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Reflecting on the 1L Year – Florida State Law

In less than one month, my first year of law school will be over. The year that was infamously supposed to “scare me to death” is finished. How could it be that I am now almost one-third of an attorney? While I’ve asked myself this for the past month, through reflection I realize that I truly have learned a great deal about the law. However, just as my knowledge about the law has grown, my perspective on law school as a whole has as well. Looking for advice about starting law school always left me feeling dejected and just plain scared. So, to the student coming into law school completely clueless and filled with apprehension, here’s what I hope you remember before starting law school.

  1. Law school is hard

There is no way around this. The readings are long, studying becomes tedious, and the experience itself can be overwhelming. But remember, you were admitted to law school because you’re tougher than any of it. Whenever I’ve faced a bump in the road, my dad has always told me, “the juice is worth the squeeze.” Well, I can wholeheartedly say that law school is worth it. The days can be long, but the feeling of accomplishment you gain makes every struggle seem insignificant in comparison.

  1. Your classmates are your friends, not competition

Whenever law school comes up, a cutthroat environment is one the stereotypes that rises to the forefront of people’s minds. While it might be the experience for some, this is the opposite of my time so far. Law school has provided me with some of the most pure and honest friendships I’ve ever been a part of. People that were strangers to me less than a year ago now compile some of the happiest moments in my life. No one can understand the experiences you will have in law school like the people you’re going through it with, so lean on them.

  1. Don’t put too much weight on the little things

As hard as it might be, give yourself a break and look at law school in the big picture. If you forget a reading or feel confused during a cold call, let the feeling pass. Those things are not going to prevent you from earning your J.D. and passing the bar. Law school is a long game. Being consistent and dedicated is what will dictate how you do, not one confusing day in your contracts class.

  1. Block out the noise

Understandably so, imposter syndrome is a common feeling among law students. You are now learning along with some of the smartest students from their respective undergraduate institutions. The good news is, you too are one of those students. The admissions team would not have let you in if they didn’t think you were good enough. Don’t listen to the students that act like they have it all figured out, they don’t and neither does anyone. Success in law school is not measured by who raises their hand the most or speaks the loudest, remember this.

  1. Don’t lose yourself trying to find success

You may be put into situations where you have to make a judgment call. Remember, there is nothing worth compromising yourself for. Don’t get caught up in feeling like you have to look, act, or speak a certain way. You may be different from the image of a law student some might have, but that’s on them. As long as you are making yourself proud, forget the rest.

So, that’s what I’ve learned. I know nothing could calm your nerves leading up to the first day, but I hope you feel at peace knowing that it will truly be ok. Law school is tough and scary at times, but it’s also brought me joy like I’ve never experienced. Getting into law school is an accomplishment itself. If no one has told you this lately, I am proud of you. Now go on and become everything your younger self dreamed of.

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