Reflections of a 2L: How to Use Your Experience to Plan Ahead for 3L Year

Reflections of a 2L and How to Use Your Own to Plan Ahead for 3L YearPlease welcome our 2L guest writer to discuss her own personal reflections on 2L year and how she’s looking and planning ahead to 3L year.

In looking back on 2L year, it was a unique and very individualistic experience. Unfortunately, mine was a harrowing one, but that will not be the case for every 2L because the curriculum creates such vastly different scenarios, based on the choices each student selects for themselves. The rest of this article focuses on some personal thoughts concerning 2L year in general, and, stemming from them, changes or items to plan ahead for when thinking about 3L year.

1L vs. 2L Year

Compared to 1L year, 2L year is chaotic. As a 1L, every law student is registered for the same five courses per semester, with classes and grades being the only priorities. As a 2L, there are classes, jobs or internships, and extracurriculars to manage. Although there are certain graduation credentials that law students must fulfill, between jobs, core course preferences, and special electives, it is rare for 2L’s to have matching schedules. This makes it difficult to obtain higher quality outlines and substantial supplements for classes. Many people who were once friendly or in your study groups may unintentionally transform into ghosts. The lesson from this is to learn to cherish—what is inaccurately dubbed the “dreaded”—1L year.

Job Hunting

As mentioned, learning to juggle classes and internships is no easy feat. What is even more worrisome is if you did not secure an on-campus interview in the fall (which hopefully led to a summer job), then you also need to figure out how and when you will consistently apply until you land one. Unlike 1L, your job will actually matter during your 2L summer and should be geared towards an area you plan to practice in post graduation. Under these circumstances, job hunting becomes a much more stressful experience; not only is your schedule increasingly demanding, but also there are less options to choose from – in contrast to seeking 1L summer internships. The lesson learned here is to apply to jobs early and gain employment as soon as humanly possible.

MPRE

Another obstacle that 2Ls sometimes struggle with is whether or not to take the MPRE 2L or 3L year. I chose to take it my 3L year, and I am now confined to registering for it solely in March. If I had taken it during my 2L year, I would have had more opportunities to re-test should something go wrong, and it would be one less stress factor I would have to take into account for planning out my 3L year. While there is nothing I can do to remedy this situation now, I can share my experience and offer my advice that law students should strive to register for the MPRE as a 2L. This lesson really is: prepare everything far in advance as a law student because there are constantly new challenges looming that you will have to handle.

Lessons

As my long and dreary 2L year winds down, along with some personal hard lessons learned, I have used the experience to attempt to make 3L year better and, hopefully, a bit easier. The decisions I am making to do so are extremely daunting to me because I have always been an overachiever, but I finally realized that by not trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, it will actually improve my skillset in a particular area, which is a bonus when it comes to honing in on a legal career.

In particular, I plan on walking away from commitments that no longer serve my future career aspirations and are simply resume bullets, or activities that I no longer enjoy. For my fall semester, I intend to complete any mandatory graduation requirements and will concentrate only on applying to jobs, either for spring semester or for when I pass the bar exam. Additionally, after passing the bar exam, I plan on taking a much needed vacation before starting any positions that will surely cause burnout.

While all of this is necessary for me to achieve what I want from my final year of law school, I also know that despite meticulous planning and astute organizing tactics, which I thought I had mastered as a 1L and applied to my 2L year, events could arise and modify these objectives. Thus, I will have to remain flexible and construct an adaptable strategy.

In sum, these are the things that I took away from my 2L experience, which I am using as a tool to help guide me personally through the rest of this semester as well as my upcoming 3L year. To reiterate, not everyone will encounter my obstacles nor feel exactly as I do regarding 2L year. So, some of my suggestions may not be relevant or relatable to you. For those who can relate, however, I hope at a bare minimum that I can offer you some solace, and guidance to help make your third and final year of law school your best.


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