Five Finger Philosophy to Course Selection

I don’t remember if I am always as indecisive as I get when it comes to registering for classes. No matter how much effort I put into organizing my schedule during the pre-registration period for each semester, I still end up attending 20 or 30 extra classes to see if I, in fact, made the right decision. (Maybe 20-30 is an exaggeration, but at least 10, for realsies.)

I guess I’m a dabbler. But really, the problem is that there are too many philosophies as to how to arrange your schedule and rather than living by one, I try to incorporate  them all as justification for each course decision.

1. In the end it doesn’t matter all that much…. or does it… because one creed is the “your transcript follows you for life” philosophy that puts so much emphasis on every decision in law school as a potential deal breaker for whether you end up happily ever after in your ideal career.

I follow a variation of that theory. I like to choose at least once class per semester that is most relevant for the legal industry I want to target or subject matter I hope to focus on after graduation. This semester’s “resume-builder” course it is administrative law- because I not only want to work with government, but also on environmental issues- so admin was a must.

2. The next theory is to choose classes that will make studying for the bar a little less overwhelming and I generally fight against this theory with the assumption that I’m going to spend an additional $3,000 on a bar review course that supposedly teaches me everything I should know to pass the bar exam…. But, who am I kidding, the bar exam is not a fourth grade spelling test and I probably need all the help I can get. So, this semester I’m taking evidence to satisfy the bar-prep philosophy.

3. There’s also the personal enrichment course choice which for me I am still debating (I have 4 more days of add/drop) whether I want to take Federal Income Tax or Employment Law.  I want to take a course that will be interesting for everyday life. It is good to know fed tax so maybe I can file my own 1040s and good to know employment law so I can be aware of when I’m getting royally screwed by the man….

4. Then, there is also the theory of what do you want your schedule to actually look like, do you want classes on just Tuesdays and Thursdays? Are you that passionate about a course to wake up for it at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings? Maybe you have an internship to consider and building your course schedule to have Mondays and Fridays off is ideal.

5. And then, of course, there’s the slack-off theory to course registration. I’ve worked hard for 3 years now and should take at least one class (some people are taking all) that is fun and has an “easy A” reputation, or has a paper rather than exam, or has an open book multiple choice exam rather than a closed book issue spotter. The counter-argument is that we aren’t paying $50Gs to take classes undergrads can pass and want to actually learn something rather than coast by. But, assuming we’ve stacked the last few semesters with courses that act as career and bar prep- it’s easy to justify a final semester chock full of seminars known for easy grading and few assignments.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how you justify the courses you take but, if you’re indecisive like me, and many other of my classmates who are still struggling to fill their remaining credit requirements, hopefully these five fingers provide enough variations to justify whatever your hearts’ desire. In the very least, it’s practice in being a Supreme Court Justice and saying whatever you need to hear in order to reach the decisions you think are right.