What’s important?

It’s no understatement when I say that I’m an entirely different person now than who I was at this time last year. 1L provided me with immense opportunities for growth, both inside and outside of the classroom. One of the biggest lessons I think I’ve learned is to always remember to keep in mind what’s important and what’s not.

 

What’s Not So Important:

Grades: Yes, grades can mean a lot of things for a law student, and a 1L in particular. But I cannot stress enough how these numbers, or letters, rather, do NOT define who you are or what type of lawyer you’ll be. Good grades don’t ensure a bid from a top firm at OCI, and bad grades don’t mean you’ll miss out on being on a journal.

OCI: There’s a stigma in top law schools that OCI is the end-all, be-all, king of internships and jobs. I really dislike this stigma, and I’m here to tell you that your self-worth is not going to be measured by how many pre-selects you got chosen for or how many callbacks you attended. Working at a big firm can be a great fit for some people- and a poor fit for others. I urge you to spend 1L looking for the qualities and characteristics of law that you want in a job, and then matching jobs to those elements. For example, in-house jobs are similar to big law in the type of environment they provide. Don’t make big law be your only goal.

Doing it all: One of the best things I’ve experienced at BU is having an endless resource in upperclassmen and young alumni to tell you what paths they took and all of the amazing things they were involved in. One of the biggest downfalls of this is that all of this wisdom gets compiled and can seem like you need to do EVERYTHING there is. Update: don’t do things just because you think you should be doing them. If you’re doing something just because you feel like you have to, you won’t enjoy it, and it will be uncomfortable and a source of more stress. Don’t do OCI if you don’t want to work at a big firm. Don’t go for law review only for the prestige if your heart isn’t in it. Do pursue OCI if you think a big firm is the type of environment you’d enjoy. Do go for law review if you’re interested in that journal for its breadth and experience you’ll gain.

 

What’s really important:

Taking care of yourself: Yes, you’ll be putting a lot of time and effort into school. But don’t let that distract you from things like eating, getting enough sleep, taking mental breaks, and decompressing. You will burn out and do far worse if you don’t listen to your body. I cannot stress enough how important this is, and how important it is to reach out for help when you need it. Talk to a best friend on the phone for thirty minutes. Reach out to the administration. Call your parents. Visit your niece or nephew. It’s very, very, important.

Learning how to Adapt: This has been the toughest lesson for me to learn over and over. I’m a planner. But more often than not the plans don’t always play out how I had hoped. I think learning how to adapt is a crucial thing, especially for law school. There’s a lot of moving pieces and sometimes they move in a different direction than you may have hoped. It’s okay if you don’t get the clinic you wanted, or the journal you wanted, or your dream summer job. What’s not okay is to give up when something other than “Plan A” happens. You could be thrown a curveball as little as not getting the partner you wanted for moot court to a curveball as big as needing surgery in the middle of the school year. Everything will work out as long as you work to make it so.

Remembering why you’re in law school: It is so extraordinarily easy to get lost in the work and stress of school to the point where you don’t remember why you came to law school in the first place. I know I complained, “Why am I even here?!” countless times to my family friends. But when I started feeling that way, all it took was something minor to bring back that rush of feelings about my passion to be an attorney. A news story, a book, a panel you attend on a whim- something to re-ignite that passion- can be crucial when you’re in spots like that. And at the very least, always keep in mind that it’s an honor to be at such an amazing institution getting a top-notch legal education. At the very least, be in law school because you got to law school- that’s an accomplishment in itself.

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