The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Advice needed

Okay, so I have a dilemma about my future as a student/attorney and I desperately need some advice...

I am now hitting the home-stretch of my summer. Two weeks from this evening is my property exam. One week after that is my last day of work as a summer associate. I have had an extremely stressful, rushed, miserable summer trying to juggle the two. That being said, I think I have reached my limits. I am on the verge of breaking and something has to go. Don't get me wrong, I am neither going to quit my job nor drop out of school. However, what I do need to do, is shift my focus in the direction of one or the other. Attempting to concentrate on the middle of the line at this point is only adding stress that I can no longer handle and is probably going to end with mediocre work on both sides if I am not careful. So, I guess my question is which is more important to "go out with a bang"? Here are some thoughts:

Property class cost me $5k, is a four credit class and will go towards that "oh so important" GPA that people will use to judge me. I have two weeks left and have a so-so outline (made by myself) at this point. I will have to fill in a whole lot of blanks and more importantly, spend a decent amount of time actually getting a deeper understanding of the subject matter. I'm not saying this cannot be done, since I did it during my second semester with two classes...I am just saying that add work into those two weeks and I will not have that much free time to accomplish this. Speaking of second semester, considering I worked my butt off the last few weeks to attain the most in-depth understanding of the subject matter EVER and still came out with average grades, I wonder if turning life off for Property in the next two weeks is worth it. Seriously, due to the arbitrary nature of law school exams/grading, without assurance that my hard work will pay off, I'm not sure I'm up for it.

So, back to this GPA thing. It is my understanding that your 1L GPA is the important one, as that is what potential employers see for your 2L summer job. Right? After that, no one cares. Well, if my calendar is correct, my Property grade will not be a part of this since I have make bids for OCI prior to my exam. I'm not saying I would intentionally do bad. I'm just saying there is a huge difference in stress levels between entering study mode aiming for the "A" and entering study mode just trying to get by. Furthermore, without divulging my GPA, I can tell you that a "low" grade this summer will not kill my GPA. It will definitely hurt, but it's not the difference between top 5% and top 10% of the class (hahaha...that's funny).

Work thoughts: okay, so I had my mid-summer review and things seem pretty well. Rumor has it that if there is even a slight chance someone will have a problem being invited back/given an offer, they will find out in mid-summer review. I didn't get any bad feedback. (Well, constructive criticism, of course...but nothing actually detrimental.) My firm does not make post-grad offers to 1Ls. They invite you to come back for at least six weeks in your 2L summer, then will offer you permanent employment. Boy wouldn't life be grand if that worked out? I work with amazing people in a great location and am doing work I really enjoy. Although I was told 'keep doing what you are doing and you will be fine'...I do feel there are still a few more things I need to do to seal the deal. About a month ago, I took "firm social events" off of my calendar. I have not been to much since I was getting spread really thin and reaching my limits. That being said, I wonder if I should spend the next few weeks actually socializing with some of my possible future co-workers (for their benefit as well as my own.) Not to mention, I could focus more on turning out great work product before the summer is over.

As of now, my days begin at 6am and don't end until midnight. I am constantly shuffling between reading/prepping for class and work assignments, often taking work home and always working through weekends (on work or class). Often times, I am so exhausted and lack focus that things are much harder and more time consuming than they should be. I do not think I can keep this up for two more weeks. In fact, I'm about positive I cannot.

I would love advice from anyone willing to give it. Especially those who sit on the other side of the wall and may know from a more authoritative standpoint what is better for my career (school and work).