If I had to sum up my 1L year in 750 words or less, it would go a little something like this…Undoubtedly, being a 1L is very different from being a freshman undergraduate student, but there are many similarities. In both cases, everyone gets to campus feeling scared. And anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or inhuman. You’re (probably) in a new place where you (probably) don’t know many people. And just like freshman year, you show up to that first class bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with your shiny new notebooks and fresh highlighters, only to feel like you’re drowning within 10 minutes of listening to the professor. And then, you get cold-called for the first time. If you’re lucky, you nail it and your 1L year is off to a great start. If you’re not so lucky, like me, you get it wrong and call your mom after class, crying about how you’re never going to succeed here. But eventually, you muddle through the school year and your exam grades aren’t that bad. So, after an entire winter break spent figuring out if you’re going to stick it out for another two and a half years, or drop out and work in retail for the rest of your life, you decide you kind of like making enough money to live on, and your English degree will probably get you nowhere, so you might as well go back and give it another go. And then, you hit the ground running and just. Keep. Going.
One of the most important lessons I learned over the first year of law school was that to succeed in law school, a student must find a healthy balance between his personal and academic life. One valuable way to achieve this balance is to find something unrelated to schoolwork that is more important to you than professional success. Before returning to school, I worked full-time as an academic administrator and held down performance contracts with three part-time symphonies. As such, my time commitment did not change appreciably as a student, in spite of the colossal amount of work required. What did change was the level of stress I experienced. Continue reading “Law Student By Day, Daddy By Night: The Balancing Act of Being a Parent in Law School – Part Four of a Student-Authored Series”
When I decided to attend law school, I never expected to find purpose in every single day. I knew with confidence that there was great purpose in my long-term goal: to provide valuable legal services to those who otherwise could not have access to it. But I never anticipated loving (or at least tolerating) reading the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, feeling such pride when editing my brief for the twentieth time, or forming close relationships with classmates from incredibly different backgrounds than my own. Yet every time I learned a different duty of care in Torts or finally “perfected” my Contracts outline, I was reminded how much I love this experience. Even during the most mundane parts of law school, I have constantly been encouraged to persevere.
“You must always have faith in people. And more importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.”– Elle Woods
If I could give one piece of advice to the person I was on the first day of law school, it would be to listen to my inner Elle Woods and always have faith in myself. On a Wednesday afternoon in early August, I received an email stating that I had been accepted to Wake Forest University School of Law. Classes started in two days. I was overwhelmed by self-doubt. Was I prepared for law school if I got off the waitlist two days before classes started? Was I good enough? Would I do well? Ultimately, after some hard nudges from my parents, and despite my self-doubt, I decided to go to law school. Continue reading “Channeling My Inner Elle Woods: Part Two in a Student-Authored Series”
By: Drew Winslett (WFU Law ’20) with a brief introduction by Professor Abigail Perdue
I’m a strong believer in the popular saying, “Don’t ever look back except to see how far you’ve come.” That’s why at the conclusion of each semester, I invite my Legal Writing students to complete a reflection, considering which academic strategies worked well and which did not.
This year, I did things differently. During our final Legal Writing class, I provided students with ten different prompts from which to choose. Each prompt invited a different kind of focused reflection. One asked students to discuss their favorite exercise, while another asked them to consider five things they would have done differently this year if given the opportunity. Students had the remainder of our 1.5 hour session to reflect, write, and revise. I invited the authors of the most insightful pieces to publish them here in a student-authored series. So without further adieu . . .
If I could give one piece of advice to the person I was on the first day of law school, it would be to know that you deserve your spot in law school. The first day of law school was more stressful to me than my first cold-call or my first final exam. This was the day that I realized law school was more than just an answer to “what are you doing after graduation?” Law school had officially begun, and all the horrors and bad experiences that I had heard from others came flooding into my mind. More than anything, the burning questions that had always been in the back of my mind suddenly came to the forefront – “Do I belong here? Can I handle the pressure and the high stakes of law school? Will I succeed?” Continue reading “Reflections on 1L Year: Part One in a Student-Authored Series”