By: Bella Hohler (JD ’21)
Dear 1L Self,
Where to even begin . . . the entire year seems to have been such a whirlwind. I remember my first day of class and the hope, nervousness, and anticipation I felt. I knew I was embarking on something monumental, but I didn’t realize just how monumental it was. Continue reading “Another Letter to my 1L Self”
By: Eimile Stokes (JD ’20)
Dear 1L self,
This year will be harder than you think it’s going to be. It’s very different than things you’ve done before. But the good news is, YOU SURVIVE, and you’re a better, smarter, stronger, and more motivated person because of it.
The fact that everyone is telling you how hard law school is may be intimidating. After all, it’s frustrating to do the very best you can all while people are constantly telling you how much harder things will get. However, instead of being discouraged by their kind warnings, be empowered, be confident, and be ready.
That positive outlook will help you overcome challenges, celebrate successes, and see failures simply as areas where you have room to grow. There is so much growing to be had this year, and if you don’t accept that you can grow, you will fall behind as everyone else moves forward. Continue reading “A Letter to my 1L Self”
By: Eleanor (“Nell”) Tebbetts (JD ’21) with a Preface and Afterword by Professor Abigail L. Perdue
Preface: Each spring during our final session, I invite my first-year Legal Writing students to complete an ungraded reflection exercise. I provide several prompts, one of which encourages each student to write a short letter to the person he or she was on the first day of law school. Nell’s funny and candid letter is reprinted below with her permission.
Dear August 2018 Nell,
So here are the two things that really matter:
- Yes, you can do this…
- but you’re not always going to be the best anymore. Continue reading “Everything is Fine”
By: Professor Heidi Brown
It’s 1L oral argument season again. Many legal writing faculty colleagues are eagerly gearing up to schedule argument practice rounds for their students as part of the course curriculum. I’ll admit, this component of our 1L legal writing curriculum gives me residual angst. I sit in my office staring at my syllabus and wishing my students could just slide their appellate briefs into a dropbox and skip right to summer break. I know, I know…I’m the educator now, not the traumatized 1L student I once was. My disastrous oral argument was nearly three decades ago. I should be over it by now, right? I should be excited to impart wisdom to my students about the substance and style of oral persuasion. I’m not. Instead, I absorb the anxiety and fear that many of them experience about this law school rite of passage. The anxiety and fear are real. They’re palpable. Continue reading “Untangling Students’ Fears about 1L Oral Arguments”
By: Kathleen Elliott Vinson & Shailini J. George
“I am anxious, stressed, and tired all the time. I have a headache, and my body aches. I feel stupid. I’m not good enough. Why am I the only one who doesn’t get it? I’ll never get all this work done. I feel so overwhelmed. I feel like I am surviving but not living.”
Does this sound familiar: negative thoughts, physical tension, anxiety, and stress? You are not alone. This message plays in the mind of many students, colleagues, and even clients.
Lawyer well-being should begin in law school. While law school tends to focus on teaching students how to “think like a lawyer” to prepare them for practice, what about students’ psychological, emotional, and physical well-being? How are students learning these important skills that are also essential in preparing them for the stresses of law practice? They may be more important than you think to enhance lifelong resilience and success. To be an effective advocate for your client, you must first take care of yourself. It is hard to be a good lawyer if you are not a healthy lawyer. Continue reading “Educating The Whole Lawyer: Mind, Body, and Spirit”