My apologies for being in some kind of Twilight Zone TM for the past six months. I started law school just after I wrote my last post, and I haven't really done much but law since. It's been a whirlwind journey filled with blood, sweat, and tears (the blood mostly from all the times I've slipped on the softball field playing those darned 2Ls). In the meantime, I feel as though I have lost part of myself, at least the part who truly appreciated who I am as a person. I'm hoping that at least a few others can relate. For that reason, I wanted to list some of the most important life lessons I've learned while undergoing the most academically rigorous period of my life:
1. There are some hobbies you've got to keep up to stay sane, no matter how busy you get.
Yes, I am talking about exercising, writing, drawing, eating something other than cookies and Cheez-its for dinner, and making sure you clear a path to walk around your apartment despite all the piles of papers and clothes everywhere (the last two aren't really hobbies, but still). Amidst the endless recitation of issues, rules, analyses, and conclusions, I have forgotten to bathe on my best days and eat on my worst. You can't live a sustainable life doing those things, no matter how well you have mastered the art of finding clean underwear under mounds of cover letters. Start freeing your mind and your closet today. Trust me, you'll be happier when you can see your couch again.
2. Stay true to yourself.
There is a specific type of person who tends to enter the legal profession: the outgoing, outdoing, outdebating, outshining gunner. People will tell you these traits are necessary in order to succeed in this tangled web we weave. Don't listen to them. Sure, there are some inevitable "fake it 'til you make it" aspects of law school, but what really matters at the end of the day is your commitment to your true self--your ideals, your philosophies, and your quirks. You are the only one who truly knows what works for you and what doesn't. St. Louis suburbanites can fit in with the California crowd too, ya know. :)
3. Do it! Whatever it is you really want to do, just do it!
It's simple: just go for that thing you've always wanted to do but never had the confidence to do before. As our lives become increasingly monotonous, it's important for us to take even more risks and see what we can do. Just as you need to keep up with your favorite pastimes and remember what you like/find amusing about yourself (see 1 and 2 above), you need to keep growing, keep exploring, and keep questioning. Looks like it's time for a new adult coloring book!
4. Take everything in stride.
You're going to receive a heaping bundle of pig slop from certain professors every once in a while. Or at least, that's what you'll think. If you're like me, you've never received so much criticism in your life. But THAT'S OKAY. It doesn't mean you're unprepared or not cut out for this profession. It simply means it will take you slightly longer to get used to certain things than the rest of your peers. And it will get easier, and you'll feel more confident, and you'll be freer to discuss your flaws openly. Gotta keep that ego in check.
I'm not the girl I was six months ago, and I think that's for the better. Despite what I've been learning, I've realized (slowly) that life is more than just a study of law, a compilation of rules, or a lonely night in the library. You have the right to get everything you want out of life and put everything you want into it, and a legal remedy won't always suffice. Sometimes all you need is art and music and pure unadulterated joy. Laws can't explain all the crazy stuff we do, and they shouldn't. Only we can (try to) explain that. And our opinions matter.
Law school may not always be super conducive to self-reflection, but it's good to remember every once in while that you're not just a soldier training for battle. You are a person living out your dreams.
May the dreams be with you,
More to follow...
Dress: Cynthia Rowley. Shoes: J. Crew.
Photos by Alex Zhu.