I know that many of you first-year law students are experiencing intense anxiety over your first round of final exams. Though I am now a law professor, I was once a law student, too. The compressed horror of years spent toiling in the justice system has deadened my sensitivity to many things, but I remember how big this first set of finals feels. This isn’t like undergrad, where you knew who the tough graders were and how well you were doing before you got a final exam. What if you study the wrong parts of your outline? What if you get a stomach virus? What if you oversleep or your computer freezes?

I’m here to offer some friendly advice: relax. These finals, in the context of your legal education overall, aren’t nearly as important as they seem right now. What’s more important, is your overall GPA at graduation. Learning the language and the culture of the law is difficult, and this first year is designed for you simply to be immersed in it, not to achieve perfection. You’ve got time to hone both your skills and your grades over the next two years.

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