We have only eight days before opening night of the Legal Follies performance, and we are busy, busy, busy! By now I’ve told you about my grueling schedule (I’m at the law tower from 9am to at least 9pm almost every day) during the Follies’ big crunch time, and I’ve told you how it affects my relationships. Now it’s time for me to talk about how it is affecting my school work, and to share with you my reflections on whether or not doing Follies, or other similarly demanding extra-curricular activities during your first year of law school, is a good idea or not.
1. Balancing Follies and School Work
The truth of the matter is, at this point in the semester it is impossible for me to fulfill my Follies obligations and to do my schoolwork to the level that I usually expect of myself. As a rule, I do all the readings that are assigned to me. I usually do them about two days ahead of time, and review them the morning of class. At the moment, I have a large brief due next Tuesday for Moot Court, and I also have three Follies performances next week. The result is that I am currently skimming my cases and reading canned briefs of them before class, instead of combing them over carefully as I normally do. To me, this feels very uncomfortable. However, I don’t feel that I am falling too far behind to be remedied: I have a plan to review my notes, re-read important cases, and begin rough outlines for each of my classes over spring break.
2. The Pros and Cons of Being Extra Busy
The cons of being overly busy are, I think, pretty obvious. One is that I am not reading as carefully as I normally do, so I am falling behind a little and I feel uncomfortable with that. Another is that it is hard to get basic chores done. For example, I now order my groceries from Peapod delivery service because I don’t have time to go to the store when it is open. Another con is that I am in class, or studying, or at rehearsal all day; from 9am to 9pm, I rarely have a break that lasts for more than twenty minutes. I never make it to the gym anymore, and my diet consists of frozen meals supplemented with produce and snacks. This is completely exhausting, so getting enough sleep is crucial, but similarly hard to achieve.
That, however, brings me to the pros of being extra busy: I am building so much stamina due to my schedule. My ability to concentrate for long hours has increased tenfold. My time management skills have been put to the test, revised, and perfected. If I will truly be ‘worked to death’ during my 2L year, I now feel that I will be able to rise to the challenge with experience under my belt. I also look forward to using these new skills to my advantage once Follies is over. Every upper class-person on Follies says that once the show is over, I will feel like I have more time than I know what to do with. I look forward to utilizing that time to delve into my classes and my moot court topic. (Because, I have to say, I really do enjoy the law – it is so interesting if you have time to mull over it. It’s really only a chore when you have to try and digest difficult concepts without enough time.)
3. Peers and Professors
Luckily for me, my peers and professors are remarkably understanding and supportive when I tell them I’m working around my Follies schedule. My moot court partner was gracious when I told her that my first draft (due in the middle of the Follies performance week,) is going to be a little rough. When I approached my Legislation professor to tell him that I was worried about the quality of a memo I had to hand in last week, he was also gracious and understanding. It’s not that my peers and professors expect less of me, or that I use Follies as an excuse for why I can’t do something, rather they are understanding when I say ‘I do not have 100% of my attention to give [X] right this moment. In two weeks, I will come back and catch up and give you 100%’. This encourages me, because it shows me that (despite the pressure to perform that can sometimes make it feel otherwise,) law school is a place where the limits of being human are recognized and accounted for. This realization has been a great ‘pro’ of doing Follies, because the pressure I felt to be perfect last semester was one of the most stressful aspects of law school for me.
4. Doing it over again
If I had the chance to do it all over again, I really can’t say whether I would sign up for Follies in my first year of law school. I’m honestly still on the fence about doing it again next year – as much as I enjoy the group (I love them,) and as much as I enjoy the fun of doing theater again, the schedule is a real challenge. On the other hand, the real world of work is full of similar challenges: sometimes one project just needs more attention than others, and it is a good thing to learn how to apportion my time, energy, and attention according to what is currently a priority. Once the show is over, I plan to reflect on the experience, wait until I select next years’ classes, and then make a decision about whether Follies is something I want to do again. As for those of you who will be joining us at BU as 1Ls next year and are thinking about whether Follies is for you – make sure you are ready to take on the six weeks of intense work between the beginning of the second semester and the performance that a commitment to Follies will entail.
5. If you are a BU student, you need to come to Follies February 28th, March 1st, or March 2nd – it’s going to be fun!