Hi everyone! You might have noticed that I haven’t posted in quite some time. I’m very busy with law school and my job, so that’s part of the reason.
But I’ve also been dealing with mental health related struggles. I’m going to be writing a much longer post about that, but I probably won’t have the kind of time I want to put into it until winter break, so stay tuned. If you too struggle with high functioning mental illness, hello — I understand.
For now, I just want to say thank you to all of the people who have reached out to support me during this time. I don’t know where I would be without them, but I don’t think it would be good.
One of the best things about law school is that it constantly forces you to confront yourself. I think it’s easy to get caught up in allowing yourself to accept your faults, but being thrown into such an intense and competitive environment highlights and illuminates shortcomings in a way that mandates growth, or at the very least, recognition.
Everyone has flaws, but there is a strength in knowing yours and learning how to manage and take advantage of them. Over lunch yesterday, my attorney mentor and I had a long conversation about this. She advised me to “lean in” to my own strengths and personality, and I think that’s great advice. Knowing and loving yourself is a much better way to live than constantly trying to change into something you’re not.
However, embracing yourself doesn’t mean ignoring your faults. You must treat yourself with patience rather than indifference. You must give yourself grace in place of judgment. But you must never, ever give up — You are your own most important project.
In pursuing these studies, I’ve put a fierce spotlight on several flaws I would like to work on over the course of the school year.
Are we there yet?
Many people describe going to law school as similar to learning a foreign language. As someone who has learned two, I absolutely agree.
As a first year law student, I am learning bits and pieces of the law, just like a first year language student would learn fragments of her new tongue. However, frustration quickly arises — The level of either type of student’s ability to express her ideas is extremely low. The pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are thrown in a pile, and we’ve only just begun sorting edge pieces from center.
But there comes a point in the study of language when the puzzle begins to come together. Maybe the whole picture isn’t visible yet, but it’s easy enough to guess what it is. Your fragments turn into sentences and then conversations. It’s not excruciating to speak anymore. Your writing and reading become less and less methodical, and more and more natural.
I postulate that law school is extremely similar to language in this way. It’s horribly difficult for first year law students to begin to piece together all the tiny bits of the law we’ve learned so far.
And in my case, I lose patience often. I wonder if all of this will ever come together, if I will ever be able to speak with the eloquence and authority I hope to, if I’m wasting my time even trying to understand. I hope to build the patience to avoid these moments of panic in the upcoming months.
Going to the University of Oregon allowed me to be incredibly anti-social. It was such a big university that I rarely saw the same people twice. It would be an oddity to have the same person in two of my classes.
I have always had my handful of friends, but group events and functions are not my cup of tea. I much prefer one-on-one interactions to a circle of people.
Unfortunately, law school doesn’t care about my preferences and group socialization seems to be a mandatory part of the experience. I’m working on improving my group conversation skills and learning to be more comfortable in groups.
Sometimes I feel incredibly anxious when trying to participate in a large group activity like a networking event — I think that this is where being kind to yourself and leaning in to your personality come into play. If I really need to remove myself from a situation, I will. If an event really doesn’t seem important, I just don’t go. Facilitating personal growth doesn’t have to be auto masochistic.
Can’t I do it later?
Of course, I saved this one for the end…and it’s really no secret. I’ve always worked better under the pressure of a deadline, and my planning skills are far superior to my time management execution. I desperately want to improve on this during law school, yet I’m sitting here writing this instead of reading for school right this minute.
I could eliminate a whole lot of stress from my life if I actually followed the schedule I lay out in my planner every single week. Being more diligent and consistent in my schedule is a skill I am constantly trying to develop. Luckily, I already have the strength of being time flexible — now, it’s time to create a better balance.
I hope all of you are doing well on your own life journeys. I love to hear from the people in my life about their adventures and triumphs, so please don’t hesitate to reach out. My inbox is always open!