Sunday, January 9, 2011
Grad School & Law School
The First Semester
A similarity in law school and grad school the first semester is what you actually do. For the most part, you go to class, study and take tests. And you study about the same amount of hours per day. Of course in grad school, you are given homework, although it's ungraded and one doesn't even turn it in. Also in grad school, there are at least one or two tests before the final. The tests amount to 1/4 to 2/3 of the grade with the final filling in the rest. In law school, the final is your class grade.
Unless one is lucky enough to have a grant or fellowship, a grad student (in chemistry anyways) has to teach 7 labs in a chronicle year. This averages out to 2 or 3 labs to teach per semester and one lab to teach in the summer. I didn't mind teaching labs. I had a few secondary benefits from it such as it helping my public speaking. I did hate proctoring exams on Saturday mornings. The profs would give those cockamamie things at 8am. It sucked the big one.
Some would say that law skills and writing the memos differs from grad school. Substance wise, yes it is different, but in our physical organic class, we had to write 3 essays on articles in a peer reviewed journal. We had to write a critical analysis of the paper and would be about three pages long. It was a royal pain in the ass.
I did like the legal research class in law school. I wish we had something similar in grad school. I wished we had been exposed to the ACS style elements early on rather than waiting until we wrote our thesis in grad school and have our prof royally screw us. It was a big shortcoming in grad school, that and the fact that each student should have been required to write his/her own paper for submission to a peer reviewed article. Sure, many of us co-authored papers, but the prof wrote it, not the student. It would have helped students develop their writing skills.
For the most part, you went to a few classes, studied and the rest of the day was yours. Next semester, things in grad school and law school will diverge, I think.