“I don't know that there are any shortcuts to doing a good job.” – Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
“You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” - First Lady Rosalynn Carter
“If you do not know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere.” – Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
This morning’s message is to our students, particularly our first-year students. Final exams begin Wednesday and continue until December 19.
You’ve gotten this far because you didn’t take shortcuts, you had confidence in your ability, and you knew where you were going.
So my advice is to change the way you look at the pressure of final exams.
As tennis legend Billie Jean King once said, “Pressure is a privilege - it only comes to those who earn it.”
So look at the pressure as a privilege that you have earned.
You have chosen to study and work during this time of your life like most people won’t, so that you can learn law and live justice like most people can’t.
Prepare your mind: Put yourself at ease - meditation, exercise, yoga – whatever works for you. Trust your preparation – remember you have done the work.
Prepare your body: Make sure you get plenty of rest and sleep and eat well before each exam, so you can go in to your exams refreshed and energized. Starting today, we will provide coffee and snacks for all our students in the Dean’s Suite between 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on weekdays through the end of finals.
When you begin your exam: Read the instructions carefully, and don’t rush to answer. Stop and think for a while. Organize your answer in your mind. Be careful to monitor your time and make sure you have included all of the issues, rules and legal analysis that you need to answer the question well. Make sure your conclusion answers the question asked. Do a final review and submit your answer.
Here’s something I wrote for you to consider.
Dean Fisher’s Serenity Prayer for Final Exams
- God grant me the serenity to accept that this semester has already tested me in ways I could not have imagined.
- The courage to lean into the uncertainty with strength, resilience, and optimism.
- And the wisdom to know that whatever the circumstances I face, I always have a choice on how to respond.
- Understanding that if I change the way I look at things, the things I look at can change.
- Trusting in my skills and surrendering to an unshakeable belief in myself.
- Accepting that the exam doesn’t just test my knowledge, it tests my state of mind.
- Focusing on the moment and visualizing success.
- Pacing myself, taking each question one at a time, and applying the law to the facts.
- Taking the exam as it is, not how I or others would have written it.
- Supremely happy that I am a student at a law school where we have each other’s back and we are in this together.
- Remembering that I have chosen to study and work during this time of my life like most people won’t, so that I can learn law and live justice like most people can’t.
I’m not going to say good luck; you’ll make your own luck if ’re prepared.
Have a great day and a great week!
The views and opinions expressed in my Monday Morning Message are solely my own and do not reflect the views and opinions of the law school or the university.
For copies of past messages, please go to this link: Monday Morning Messages
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