campus I'm at. Just outside the law building is a large grassy field that is perfect for studying. If you don't mind the traffic noises and occasional music from the marching band, it's a peaceful place to study.Spring of my 1L year, I started to explore the undergraduate campus. It's not too common for law students to branch out into the undergraduate world, but it's nice to have to break. I found a fountain outside Kennedy Union, the student center, which overlooks the grassy area in front of a dormitory. It's a beautiful area that is perfect for studying, relaxing, or having lunch.

PuppyIn my experience, law school can bring out the worst in people. It's stressful and requires a lot of hard work. Knowing how to manage your stress and balance your time is critical to being successful in law school. During my first set of finals, I found the perfect way to manage stress during finals. After each final, I went back to my apartment and watched an old-school Disney movie. It was a great way to focus on something other than the exam I just took or the next exam I had coming; and who doesn't love Disney! In May when I got my puppy, I had no idea how much stress relief he would be. Taking a break and going for a walk with him or having something to cuddle with while you read has made my 2L year much more enjoyable.

My advice to a 1L would be the same advice that was given to me before I started school: "It's ok to not know, it's not ok to not try". You won't know everything going into school and you may not even understand things as they happen; that's ok. As long as you are trying and doing your best, you'll survive law school fine. Don't forget to get involved in school and your community. Networking and hands on experience are valuable to have and starting early will help you be more successful in the long run. Finally, don't forget to look ahead at your future. The bar exam may seem like it is a long way off but make sure you're checking on the requirements, discounts for filing forms early, and the topics is covers. Everyone can be successful in law school and for me, law school is well worth it.

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