I’m not sure if this is a nationwide thing or just an Illinois Law thing, but each year has a hashtag. As a second year law student, I started to deeply understand #2Hell year.
I don’t have many amazing things to say. This year was hard and I only enjoyed about 50% of my classes. I took a whole bunch of classes that I got to choose all on my own. Some of them were mind-blowing and amazing, others were snooze-fests that killed me during finals. But I don’t think it’s the class load that necessarily kills you. It’s the job searching, it’s trying to figure out what you want to do after you graduate, it’s about having to think more and more about graduation (and post-graduation), it’s clinic, it’s extracurriculars and it’s basically like being the middle child of the family.
However, I became a mentor of sorts this year. It’s weird to think of myself as a mentor since I’ve always considered myself a mess, but it happened. They don’t need my mentorship now (they’re all excelling at their internships <3), but talking to them and helping them had a positive impact on me, and hopefully them. They made me think about the kind of person I wanted to be and the kind of mark I wanted to leave on people. My dark depression probably would have been darker if I hadn’t had my little baby 1Ls.
This year was hard in so many ways and it’s weird to think that it’s over. I had a few personal struggles. This year made me doubt whether or not I really wanted to be in law school. I would call my mother and she’d have to convince me to finish the semester, then just finish the year. I obviously did both those things, but it was a fight to not give up in the middle of the semester (or week) and move back home.
So how do you get through those moments? It’s easy to get lost and forget yourself when you’re overwhelmed by classes and can’t think of one good thing about school and hate every living second of it. I struggled and I found a reason to keep going.
In the words of my insane Civ Pro professor: don’t let yourself get so lost in law school that you forget why you decided to go to law school. Besides the outstanding amount of loans that I need to pay off, I thought back on my 1L summer at Immigration Project, I thought about my bosses when I was working as a paralegal, I thought about my friends who motivated me to go to school, I thought about my family and the opportunity that I’ve received.
I don’t say blessing often, but going to law school has been a blessing. I am unbelievably fortunate to be here. I don’t enjoy every moment, but I know so many people who would love to be in my position. These last two years have been a privilege and I have to make sure that I make the most of it.
I absolutely know what it is like to struggle through law school. I struggled through these two years financially, emotionally, psychologically, and I’m on the other side of it now. So for anyone who feels the same… I got you.