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  • Writer's pictureAlyssa Mongroo

2 Down! 1 to go! Lessons from 2L

After about a month of waiting I finally got all my grades back from my 2L Spring semester. I'm so proud of myself. Of course there were classes where I didn't exactly love my grades, but given everything that was going on in my life, I am so proud of myself.

I think everyone's sentiments about this year are the same; it was hard. About two months into the semester, I mentally checked out. I could no longer focus by just staring at the computer screen. My eyes kept twitching and burning from staring at zoom for so long, and yes I have blue light glasses, but they did not help. I had one 3 hour class, and 3 hours on zoom was a lot.

Also dealing with everything that happened last semester was tough for me. I didn't want to leave home, but of course I had to. It took me a while to get settled into my apartment. I was having really bad nightmares, so it was tough. Then about a week or two after I had went back, rightfully so, people began taking a stand against gender violence in Trinidad. I kept seeing my grandmother's photo plastered all over social media. It was amazing to see how much people cared, total strangers. They recognized that she mattered. But it was a reminder that this had happened, and it was real. I actually stayed off social media for a bit. When you live alone, you have more time to see those things as opposed to just being around people.

But I also grew a lot from this semester. Right before my grandma's unexpected death I was selected to compete on the Phi Alpha Delta Mock Trial team. Practices started about two weeks after finals. I was still recuperating from everything going on, and for a brief second, I considered telling the team I couldn't compete because I needed some time to focus on family. But I've never really challenged myself. I have always been afraid of committing myself to something and not being able to stick through it. For instance I never committed myself to any extracurriculars in high school or even college because I hated putting aside the time. I always limited my time to just homework or hanging out with friends. Or if I did commit, half way through I would quit because I didn't like the way things were being ran or some other issue.

So this amazing opportunity propped itself into one of the most anxiety ridden moments of my life, how was I going to turn it down? I hesitantly, said yes. And it was challenging. It brought out skills I had in me, that I didn't even know I had. I had always been told that I was too quiet to be that zealous advocate that clients need. That I wasn't intimidating enough. My passion for advocacy, after a year and a half of being buried beneath the law school readings and stress finally made its way out, and it made me excited to be a lawyer again.

  1. Go for the opportunities!

My biggest piece of advice to any year law student, is that if an opportunity presents itself, you should take it and you should take it with pride. Be proud that through your toughest and darkest moments, you have an opportunity. It doesn't matter how big or small, just go for it. Try out for the moot court team, run for the eboard position, apply for the research position, send in your resume for that big law job. Just try, you never know what doors are going to open up for you.

2. Take classes you're passionate about

As 2L's and 3L's we can select our classes. I know this is the case with most law schools as well. I know we all get anxious about the bar prep classes, but its also important to take passion classes. How else are we supposed to know if we want to practice in an area of law? My first semester of 2L, I took classes like domestic violence, landlord tenant law (something I had 0 interest in but ended up loving). ). DV was something I was always passionate about but after taking the class, I realized how much mentally goes into it and I realized it wasn't for me. I would have never known that if I didn't take it! My second semester of 2L I took trial practice, and I did a clinic (Happy to write about my experience as well! Just let me know if you want me to!

3. Get active!

Zoom classes had me sitting down most of my days. Not only was I putting on weight, but I felt so icky and gross after. So I started taking walks. Mind you this was not feasible in the winter because it was so cold, so I went to the gym instead! Not only was I getting my steps in, but getting some fresh air and just being able to clear my mind was just so good for me mentally. I always feel so great after a good walk. I usually walk 3 miles.

4. Celebrate your wins

Some days it feels like you're just surviving and then you'll have that one day where something good will happen. Either you get a good grade, or your teacher commends you on your cold call or you did your laundry for the first time after a busy week! Those things deserve celebrating. They deserved to be noticed and even if you don't want to draw attention to yourself in doing so, you should feel so proud of yourself for getting to that point.

5. Don't be afraid to make connections

I think my LinkedIn grew more in 2021 than in any other year. Having virtual panels, meet and greets, networking events has made things so much easier. Not only logisitics wise, but also I've found that its been easier to talk to people in a virtual platform as opposed to real life. I think it's less intimidating for sure. I've been able to meet some great attorneys and mentors. I'm challenging myself during 3L to go to at least one event a month.

I hope these tips give you some perspective for your 2L year or just your law school life in general. As always feel free to reach out with any questions!

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