Sunday, June 18, 2017

1L Year in Review



Hello, hello to all my favorite law students, law school hopefuls, casual blog readers, or new friends stumbling across this page for the first time. It's been about six weeks since I've posted, but I took a little break to take finals, study, move for my summer internship, and reflect back on the first year of law school. But now I'm back, ready to get back to posting, and excited for everything the blogging world has in store for me. So without any further nonsense, I want to take some time to reflect back on 1L year and my experience as a whole.

It's crazy to think that at this time last year I had just finished my undergraduate degree. I had a brand new Bachelor of Science in Political science (an attorney I work with recently commented that this only qualifies me to work at Starbucks) and I was planning to move halfway across the country to start on my law school adventure. Like many incoming law students, I was excited, a little nervous, and unsure what to expect. I browsed blog after blog, scrolled through online forums, read all the books I could, and tried just a little bit to relax before I started on my new adventure. And before I knew it, it was August and I was a 1L!

Moving to law school was such a terrifying thought - after all, I was going to be 1,000 miles away from anyone I knew, embarking on the most difficult challenge in my academic career thus far, and trying to keep my head above water. So of course, life threw some extra challenges my way, just to make sure that I really wanted to do this whole "law school" thing. For example, my apartment wasn't ready until a week after classes started - meaning I was effectively homeless for a week. I couldn't do laundry, or sleep in my own bed, or even cook through my first days at orientation.

And orientation was a challenge of it's own. Although it was good to meet my classmates, explore the school, and get accustomed to all my school had to offer, the presentations from everyone terrified me. It was two days of hearing how rigorous the curriculum is, how so many students abuse drugs and alcohol, and how the search for our post-grad jobs would start right away. Talk about pressure! But after orientation and looking for a quiet moment, my roommate and I went to Starbucks to do our readings for the first day of classes. About an hour into our study session, I looked up at my roommate, and we had an epiphany together.

"We CAN do this," I said to her.

After a rough couple of days from moving and orientation, we had been feeling so discouraged. But in that moment, between the two of us, we finally felt like we might be able to make it through the year.

"Yes we can!" she said to me. And then we went back to studying.

Turns out, both of us were right. Before we knew it, we had settled into a routine of school and classes, with a few extracurriculars here and there. Of course, having an actual apartment helped with the whole routine thing. I was able to wake up around 6:00 every day, eat breakfast, get ready, then head to school around 8:00 A.M. Then, after a full day of classes with studying in between, I headed home around 5:00 P.M., made dinner, and then hung out with my roommates, went to a club event, or just relaxed a little bit. The semester flew by before I knew it.

Of course, this semester wasn't without it's challenges. There was a good amount of homesickness. I had a friend pass away in October, and had to travel back to my hometown for a funeral. A classmate of ours tragically took his own life due to the pressures of law school. And I watched my friendships and relationships change. But despite all of that, I made it through.

My first law school finals were an experience in their own. I discovered that finals were actually my favorite part of the year. Studying throughout the semester helped so that during finals, I got to relax, say goodbye to my friends for the semester break, and earn great grades. And then finals were over, and I made it through my first semester of law school! There might not be a better feeling in this world - but I'm sure law school graduation will beat it eventually.

Second semester started off rough. I was diagnosed with stomach ulcers, an anxiety disorder, and depression. My car got totaled in a massive accident due to a freak snowstorm.  But the friends I made in the first semester, comfort with my surroundings at school, and a strong will helped me get trhough all of that. By April, I was happy again, and the girl that was having a hard time was just a part of my past.

Before I knew it, 1L year was coming to a close. After feeling homesick all year long, that started to disappear as the year came to a close. I didn't want to leave my friends, my school, or this new town that was my home. Despite all of the challenges, I love law school. And as my last final wrapped up, I jumped in my car and drove back to my hometown with tears in my eyes. I wasn't sad, I was just going to miss it.

But lucky for me, I get to go back next year. I'm sure it will be another year full of challenges. I'm sure there are days where I'll feel discouraged, and sad, and like I don't know what the hell I'm doing. But after I made it through this year, I feel like I can do anything. Law school is where I'm supposed to be. This is what I was meant to do. And I'm so happy I get to share it with all of you.



Oh... and this is what 1/3 of a lawyer looks like.

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