Updated on July 8, 2015
A day in the life of a 1L
Day in the Life is a three-part series following a 1L, 2L and 3L through a typical day of law school. The series opens today with 1L Michele Kraak.
6:30 Monday morning
My first alarm goes off. I don’t have class until 9:15, but I’m a snooze button abuser and I always like to start my day watching “Good Morning America” at 7. After majoring in broadcast journalism at Oklahoma State and working at a TV news station for three years, I’m kind of a news nerd. I also like to have some coffee and relax in the morning. It’s a good stress reliever and sets a good tone for the week.
I pull into the Burge Union parking lot. My goal every morning is to get here at 8, but somehow I always seem to be a little late. As long as I’m here by 8:30, I can find a parking spot. After that, it fills up really quickly so I have to park at the Rec Center. It’s not a bad walk, though, and I get to walk by Allen Fieldhouse and think about how great basketball season will be. Before class, I either catch up on reading or get a little bit ahead or work on any assignments I might have. Sometimes, if I’m actually caught up on everything (which isn’t very often, but it’s amazing when it happens!), I just sit and talk to classmates in the commons.
I’m up today in Criminal Law. I’ve been in law school for a few months now, and I still get nervous to talk in class. Luckily, my professor has us go up in groups of three, so I have two other people to fall back on. Every professor has a different system. Some have you go up on your own but tell you when you’ll be up, and some just randomly call on people. It gets a little intense if you get nervous like me, but the professors are always really nice about everything and no one kicks you out like in “Legally Blonde” if you don’t know the answer.
My first time checking Facebook today. Not every teacher will let you bring a computer into class, probably for this reason. But in classes in which I am allowed to have one, I try to keep my distractions to a minimum. I even set up my Gmail to make me invisible so if I accidentally log on to chat, no one will see me.
Criminal Law ended 10 minutes ago, and now Torts II is starting. I like Mondays because I have these two classes back to back and they’re in the same room, so I don’t even have to move. I get to take Torts II because I was a summer starter, and I really enjoyed taking Torts over the summer, so I chose this as one of my electives. It’s a little intimidating to have class with 2Ls and 3Ls, but they’re all really nice and helpful, and I don’t think they judge us too much when we talk in class.
I’m done with class for the day, and I meet some of my fellow summer starters for lunch in the commons. Over the summer, we all brought our lunch to school with us, and after class we’d take an hour to eat and talk and relax before getting back to work. It’s a great way to unwind and get your focus back. The commons has a couple of microwaves and refrigerators, and if you don’t feel like bringing anything in, the Burge is right across the street and has all kinds of good lunch options.
Back to work. I always start by doing my reading for the classes I have the next day, which are Criminal Law and Torts II again. Tomorrow after class, I’ll work on reading for my Wednesday classes: Civil Procedure, Lawyering, and Business Associations 1. Civil Procedure and Lawyering are required 1L classes, and Business Associations 1 is my other elective.
All my reading is done, and I’m heading over to the Rec Center for an intramural indoor soccer game. KU has so many activities you can get involved in, and our 1L class is taking full advantage. We have a 1L flag football team, the soccer team, and we also try to organize pub crawls on Mass Street one Friday night every couple of months. School is definitely a lot of work, but you have to remember to find time to go out and have fun, or you’ll probably lose your sanity. Everyone is in the same boat, so we’re good about keeping each other on track. It is competitive, but we’re also becoming really good friends. I’ve also found exercise is a great way clear my head. I like to treat law school like a job. I’m there all day, but then I always try to leave by 6 and do something fun for the evening. On days I don’t have an intramural game, I like to have dinner with other 1Ls, or sometimes I come home and catch up on my TV shows or read a book that isn’t for law school.
We won, and we’re heading to the playoffs! I usually stay and work out for a little bit after the games while I’m here. KU’s Rec Center is amazing. It has everything you could ever want to do, even a rock-climbing wall. There are also a ton of classes you can take at a really great price. There really is something for everyone.
I’m back home again. I like to think of my apartment as a law-free zone. Sometimes I bring homework back here with me, but I usually leave it all at the school and come home to relax. I make dinner, shower, and turn on the Monday Night Football game for a little bit. About 60 students are going to the Chiefs vs. Dolphins game in a few weeks, and I can’t wait. I helped organize this event with a 3L. Having a smaller school is great because you get to be around people from your own class all the time, but you also get to hang out with the upperclassmen. They’re all really great about helping with classes any way they can. They’ve all been here, too.
I try to be in bed around 11 because 6:30 is always a lot earlier than I think it will be. But it’s nice to have a routine, and it’s good practice for the 8 to 5 real world schedule that I’ll (hopefully) find myself in after law school. I can’t believe I’m already almost done with my first semester and that I’ll graduate in just two and a half years. Law school is flying by, and I’m so excited to see what the rest of my time here at KU will bring!
Michele Kraak, 1L and Student Ambassador