Discussing Imposter Syndrome

By: Professor Amanda Peters (South Texas College of Law Houston)Grayscale Photo of Human Hand

Like most of my law professor colleagues, teaching online is new to me. One of the many options unique to virtual teaching is the discussion board, which has been touted as a tool to keep students engaged. While I was unsure how my online class discussions would go, I was especially pleased with the discussion board responses I recently received on the topic of imposter syndrome, which involves the belief that you do not deserve to be where you are, that you do not belong.

At the online LWI Conference this summer, one of the presenters mentioned a TED Ed talk on imposter syndrome. I heard about this syndrome for the first time on NPR many  years ago. Although I had never put a name with it before,  I immediately recognized it from my own experiences, and I knew how harmful it could be.

I remember feeling uneasy about my abilities as I began law school. Two women in my 1L study group were ranked 2nd and 4th in the class after the first semester. I remember wondering whether my good grades were a product of studying with them or whether I alone was capable of earning those grades. I questioned whether I really belonged on Law Review.

When I became a lawyer, I doubted I was talented enough to work among the best litigators in Houston or whether I was smart enough to move from litigation to appellate work. As a new law professor, I remember feeling insecure that my office neighbors went to Harvard when the diplomas that hung on my wall came from Texas Tech. In each of these situations, I would eventually come to realize that I had earned my place, but that realization took time. Continue reading “Discussing Imposter Syndrome”

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A Letter to my 1L Self

By: Eimile Stokes (JD ’20)
Image result for eimile stokesDear 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”

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Everything is Fine

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:

  1. Yes, you can do this…
  2. but you’re not always going to be the best anymore. Continue reading “Everything is Fine”
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Maintaining Humble Confidence in Law School

By: Brandon LaRose (WFU Law ’20) with contributions by Professor Abigail Perdue

If I could give one piece of advice to the person I was on the first day of law school, it would be to remain humble and be confident. One’s mental state plays a heavy role in ensuring a positive law school experience. Confidence anchors this idea of mental wellness, the importance of which is emphasized from day one. There is a fine line, however, between confidence and cockiness. Continue reading “Maintaining Humble Confidence in Law School”

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