Phew! A new year and a new semester is upon us. For the last week or so I’ve been hearing the same phrase over and over again: New year, new me. While this saying might provide inspiration for some and help them to accomplish those pesky resolutions, it isn’t going to be my motto as we start the new year. Over the last year and a half, I’ve created good study habits that have helped me to succeed in law school. A lot of trial and error went into my discovery of the ideal schedule and lifestyle. Now that I’ve found what works for me I’m very skeptical about changing it up in 2017. I guess you could say that I’m stubborn or afraid of change, and at some level I think you’d be right. However, there are two qualities that I’ll never change because they are fundamental to my success.
Persistence and dedication are the two most important qualities a law student can acquire. Sometimes the only way to get through difficult assignments or obstacles is to put your nose down and just finish it. No excuses or distractions, just persistence. Persistence can be a difficult quality to acquire. After all, being persistent isn’t always fun. It will often leave you worn out and drained. However, persistence can offer rewards that outweigh the side effects. By working harder and longer than other students, persistent students can overcome personal shortfalls. Persistent students have the pleasure and joy of looking back on an accomplishment and knowing that all of their hard work paid off. Persistence and dedication go hand in hand, it’s difficult to have one and not the other.
Dedication is a loaded word. It gets thrown around a lot and sometimes I think it loses its meaning. So what does that word really mean? Dedications means commitment to a task or a purpose. It means being diligent and responsible. It means that you must push yourself to do the very best that you can and to strive to accomplish the goals that you set. It means that you must stay the course and hurtle your obstacles and push past the difficulties that you will face along the way. A dedicated individual can look back on his accomplishments with pride and know that he left it all on the table. A law student must be dedicated to their own growth as a person, a friend, a mentor, and a professional. It isn’t a task that should be taken lightly because it shapes the people that we will become. In the process of being dedicated to our growth, law students must be dedicated to their school work and the relationships that develop with their colleagues.
I’ve yet to find the “secret” to success in law school for every student. However, every semester I come a little closer to finding my own. Persistence and dedication are the cornerstones of my foundation. I’ve used these qualities to succeed in law school. Along the way I’ve discovered more and more about myself and what works best for me. It’s a path that every law student has to go down.
As the new year begins I will hold on to at least two qualities: persistence and dedication. I’m hesitant to change my habits but I understand the need to continue to discover what other habits work and don’t work for me. I don’t know the “secret” to success in law school, and I doubt I ever will. However, I can tell you that persistence and dedication can help every law student accomplish their goals.