Choosing classes

Choosing courses in law school is, in a word, hard. Unlike in undergrad, when I found myself as a second year senior struggling to fill my schedule, I don’t feel like I have enough time to take all of the classes I want to take in law school. This feeling is compounded by the fact that I’m in the dual degree J.D./History M.A. program. Although I love the opportunity to get two degrees at once, it does mean that I have less flexibility in my schedule because I substitute some law school courses for history courses.

When I sat down to plan my schedule for my last year of law school, I knew there were certain requirements I had to fit in if I wanted to get my dual degree. For example, I have to take African Historiography and American Historiography in the history department for my Masters; two legal history courses, which count towards both degrees; and courses which satisfy the Professional Responsibility and Professional Skills requirements in the law school. In addition to all that, I need to take a graduate level French reading course at some point before graduating. Planning all of that was obviously logistically challenging!

With a ridiculous amount of re-arranging and a few strokes of good luck, I managed to finagle my schedule around and actually squeeze in everything I needed, along with a few fun bonuses. This semester, I’m in African Historiography, Tax, 14th Amendment (legal history), and Alternative Dispute Resolution. I’m also a director of the Stone Moot Court program, which in addition to being a ton of fun, satisfies my Professional Skills requirement. Next semester, I’ll be doing the French reading course, American Historiography, Professional Responsibility, a legal history course, and some other TDB legal class.

Whew. On the one hand, I feel a lot of relief that everything worked out in the end. I would strongly encourage anyone doing a dual degree program to learn from my mistakes and plan your schedule a little better than I did! But on the other hand, I feel oddly sad that I won’t be taking any more law school courses (other than that mystery course in the Spring, whenever I choose it). Although I think I did a generally good job of choosing courses, I would recommend to any incoming or rising law student to squeeze in as many classes as possible that you are personally interested in. Maybe you won’t manage to take all of the Bar courses, but so what? Law school is the last chance most of have to be students. Take it!

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