5 Valuable Life Lessons I Learned in Law School
Everything we go through in life is meant to teach us lessons and my time in law school was no different. I was not the most studious student in undergrad, but somehow, not only did I gain admission into law school, but I graduated seamlessly.
A deep passion of mine is mentor ship and over the years, there are a few nuggets of information I’ve gained that I believe anyone interested in law school, or any postgraduate program, could use. Here it goes….
5 Life Lessons I Learned in Law School
1. Comparison is the Enemy of Progress
I learned early on that my law school journey was about me and not my classmates.
Everyone is on a different path with different interests, passions, and goals. I believe every experience helps shape and grow us and quite frankly, we do not know how that experience or thing is meant to grow that classmate we envy or how our experiences need to grow us.
Do not compare yourself to others. Do not think yourself lowly, do not think yourself highly.
Just focus on what you are presently meant to do and who you aspire to be. None of that should be affected by what anyone else is doing.
2. Flexibility is Your Biggest Asset
A clenched fist yields no return. Nothing can leave it, nothing can enter it. It is okay to want what you want or do things how you usually do them, but sometimes, it is necessary to be flexible to new ideas and new opportunities.
For example, start with your study habit or work ethic from undergrad or previous jobs, but be open.
Perhaps you may need to adjust according to what your professor or course load requires. Maybe that talkative classmate’s way of studying is actually helpful, whether you adopt it fully or partially.
This approach is beneficial when internship opportunities in the area of law or field you never entertained present themselves and classmates who you have heard negative things about want to personally get to know you.
Sometimes you just do not know what you like until you try it. An open hand yields favorable return.
3. Knowing Your Worth Gets You What You Need
A lot of times, people only know what they see or what you tell them. The days of modesty are behind us. There is a fine line between humility and self-advocacy.
To love oneself is to know one self. The more you put in time to know who you are and what you want, the more you will love yourself. Similarly, the more you love yourself, you will know your worth. This fact will be known by those who observe you and speak to you.
From personal experience, the feeling of inadequacy can be very hard to shake off. Most times, people see things in us that we do not see in ourselves, which can be an obstacle in reaching our fullest potential.
Knowing your worth goes with knowing your qualities, your skills, and your talents. When you know these things, you can boldly apply yourself to situations and opportunities. [bctt tweet=”Knowing your worth goes with knowing your qualities, your skills, and your talents. When you know these things, you can boldly apply yourself to situations and opportunities.” username=”onesavvydollar”] You can make somebody pay attention to you.
Know your worth so you can apply for that leadership position, so you can apply for that scholarship, so you can apply for that job position your insecurities tell you that you do not qualify for.
If you do not believe in yourself, who will?
4. Closed Mouths Don’t Get Fed
Pride truly comes before destruction. There is no way around it.
Time after time I have seen and heard of students who do not understand what they read or what the professor said, but thought they were better off figuring things out on their own.
Sure, there is nothing wrong with troubleshooting, but at a point, you need to open your mouth. Waiting for finals period to ask questions is not wise.
Whether you came directly from undergrad or had time off to work, it is an even playing field (unless you have been in law school before).
Everyone is new and anxious. Neither shame nor pride should deter you. Chances are, your classmates have the same questions you have. Ask before class, during class, after class, and during office hours. Closed mouths don’t get fed.
5. Your Health is More Important Than Getting an “A”
There is no GPA in the world that is worth your life. I have seen classmates, and even Attorneys, who work themselves into the ground.
I think the byproduct of a capitalistic nation is the neglect of self-care and rest. Instead of making our schedule work for us and our goals, we work for our schedule.
My spiritual health was always important to me so I made sure to plug into a church and get involved. It gave me a life outside of law school! What I did not do until my last year was seek counseling and become physically fit.
A counselor or therapist is not required but when you are unable to cope with stress and the things you face in law school and your personal life, you just have to seek the resources and tools that help you deal.
My counselor helped me cope with a breakup, failed professional aspirations, and other personal matters.
I stopped letting my schedule control what and when I would eat and got back in the gym. Course loads and internships are draining.
But just as you prioritize going for drinks and watching TV shows, begin to prioritize your health.
Take naps, talk about non-school related things with friends, play basketball, cook, read a novel, and travel. Your “A” will come more easily when you are more rested and joyful.
This article is a guest post from Oluchi Ifebi. A 2017 graduate of The John Marshall Law School. She is passionate about public service work and writing. She hopes her voice can add something meaningful to the various discussions out there.
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