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How Do You Measure Each Year?

Survived 1L?

1st year they scare you to death

2nd year they work you to death

3rd year they bore you to death

What a lovely old adage-so succinct and catchy, it really simplifies things. Thanks to those three lines, I have known exactly what to anticipate each year and have molded my expectations accordingly (or not). But, now that I am in my third year and have developed a fairly severe case of work-guilt (symptoms include, but are not limited to: feelings of guilt when sleeping instead of reading, feelings of guilt when grocery shopping instead of researching, feelings of guilt when cooking dinner instead of writing, feelings of guilt when watching a movie instead of applying for jobs, etc.) I have been re-thinking this whole concept and bearing in mind that this old adage has most likely celebrated its one-hundredth birthday, maybe its time for an update.

Sure, 1st year is scary, but only really in the way that any new, unknown experience is. 1st year is a challenge; it’s a practice in focus and perseverance, but it’s also fun, exciting, and gratifying (o.k. maybe only after it’s over). 2nd year involves hard work, but I wouldn’t say anymore than first year and its also when you can start taking classes that really interest you and start to discover the areas of law your best suited for. 3rd year is hard work, especially if you’re in a clinic, involved in other extra circulars or already working, and it’s difficult to work on made-up issues and cases in class, after being involved in real ones all summer. 3rd year is also burdened with the added stresses of job hunting and future life prep. But, its also the last few months that you will spend with this incredible group of friends that you have developed over the last two years and that you will likely never be in the same place with again.

I will say the old adage is definitely right about one thing: each year is different and each year has its own specific challenge. However, those are not the same for everyone and the solutions aren’t either. Law school is not your life, its just part of it (not unlike your full time job will be) you have to prioritize and make time for the other things that you enjoy and are important to you. I look back on the last two years with a smile (we’re lucky-we got to delay the “real world” for awhile longer) and I am looking forward to the months to come.

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