“Weep not for roads untraveled.
Weep not for paths left alone.
‘Cause beyond every bend,
is a long, blinding end,
it’s the worst kind of pain I’ve known.”
These are some wise words from a song by a wise band, singing about what I can only assume is law school. Or maybe love. Most likely law school. The first two days back from our holiday break reminded me of this song as we got our exams back and opened the floodgates of memory to go over our December efforts and figure out why we got certain things wrong and other things right. Of course, that is the main point of the December exams process: learning how to study, how to take law exams, and what to do and not do. However, whether the ‘roads untraveled’ were those extra sample exams you never got to, or the ‘paths left alone’ were the extra CANs you never looked at, it can be hard to pinpoint what it was you could have done better. I think it’s very easy to get wrapped up in thinking there were dozens of things you could have done which you missed, which leads to thinking you now have to do all of them to succeed. There’s been much discussion of people vowing to do this, that and the other come April. Many of us are, somewhat stereotypically, type A, ambitious individuals who are used to be being perfectionists. So, it’s natural for us to have a tendency to linger on any imperfections and try to ameliorate them by employing the maximum number of possible remedies.
I think a good strategy is to resist the urge to dwell on all the possible things that one could have done, and instead actively find the most effective improvements. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the techniques and technicalities of studying and CANing, allowing the focus on areas of conceptual confusion and the mastery of materials to wane. The best way to use the December practice run is as a springboard to jump forward, and not a road looking backwards. Effective, focused evaluation is good; re-questioning every step is likely going to end up being fruitless.
When the training wheels come off in April, I reckon there will be enough ‘worst kinds of pain’ known to most of us. So, there’s no need to create more out of this round. Study smarter, study better, and sprinkle in some fun in there if possible.
I’ll also take this opportunity to wish everyone a great start to the new term and a very happy new year! I hope 2013 will be one filled with happiness and success for everyone!