Do you ever get addicted to a simple little game? Solitaire? Tetris? Sudoku? For me, it’s a free Palm game called The Prison. It’s a breakout-type game where you bust bricks with a bouncing ball.
As I was playing The Prison recently, I had the stunning realization that it actually teaches the player quite a bit. I’m sure many other games like this do the same. Here are the law school lessons I’ve learned in prison:
Don’t count your lives
When I first started playing The Prison, I obsessed with making sure I had all 3 lives when I left level 1. My theory was that I could not get far without “backup” lives. In reality, I have gotten to high levels (for me at least) even after I lost a life or two early on.
In law school, and your entire legal career, you will have to take chances. Don’t obsess with having a spotless record; it won’t happen. Be sure to not do anything that will keep you from being admitted to the bar, but the world is pretty forgiving about most things.
You need a strategy
I used to play The Prison by simply trying to keep the ball in play. I had no strategy for which bricks to break or where to aim my next bounce. Needless to say, I didn’t do very good. When I finally started planning my approach to a level and aiming my shots, my score improved drastically.
Do I even need to explain the link with law school here? Everyone knows you need a strategy just to get into law school. Unfortunately, once you’re here, there’s still plenty of work to do. You can’t do everything, so you have to decide what classes to take, what organizations to participate in, what jobs to apply for, etc. Pick a strategy, tweak it here and there, and you’ll have better success than aimlessly bouncing the ball around.
Don’t obsess over points
The Prison has a high scores list, so I naturally want to keep improving my score. At first, I thought that focusing on points was the way to accomplish this. Finally it dawned on me that if I focused on my strategy and tried to get to higher levels, I would automatically earn more points.
Likewise, focusing on grades in law school will get you nothing but the reputation of a gunner. Basically, you can’t just think “I want good grades.” Instead, try thinking “I want X kind-of job,” or something similar. If you focus on a tastier goal than grades, and stick with your strategy, the grades will fall into place, where they need to be. Will you get on Law Review? Maybe not. But you might also have some free time to play The Prison.
[tags]legal andrew, the prison, law school[/tags]
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