Many thanks to this recent graduate from Fordham Law for sending me this email for a blog article! Want to blow off some steam? Write a blog, send it my way, and I will likely publish it! In fact this is the third time it’s happened and I’d like to keep the streak going.
5 Things I Learned About in Law School
1. Don’t get down on yourself: If you are attending law school right now, you have every reason to be proud of yourself. It was not an easy process to get into law school — you had straight As in college, you survived the LSAT. You are among the very top of the brightest people in the country. Do not forget that. Because when you attend your first year, your grades are determined by one final exam which is curved against the other law students. Those other law students are also in the top 10%; someone has to get the A, someone has to get the C. And if you are the person who gets the C, it is easy to fall into a pattern of degrading yourself. Stop! There is no reason to be disappointed in yourself and every reason to be proud of your achievement of attending law school.
You must be 100% sure you want to go to law school before you go: For many reasons, the above included, you must WANT to go through three years of grueling studies and stress. It is worth it if you want it. If going to law school is another way of putting off real life, or putting off looking for a job, or seems like fun because the lawyers on TV lead exciting lives, find something else. Go to grad school for acting or business or ANYTHING else. Law school can be miserable on a person who doesn’t truly want to be there.
The first year is the most important: This is not your typical “you have to get the best grades” reason for why the first year is important. Yes, that is true if you want to work for a large law firm and become a summer associate. The real reason why the first year is the most important: you are completely retrained to think and analyze. When you are rewired this way, you are analyzing situations at a much higher level. Basically, you’ll win every argument against someone who has not attended law school. Be careful with your new super power… it is easy to make enemies when you are always right.
Balance: The stress is on, the free food is plentiful, and the professors have assigned you enough reading material that you could be holed up in the library for 72 hours straight and still not have enough time to finish the next day’s assignment. You must find balance. The best thing I ever did for myself was load my schedule up with different activities: both law related and non-law related. You will be a much happier person if you have activities in your life for de-stressing. Join a gym, join the a cappella group, participate in your law school’s Follies. Do not just study, or else it is likely that you will gain the 1L 30lbs, and be miserable in the process.
Keep your non-law school friends: They are your anchor to reality. When you go home for Winter Break and everything you witness can be turned into a pop-quiz on Crim Law or the elements of negligence, chill out and give your non-law school friends and family some love. They miss you now that you are buried in books. And honestly? They are the ones that will be there for you when the stress and reclusive behaviors subside. Don’t shut them out! Reach out to them every once in awhile. They love you and will be there with a solid shoulder to cry on, especially when you can’t figure out the Rule Against Perpetuity