"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." -President Abraham Lincoln
"I run on the road long before I dance under the lights." - Muhammad Ali
This morning’s message is to our students, particularly our first-year students.
Final exams begin Wednesday and continue until December 17. You’ve worked hard all semester. You’ve diligently read and briefed your cases, prepared and reviewed your notes and outlines, and practiced your legal analysis on hypotheticals and old exams.
Prepare your mind:
Do mindfulness exercises before you begin your exam, or yoga, or anything to put yourself at ease. Trust your preparation – remember you have done the work. I’m not going to say good luck; you’ll make your own luck if you’re prepared.
Prepare your body:
Make sure you get plenty of rest and eat well before each exam, so you can go in to your exams refreshed and energized. You need stamina to perform at your best.
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. Once you begin to write, 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.
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.
Do not think about the exam again. It’s over and done. Do not talk about it with others. It’s time to refocus on your next exam, or your well-deserved winter break plans if you’re all finished.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Committed to Living Justice.
Have a great day. Have a great week.
For copies of past messages, please go to this link: Monday Morning Messages.
Dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law | Cleveland State University
Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler