- Fear. Hey, law school is new. New things are scary. We get it. But you have some choices about how to deal with fear. That "fight or flight" feeling that you have is human nature, and you'll be feeling it a lot over the next few weeks. You can let it get to you (unproductive), or you can talk yourself into thinking that the feeling in the pit of your stomach isn't fear but excitement. (Same butterflies, but a much different spin.) Excitement is productive. Recalibrate what you're feeling.
- The impostor syndrome. Lots of smart people go to law school. When they meet other smart people at orientation, they start thinking that they themselves don't belong: Admissions must have made a mistake in letting them in. Nope. The Admissions Office rarely makes a mistake. What scares smart people is that, before law school, they did things that were innately easy for them. (Sort of like Matt Damon's character in Good Will Hunting. Math came easy for him.) Then they turn around and devalue what they've been doing because they've decided that anything "easy" for them can't be difficult for anyone. And law school turns around and wallops them with the demand for a lot of new skills, not all of which are innate to most people. Guess what? Law school may be more difficult for some of you, but that doesn't mean that you don't belong in law school. Your mantra? "I can do this. I can do this. I can do this." If that mantra doesn't work for you, try "No one can die from embarrassment." That one worked for us.
- Want to give yourself a little more reassurance? Two of our buddies, Tania Shah and Melissa Gill, have posted a free law school prep course (here). One of us (NBR) has known both Tania and Melissa for years and has worked alongside Melissa for the folks at Emanuel Bar Review (here). You might want to check out Tania's and Melissa's tutorials.
- Give law school everything you've got. Well, not to the exclusion of your loved ones, but our point is that you only have one chance to do well in law school, so buckle down and try to absorb all of it. (But don't forget to work out regularly, too!)
Monday, August 16, 2010
Welcome to law school, first-years!
Things you might be feeling as you start orientation: