1 Down! 2 to go! Lessons 1L Taught Me
I took my last final of 1L on Monday ! It feels so good to be done, I can't even explain. More than that, the feeling of putting in all that hard work, seeing myself come so far and grow as a person is just an indescribable feeling.
Right before my school (like many others) went online for the remainder of our semester. I had literally just arrived in Boston after spending my spring break back at home in New York. I wanted nothing more than to go back home and relax with my family, not knowing that wish would pretty much be granted. I was just so tired, and a week at home was not enough. When I complain about being tired, I probably sound like a broken record to literally the entire human population...but going home isn't just going home anymore when you go away to school! It's visiting friends, seeing family, going for drinks, nights out (because theres 0 time in law school), day-trips, before you know it the week is done and back to the grind again.
To be honest, I adjusted quite well to online classes. I think its because of my introverted nature, and my experience with my LSAT tutor conducting sessions on Google Meets. But nonetheless my class and I planned to finish our first year together but COVID had other plans.
A full year has gone by and I cannot believe how fast that went. It literally feels like yesterday I was freaking out about Fall semester finals and now we're done. Everyone told me 3 years would fly and they were right. I've learned so much about myself and so much about how to proceed as a student, future attorney and a human. Here are some of those things
1. Have an open-mind, you'll be more appreciative of what you learn.
This seems general, but it stems to so many aspects of law school culture. First, as 1L's you're going to be reading cases that will strike a nerve. You may not agree with these outcomes, but that's not your job as a 1L. If you get caught up in the idea of what is right and wrong, you'll miss the whole lesson since most of the cases you will read have a bigger idea. Your opinion isn't wrong and thats what makes you an important advocate. But we need to understand that courts, our peers, our professors think differently from what we think and they're justified in that way and we can learn from them too.
2. Make time for your family and your home friends, you will need them more than anything.
It's so important to have a support system. From day 1, you will be swamped with work, meetings, and you're not going to know where to turn. It's times like those you'll want to call your parents and vent to them, and you'll want to FaceTime your best friend from home and just talk about what's going on just to get your mind off of the chaos surrounding you. Keep in mind they don't know what it's like to be a law student, no one really knows until they're in that position. At times you might get frustrated because they may not totally get it. But you need those people to keep you grounded and sane, so cling on to those relationships and hold them close. Don't freak out though, because with time you will learn an efficient routine.
3. Find a routine and stick to it.
I am not a routine person, I'm more of a take day and see where it goes and how I feel person. But that does not cut it in law school. I didn't have a full routine developed until November of my first semester. By my second semester, I learned how to make one more efficiently. I woke up at about 7:30 every day, went to class, stayed in the library to do work, went home showered and slept and that was my day. I typically meal prepped on Sundays, would do specific homework on certain days, and take one day off a week, typically Fridays. I'd also try to go to the gym at least three times a week. That may not seem like a lot but my walk to the train was 20 minutes, so I counted that too (lol).
4. Don't be afraid to ask your professor questions
This one is close to me, because I'm still constantly afraid to ask questions, especially in front of a class of 150 people. I get so nervous that I'll be judged by everybody including the professor. But I was putting myself at a disadvantage because it would have benefitted me to clear up something rather than ask my peers about a question. I finally had to face my fear of talking in front of the class when I got called on. Which, lowkey I'm glad I did, because if I hadn't been, then I probably would still be afraid to talk.
The first cold call is the toughest one, but after that it's actually not that bad. You actually learn a lot from the cold calls in that you learn exactly what your professor wants from that call. I finally accepted other ways of talking to my professors, by emailing them, going up to them after class, and visiting during office hours.
5. Give yourself some credit, this is tough and its not meant to be easy.
Becoming an attorney is a prestigious opportunity that isn't for everyone, nor is it available to everyone. For the select few that can do this, it's a big deal. We worked hard, we got in, and we're going to have an impact in the legal system of this country one day. Law school is different than any school you will endure. Grades are different, the workload is different, it's just a whole new life. It's important that we take notice to this because at the end of the day we're only human theres only so much effort we can give.
The fact that you CAN do this, means something. Don't lose faith!