Another Letter to my 1L Self

By: Bella Hohler (JD ’21)

Macro Photography of Eye

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.

The year that awaits requires many adjustments. You will learn not only foreign legal subjects like Torts and Civil Procedure but also how to completely rewire your brain to think and write like a lawyer — while also trying to make new friends, grasp new expectations, and look somewhat presentable each day.

But despite all the new information consistently thrown at you, I promise you’ll survive. You’ll even have rare and fleeting moments when you feel like you actually nailed an assignment or genuinely understand how UCC 2-207 works. But most days you’ll feel completely inadequate and wonder how you even got here. That’s okay. You are growing beyond your wildest imagination.

Each moment that you show up, do the work, and try your best is slowly building a deep reservoir of experience and knowledge. Now you won’t feel totally confident and definitely should NOT give legal advice, but you will feel as though all the work you’ve done has actually amounted to something. What that “thing” is has yet to be revealed, but you will begin to feel and think differently.

Although law school orientation will do its best to prepare you for this adventure, there is no greater teacher than experience. All the lessons you’ll learn and all the friends you’ll make will eventually help you appreciate that everything has a way of working itself out as long as you show up and don’t give up on all the hard work it took you to get to this point.

To be sure, law school is not for the faint of heart. It requires thick skin, uncompromising perseverance, and a strong conviction that what you’re learning will make a difference in your life and in the lives of others. And it will. 

So I promise that you will survive the infamous 1L year. There will be laughs. There will be tears. And there will be a lot of questioning why you ever thought law school was a good idea. But if it were easy, then everybody would do it.



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