Being in law school does not mean the world around you stops. On the contrary, everything is happening but as a law student it is hard to realize it with your nose in the books all day.
This semester has been one of the most challenging semesters for me thus far. Not just because of my classes, but because I have been faced with having to balance “life” and my schoolwork. It sounds silly but no one actually teaches you how to do this. In an effort to help those of you considering law school and those of you considering having a “life” while in law school, here is what I have learned this semester:
Law students are talkers! We demand attention and we want a lot of it! However, our family and loved ones also have things that are going on with THEM that they also want to share. Slow down. Take a moment to ask questions but also to hear the answers. Don’t ask questions with the intention of interrupting when you don’t hear the answers you like. Listen! Genuinely dedicate some time out of your hectic schedule to your family and loved ones so you can be there for them. You will be surprised how much is going on and how much your family and loved ones appreciate you wanting to be a part of it.
(2) Schedule Everything
It sounds unnecessary but there is too much going on to keep track of what needs to get done and in what order. I never thought I needed to schedule the things I find scheduling this semester. This semester I have scheduled in everything I can, from when my assignments are do to when I have to go grocery shopping. Scheduling has helped me focus on one task at a time instead of leaving one task halfway done and moving on to the next in a frantic effort get everything done. Law school has so much going on. I am grateful I can look down at my planner and see what needs to get done that day without feeling guilty or unaccomplished.
(3) It’s ok to take time off
Overworking yourself will inevitably burn you out. Take a walk. Cook some dinner. Go see a movie. Go for a run. Literally anything that is non-law school related that you enjoy! As law students many times we feel guilty for taking some time off to enjoy ourselves, but everything with moderation is fair game. Studying 12+ hours a day is pointless if you are getting sick or you are so stressed you no longer understand the material. Trust me! I prefer to take a nap or go for a run and spend those thirty minutes doing that activity than to sit at my desk for thirty minutes miserable and unproductive.
(4) Don’t stress the things you can’t control
Life will inevitably happen while you are in law school. While you are frozen in time studying in the library, unfortunate events may occur that will keep your mind clouded and unable to process what you are studying. Like a famous Disney movie says… let it go! And I do not mean to minimize the impact certain life events can have in a person’s life. What I am saying is that if you have done all you can on your end to help the situation, stop stressing about it. You have enough on your plate to be handling other issues.
I do want to mention that if, however, the issues you are dealing with are too much to bear, seek help. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone. Seek counseling. Talk to your professors. Talk a friend. Be proactive about the situation. And again, when you have done all you can from your part, don’t be hard on yourself if things are not changing. Let things go.
(5) Remember why you came to law school
Most of us came to law school with the desire to make a difference in the world and help where there is need. Don’t forget this! When times get tough and you just don’t understand promissory estoppel or why it even exists, take a moment and reflect on why you are in law school. Read your personal statement again. Volunteer. Talk to others who have the same interests as you do. Remind yourself and ground yourself again to your vision. One of the most important things I have done this semester is remind myself that I am here for something greater than myself. When I see myself in the spectrum of all the things I want to do in my lifetime as a future attorney, the issues I have going on right now seem so minimal.