Fenno and The Order of the Practice Examinations (Part 6 of 8)

Note: This serial is fictional. 

Fenno returned from Spring Break with a sense of dread. He had frittered it away enjoying the comforts of home: the praise of his parents and relatives, the relaxed attitude of his high school friends, the now-alien pleasure of reading without his grip tightened around a highlighter. But now that he was back on campus, the ever-present 1L anxiety jumped: finals were only a month away and he needed to do well to atone for the awful sin on his transcript.

His study group was meeting Thursday afternoon to go over a practice exam, so he unironically studied for his study group. He remembered how smug he felt when Julie, one of the most articulate students in his section, asked him to join her study group in October. Her study group was quite the collection, with three of the hardest working students in Section, each eager to divide and conquer outlines and offer their humble opinions on unresolved questions of law. He was honored to be invited to join that group, but the study group was demanding. There were almost a dozen outlines, from different sources, from FedSoc to Duke Dems to JOLT. There were Glannon study guides galore. There were practice exams that needed to be taken, their answers painstakingly typed out over hours.

And then there was the actual act of meeting in the study group, which made Fenno as nervous as a cold call. When he finally screwed up the courage to offer his analysis, Julie would respond with a skeptical, “Hmmm… That’s not really the answer I got. At all.” Then the study group would arrive at some brilliant conclusion that Fenno could have never thought of, not in a million outlines. He was quiet at the study group meetings now, growing more and more panicked with each minute there because Bruce was citing a case he didn’t remember, or Sheila was working off an outline he didn’t have, or Julie was referencing a legal authority he hadn’t even heard of.

He had stayed up Wednesday night preparing for the group meeting and barely had time to finish reading the assignment for Crim that day. He was out the door, on the way to what promised to be an excruciatingly tedious meeting when he ran into Raj.

“Off to a study group,” Fenno sighed.

“That’s stressful,” Raj said, “I’m not in one anymore because it was just stressing me out so much.”

Fenno almost laughed aloud. Raj stressed? By a study group? Fenno had always assumed that Raj was a sniper, a gunner who studied in secret to horde his knowledge. But now he wondered if Raj had figured out early on what Fenno was just now realizing: his study group didn’t actually prepare him for exams, it just overwhelmed him with copious outlines and study guides and panicked him with its frenetic pace and brilliant, but unnecessary legal tangents. It was frantic 1L anxiety, concentrated into hours-long segments.

Fenno turned around and took a nap instead.

“Fenno” is a fictional serial written by an anonymous law student. The main character is always named Fenno and is always a 1L, but his or her character changes every school year. This installation is part of the series for the 2011 to 2012 School Year entitled “The Uncertain Fenno, 2011 to 2012.”


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