Truly, law school life can change a person in just a flicker of an eye. In law school, everyone’s constrained to step up their game to keep up with the rigors of studying the law. I think this is somehow similar in all countries and jurisdictions.
Consequently, law students commit errors that may lead to destroying their relations with others, and even themselves, in the process.
Honestly, I don’t want that to happen to you.
Stop doing these 13 things NOW
If only I had a time machine, I’d definitely use one to correct some of the mishaps I had committed in the early years of my law school life. But since there’s no way for me to rectify my past mistakes, I just thought it would somehow be comforting to prevent others from experiencing the same bad practices I had.
This is my reason for writing this blog post. So, allow me to enumerate some of the things that almost ruined my momentum and drive as a law student.
Doubting yourself ruins your law school life and self-esteem
If there’s anything I learned in law school, it is that we are our own worst critiques. While there will always be people who will doubt our capabilities, it is ourselves that assault our self-esteem in the forefront.
If you are doubting whether or not you really are fit to continue your law school journey, let me tell you this:
You qualified to enter law school because you have the skillset and drive to become a lawyer.
I don’t know about other people, but for me, that’s more than enough for you to get the ball rolling.
So, doubts should end here. You destroy them right off the bat; you don’t breed them.
Being hard on yourself
Good things come to those who hustle, they say. I agree. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to work yourself to death throughout your law school life.
How can you reap and enjoy the fruits of your labor if you’ve been withered in the process?
So, as early as now, it’s about time to take things more easily and slowly. You can start by celebrating your small wins. Treat yourself with a box of pizza or pan of sushi bake after a good recitation or exam score. Celebrate the fact that you weren’t cold called at a time when you’re least prepared for it (Lol.)
Yes, you have to be serious with your law studies. However, it won’t hurt to loosen up once in a while.
Worrying so much
Don’t you know that worrying so much can take a toll on your health?
Worrying happens when you become too concerned and preoccupied about an event or situation. And as you do this often, you’ll negatively affect your law school life, lifestyle, appetite, relationships, and even your mental health.
In order to do away with this, you may want to find ways to calm yourself in whatever situation that triggers your anxiety.
Say, if talking in front of your classmates during recitations is your trigger, try to calm yourself with the fact that only your professor is actually listening to you. (Believe me, your classmates don’t listen to even half of what you say. They’re busy finishing their backlogs in silence. Lol. )
Also, you may try getting your own stress ball, breathing exercises, or listening to uplifting music whenever you feel worried about something.
However, if you feel like your worries are crippling you, or preventing you from doing your daily activities, don’t hesitate to go to a medical professional to have your overall health checked. (Prevention is better than cure, remember that.)
Comparing yourself with others
Stop feeling bad because your seatmate talks great during recitations while you think you’re not. Refrain from hating the fact that you have to work your ass off to send yourself to law school while some of your classmates affluent parents to support them financially.
We have our own skills, talents, and circumstances. These make each of us unique in our own way.
Instead of picking on these differences, you should celebrate them as your own — as things that set your apart from the rest.
Embrace your uniqueness. Now, if there is something you want to improve on, just work harder and smarter to develop yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Look up to them, but never make destructive comparisons.
Feeling guilty of getting enough sleep or adequate rest
I had this professor who used to tell us that “sleep is a waste of time”. For almost a year, I clung to this law school “mantra”.
Unfortunately, my physical and mental health suffered. I had to be hospitalized in order to realize that I should have taken that professor’s tip with a grain of salt.
When we are well-rested, it will be easier for our mind to be receptive to new knowledge. Then, we get to remember new information better after getting sufficient sleep.
Hence, sleep if you must! (Just don’t oversleep, okay?) Anyway, no one gets good grades by sleep deprivation or large eyebags.
You’re procrastinating if you keep on putting off doing things at a later time when you could have done them right away. Remember the times when you chose to clean your room or check your emails first before reviewing for your Constitutional Law exam?
Now, you get the picture.
Procrastination isn’t an issue of time management or will power. It’s something more serious and psychological than that.
Experts say people procrastinate as a response to stress or bad hair day. When you’re stressed, you tend to postpone doing your law school tasks as a form of distraction. Unfortunately, you’ll become stressed out again once you see your to-dos pile up right before your eyes. (Familiar? Well, they call it the procrastination accumulation effect.)
Meanwhile, Dr. Tim Pychyl of Carleton University in Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) proposes that procrastination is, above all else, a short-term emotion regulation problem. As such, we use it as way to immediately manage our negative emotions instead of doing our intended tasks right away.
There are several ways to overcome procrastination in our law school life. In resolving my issue with it, I stuck to doing one single thing that had always worked for me — the “Nike principle”, i.e., JUST [freaking] DO IT!
I believe procrastination hampers us to start on something. Thus, if we can overcome that phase, we can actually move on and finish any task no matter what.
Cramming throughout your law school life
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “cramming” as follows:
So, yes, we have those moments when we literally thrust ourselves to finish our 200 case digest assignments, assigned readings, or backlogs before an exam or a recitation.
But, you might say, “Tina, cramming ‘works’ wonders for me. I get to focus on studying when I cram.”
No, you don’t.
Cramming doesn’t and will never help you in long-term retention of learnings. Yes, you might be able to absorb the doctrine in a case you’re reading to pass a quiz or midterm exam. However, chances are you won’t be able to recall it by heart when the time comes that you’ll have to review for or take the bar exam.
One thing that worked for me is to schedule my studies and case digests ahead of time. This way, I don’t have to do EVERYTHING in one sitting. Plus, it had given me more time to prepare for classes, recitations, and exams without sacrificing learning and long-term retention.
Remember, it’s better to have your to-dos dispersed throughout the week and do small tasks everyday than putting them off at a later date and doing everything in one sitting. Small tasks, when consistently done, accumulate and garner the same, or even better results.
If you’re having trouble with cramming, especially with your case digests, I’m sure you’ll like a case digest checklist I made especially for law students.
Prioritizing your law school life even more than your health and wellness
Yes, we have to be serious in our law school life. However, it shouldn’t be to the point of destroying our mind and body.
As they say, health is wealth. Everything that we’ve worked hard for will only go down the drain if we get sick or crippled because of allowing ourselves to succumb to law school stress.
Hence, despite being the busy bee that you are, never forget your regular trips to your physician, dentist, or even your psychologist (if applicable). Also, make sure you nourish your body and soul by eating a healthy diet, being physically active, and finding time for leisure or passion projects.
Indeed, we all want to become lawyers in the near future. So, we have to be able-bodied when that time comes.
Spending too much time on social media
As we lean towards remote and online learning, it is unsurprising to have everything accessible over the internet — school announcements, our professor’s assignments, and course materials. However, we should leave things at that.
We can always unwind by checking our social media handles or playing online games. However, always remember that everything should be in moderation.
So, what are you waiting for? Stop stalking that seatmate of yours on Instagram and get back to reading now… or continue reading this blog post. Lol.
Unhealthily competing with your classmates will not make your law school life any better
If you’ll ask me, competition becomes detrimental or go out of hand when class relations and order are negatively affected.
It’s okay to compete for something in law school once in a while. In fact, in the course of our law school life, you may have already joined sports fest, law school pageants (we used to have this in our university), and other contests. But, to compete with your classmates to the point of destroying their class standing or school reputation is just scornful.
Please, let us not allow law school stress to take the humanity and decency out of us.
Being arrogant and thinking too highly of one’s self
As a law student, it’s okay to be proud. But of course, who wouldn’t hold his head up high after surviving grueling law school exams, high-level stress, and terror professors? However, we shouldn’t let this pride go out of hand and transform itself to conceit.
That said, you better take things easy from now on. If you used to butt in a conversation and tell everyone you’re a law student who learns the law, and YOU KNOW BETTER, well, STOP.
From here on, please remind yourself of the fact that no one has the monopoly of knowledge. While most lawyers are glorified for knowing the law and speaking eloquently, they don’t know everything. They don’t know how to heal and take care of the sick and wounded. Neither do they know how to build infrastructures nor defend the country from terrorists.
So, as law students, stop thinking and believing that we’re going to be Supermen and Wonder Women someday. NO, WE WILL NEVER BE. We should always keep our humility in check.
Remember, we should be studying hard and smart in law school to be part of the due and efficient administration of justice someday — not to show off, degrade others, or something.
Some say that the only way to survive your law school life is to be single all throughout of it. Well, I BEG TO DISAGREE (Ha… Ha…).
While it could be a little challenging (at first) to juggle love life and law school, it is not impossible. Just make sure that you’re dating someone who pretty much understands the rigors and demands of being a law student.
You still don’t believe, do you? Well, check out the article my fiance (boyfriend of 5 years, as of date) wrote about our love and journey here.
So, if you have someone special that you’d like to spend more time with as a significant other, do not hold yourself back. Who knows, he or she might be your “forever”.
Not living your personal and law school life to the fullest
Law students fail to realize that their law school life is but a little fraction of their being and of all that’s yet to come. We should always remember that our lives neither starts nor ends in law school. If at all, it’s just part of the challenging yet fulfilling journey we chose to partake.
So, despite being busy with your law studies, don’t forget other aspects of your life.
So, why not start that “passion” project you’ve always wanted to do or find a new hobby? Or, spend more time with your family and friends (without breaching health protocols, of course)?
Amidst all your backlog readings, why not allot a day for a romantic al fresco dinner date with your significant other?
Or, hibernate and sleep (if that makes you elated)?
The possibilities are endless in living your life to the fullest!
Share this with your fellow law students
I love reaching out to my fellow law students to help them in a way or two with hurdling their law school life. Accordingly, I think I’ve done my part, for now, by publishing this post.
I now pass on the ball to you.
So, if you find this article useful or entertaining, feel free to share it with your law school friends or classmates. You may also comment down below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.