By: Drew Winslett (WFU Law ’20) with a brief introduction by Professor Abigail Perdue
I’m a strong believer in the popular saying, “Don’t ever look back except to see how far you’ve come.” That’s why at the conclusion of each semester, I invite my Legal Writing students to complete a reflection, considering which academic strategies worked well and which did not.
This year, I did things differently. During our final Legal Writing class, I provided students with ten different prompts from which to choose. Each prompt invited a different kind of focused reflection. One asked students to discuss their favorite exercise, while another asked them to consider five things they would have done differently this year if given the opportunity. Students had the remainder of our 1.5 hour session to reflect, write, and revise. I invited the authors of the most insightful pieces to publish them here in a student-authored series. So without further adieu . . .
If I could give one piece of advice to the person I was on the first day of law school, it would be to know that you deserve your spot in law school. The first day of law school was more stressful to me than my first cold-call or my first final exam. This was the day that I realized law school was more than just an answer to “what are you doing after graduation?” Law school had officially begun, and all the horrors and bad experiences that I had heard from others came flooding into my mind. More than anything, the burning questions that had always been in the back of my mind suddenly came to the forefront – “Do I belong here? Can I handle the pressure and the high stakes of law school? Will I succeed?” Continue reading “Reflections on 1L Year: Part One in a Student-Authored Series”
For many law students, Criminal Law can be a difficult first-year course. It is less like a Law and Order episode and more like a philosophy class focused on abstract ideas like the purpose of punishment and the meaning of intent. Criminal Law professors can use experiential learning to help students connect these abstract ideas to tangible cases. One excellent example is a jury simulation that several Criminal Law professors at Wake Forest jointly developed to use with their sections. While this activity involved a criminal case, many of the practical lessons learned apply with equal force to all jury trials, whether criminal or civil, and similar experiential learning exercises can be used in other courses. Continue reading “Jury Duty Serves Double Duty: How an Experiential Jury Simulation Reinforces Classroom Content and Teaches Practical Skills”
The first year of law school can be challenging. In my experience, most law students were the best and brightest at their undergrad and now have to compete against other, equally qualified candidates. Most 1Ls do not have any legal experience and are easily intimidated by professors who are titans in their fields. Despite these hurdles, my first-year professors have established warm and inviting classroom environments that put students at ease while still challenging us to improve. As a teacher turned law student, I wanted to share the following strategies that may help create a more positive learning environment in your classroom: Continue reading “Fostering a Positive Learning Environment: A Law Student’s Perspective”
When I was eight years old, I went on my first field trip. The entire third grade class traveled in five yellow school buses from Fort Sam Houston to the Capitol Building in Austin, Texas. Earlier that month our classroom lessons had showcased state government civics. Now at the Capitol, we enjoyed a tour and got to see where the Texas legislature did its work. While eight-year-old minds aren’t known for expansive abstract thinking, seeing the concepts we learned in class come to life made those civics’ lessons stick.
On September 20, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (“Fourth Circuit”) held oral argument at the Worrell Professional Center at Wake Forest University. The Fourth Circuit brought the “field” to us. Seeing the Fourth Circuit in action was a valuable learning experience. Continue reading “Field Trip”
No one messed around in Mr. Stanton’s class. The stout, well-manicured 11th grade English teacher always wore a three-piece suit. Patches of wisdom peppered his perfectly trimmed beard. With a loud and raspy voice, this feisty scholar commanded respect. But very few students feared Mr. Stanton. Nearly everyone loved him. He was the best teacher I’ve ever had. Law professors can be more effective by incorporating some of Mr. Stanton’s qualities into their teaching.