Getting through the mid terms for my third semester in law school has prompted me to reflect on how much life has changed since I took my first law school midterms, a year ago. My personal life is not much different, and school really isn’t that much different either. I think the major change has come from my approach to school.
As a 1L, every day is sensory overload. By the time I was taking my midterms in my first semester of law school, it felt like school had hardly began. During those first seven weeks, I had taken every piece of advice that had been given to me, which included how to brief a case, get enough sleep, and not overload my schedule with being part of a student club.
All the advice I had received, (from academic success office as well as 2Ls and 3Ls,) was solid advice. I am glad that I approached school the way that I did. I got up early, read, went to class, read, went to more classes, read, and then went to sleep so I can do it all over again. Immersing myself in classes and reading was exactly what I needed. Unfortunately, that is not all of what is required of a law student. By the end of my second semester, I started to worry: all I have done is go to class! I haven’t been involved in clubs, done pro-bono, or applied to internships. I started feeling unemployable, because my resume still looked the same as it did when I was an undergraduate. In fact, I didn’t feel ready to jump into any of those aspects of school, I felt like I was still drowning in my basic homework duties.
I took the summer off from school and legal activity, just working a low-key summer job. When I came back to school, I was motivated to tackle the internship search and resume building. I pushed back my feelings of legal inadequacy, which came from not having a 1L internship or working on networking within the legal community. Instead, I focused on club activities and getting my internship documents ready.
To do this, I ran for two club positions, Women’s Law Caucus and Health and Fitness Club. Through my affiliation with these two clubs, just in the last nine weeks that school has been going on, I have met more lawyers than I did my whole first year in school! Not only have I met them, I have gotten the opportunity to really talk to them: about their job, about their law school experiences, and about how to get internships.
It is amazing how the 2L year works. You come in knowing that the classes will be the same or harder than what you have experienced last year, but that is the great part: You have experience now! You know exactly how class time and study time works for you. You now have time for the extra stuff, and it isn’t so intimidating. It actually is doable, and those goals of a job after school feel attainable.
I now believe it is crucial to get involved in a student group while in law school. It keeps you engaged in the academic community, gives you the opportunity to network, and helps build your resume.
[caption id="attachment_545" align="alignnone" width="300"]
Members of the Women's Law Caucus with Linda Walton, Employment Attorney from Perkins Coie[/caption]