The Fall 2020 semester has (finally?) come to a close. 2Ls and 3Ls finished exams on the 12th, and the 1L exam period ended on the 18th. Congratulations to all on surviving one strange semester! Although it seems like next semester will mostly look the same (large classes online, many smaller classes in-person, and a fully-virtual option), the recent news on the vaccines has me optimistic.
Before we all take our much-needed winter break, the Impact Blog wanted to thank all of our readers for staying engaged with our content and listening to our experiences throughout the semester. Over the past semester, we welcomed students back to campus, reflected on the silver linings of online classes, shared why Black Art Matters, gave an honest viewpoint on burnout, highlighted why we love BC Law, discussed reasons for going to law school during a pandemic, proposed ways to mend the political divide, admitted we missed the free finals coffee, offered advice ahead of OCI, gave words of encouragement about belonging, and much, much more. We hope you enjoyed reading our posts as much as we enjoyed sharing them!
We’re also excited to share that we broke our all-time record for readers this year: more than 34,000 people viewed over 55,000 pages of Impact content in 2020 (and counting).
Don’t forget to subscribe to the brand new Just Law podcast on all your favorite podcast platforms. We are excited to continue sharing our stories with you in 2021, but until then, happy holidays! Stay safe and enjoy this (extremely long) winter break. See you next year!
Courtney Ruggeri is a third-year student and president of the Impact blog. Contact her at email@example.com.
During the past spring semester, I authored a blog post about how I missed the free coffee served by the BC Law cafeteria during the final exam period. During my 1L fall semester, I relied on that free coffee like a car relies on gas or a legislative body relies on annoying words like “heretofore.” I may have broken even on my tuition costs with the way I consumed that free coffee during 1L finals.
Of course, I was missing the free on-campus coffee last spring because I was not, in fact, on campus. No one was, due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
During those early months, things were strange and unfamiliar. You could feel the tension in the air. No one quite knew how the virus would spread, how disruptive it would be, and how long it would rage. Here at BC Law, classes (rightfully, in my opinion) were shifted to pass/fail grading while students and professors acclimated to the remote learning format.
As the Impact blog covered earlier in the semester, BC’s decision to go pass/fail led to a flurry of responses and emotions. Some were disappointed by the inability to boost their GPAs, while others were relieved to know that this meant they could dedicate more time to navigating the COVID crisis. But with exams just around the corner, I found myself reflecting on the meaning of exams and grades in law school.
Sure, at first after the pass/fail decision I thought to myself, “What exactly does passing mean and how much work do I really need to put in to get that passing grade?” Even with these looming thoughts, I still found myself regularly attending (Zoom) classes, keeping up with my readings, and getting a start on my outlines for finals. And I do not think I am alone here.
If you’ve been following the Impact Blog over the past few days, by now you have learned that classes have moved completely online and that BC Law has switched to a pass/fail grading system. Professors and students used last week to adjust to our new “normal,” but here is what I have learned so far.
Dear BC Law Community,
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), has created a widespread public health crisis, larger than what most of us have seen before in our lifetimes. This is not, however, the first-time members of our community have faced an unprecedented life circumstance. Your classmates deal with issues such as food insecurity, homelessness, chronic physical and mental illness, family tragedies, and much more, on a daily basis. When members of our community face these issues, absent a pandemic, we tell them to suck it up. We tell them the curve is what it is and they just need to find a way to solider through, or we contritely tell them “hey, B’s are still passing,” when we all know full well that in a tight job market, the arbitrary difference between a B and a B+ can be the difference between employment and unemployment. An overly competitive curve is all well and good when it only effects the have-nots, but when it starts to affect the “haves” as well, then we start paying attention.
Editor’s note: due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Boston College has moved all classes online and sent students home for the semester. The BC Law Impact blog has suspended its normal posting schedule, and bloggers are now focused on writing about the impact of the shutdown and the current state of the world on their academic and social experiences as law students. We are all in this together; let’s find our way through together.
I am a law student who, like everyone else at BC Law (and literally everywhere else on Earth), wishes this wasn’t happening.
I am a student attorney trying to figure out how to help my clients, since the courts have all but shut down.
I am a millennial who has grown up in endless war, and I probably have a lot of residual trauma from multiple mass shootings in my community.
I am a teacher whose first grade Hebrew students are going stir-crazy in their homes while I try to teach them on Zoom.
I am a daughter of parents whose small business has been shuttered in this crisis.
I am a sister worrying about my siblings who are suddenly out of work without a safety net to fall back on.
I am a partner of a full-time graduate student, who is also doing his learning and his part-time teaching jobs from our apartment.
But before all of those things, I am a human being living in a community that is being tested like never before, in ways large and small.
When it rains it pours. Or in this case, when it snows it… you know, snows more.
Students woke up to a different view than usual this morning, as a thick blanket of snow covered our surroundings for the first time this year. Even in the midst of dead week blues, I could not help but grin at the sight of my snow laden-neighborhood this morning.
This is the first place that I have lived that gets regular snow, so I took a moment to stop and take in my new “normal” on my morning commute, capturing the sights of the classic Boston winter weather I have heard so much about.
Thanksgiving break is quickly approaching, which means exam season is just around the corner. For our prospective students who are interested and for all of those 1Ls getting ready for your first round of exams, we thought it would be helpful for you to hear some words of wisdom from 2Ls who were in your shoes just one year ago.
The common theme: take some time to relax and come back to school ready to grind. Here’s what these 2Ls had to say:
Last Spring, we published the first of a series of posts about the bar. That post talked about course selection with the bar in mind; you can read it here. Today we are looking at the MPRE, which is a first step on the path to passing the bar.
In most states, before you can sit for the bar, you must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). It’s two hours long, and contains sixty multiple choice questions testing knowledge of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which most states have adopted in some version. The MPRE does not test your personal ethics; it tests how well you know the Model Rules and how you apply them to factual hypotheticals. Continue reading
The strength of my urges to go for a run, take a nap, and drink wine indicate that I feel the stress of finals. Like every law student, I have always lusted for academic success, but the stress associated with law school finals is different than the other exams and competitions I have experienced. Since most law school courses are graded on a curve, I am uncomfortable estimating how I will perform on exams.