Life as a Law Student

Wait, no. Law students don’t have lives outside of school, do they?

Okay, so my experience as a law student has different from the more traditional student. In August, I’ll be starting my fourth year as a part-time law student. THIS IS MY FINAL YEAR, Y’ALL. I can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

These have been an incredibly difficult four years. I’m busy as heck between work and school, so I’m worn out a lot. Which, is honestly okay because these two things are what I need to be the most focused on in this season of my life. But I’m also so glad that’s changing soon.

There’s an old adage that the years in law school follow a pattern: scare you to death (1L), work you to death (2L), bore you to death (3L & 4L). I’m here to tell you that this is true. 1L year is terrifying. Everything is brand new, people are speaking a different language- legalese is real. You learn to think in a different way.

Around the country, law schools have a pretty standard curriculum for 1L students. 1L meaning 1st year students– this pattern continues the whole time you’re in law school, think of it as 1-Law or 2-Law. Those classes are the core, foundation courses that the upper level classes are based on: Contracts, Torts, Property, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, and Legal Writing. Another foundation course is Constitutional Law, but that’s typically done in the 2L year (or 3L in my case).

Since I’m a part-time student I’ve had to take summer classes every year. But at AJMLS, summer classes are only taught at night, and are only 7 weeks long. Sure, they meet twice a week, so this summer I’m on campus 4 nights a week and that’s ROUGH. But you have to hope with every fiber of your being that the time will FLY through the summer.

But with so little time, how do I have time for my own personal interests?

I’ve always been a very involved student, going back to at least high school. I have always found at least one organization on my school campuses that I’ve been very passionate about. And honestly? I think that helps to keep me in balance. I’m good when I’m busy- but also that’s the only way I’ve known for a long time. I stay busy.

Last August, one of my classmates started talking to me about the Junior League of Atlanta, which is a community service and advocacy organization of 3,500 women in the Atlanta area. And I have totally thrown myself into loving the League. (I’ll do a post on what I’ve learned in the League soon!) The JLA isn’t like what you’d think from a southern women’s organization that’s over 100 years old (ie pearls and tea or something), it’s so much more than that. Yes, there are women in their pearls. But they are advocates. They are forward thinking, dedicated, smart, kick ass women who want to make a change in the world for the better. They are tackling big, fat, ugly issues that other people don’t want to touch with a ten foot pole.

But, JLA also has a great social scene. That has helped me immensely with getting my butt out of the house and away from my books.

I’ve committed to carving out time away from school, away from work, to focus on things and organizations that align with my personal passions. I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s certainly not. There’s a sense of guilt that can come with carving out “you time” because you start to feel that you should be dedicating that time to studying (or whatever your personal thing is). So again, I’m not saying it’s easy. But I am saying it’s worth it. It’s worth it to become a more well rounded person, and it’s helping me to find my passions.

What organizations are you a part of, that help to spark your passion? Tell me about them in the comments!

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