I was lucky enough to attend UVA for both college and law school. I will try my best to share some wisdom about how to survive and perhaps even thrive in law school.
I won’t talk about grades or how to get a job. You will have to do your best with those things. At the end of the day, law school is about toughness, endurance, and perseverance. Bumps in the road will come no matter how hard you try to avoid them. The key is to keep going forward and not let obstacles stand in your way.
First, at some point you will think you were crazy to go to law school. It might come after your first set of grades or after interview rejections or after some professor cold calls you and you freeze. I would go far as to say that something is wrong if you don’t have such a moment. Have faith in your decision and your ability because this too will pass.
Second, to paraphrase Aeschylus, a law student who learns must suffer. College was a lot of fun, and law school was a lot of work. That is not necessarily a bad thing because you will learn a lot and gain the skills to be successful in your career. You might even have some fun, but just know that there is a lot more work than college.
Third, get outside your comfort zone. In your first year, you will have to study topics you don’t know anything about and take classes you don’t want to. Once you are able to pick your classes, there is a temptation to stick with the familiar. Try your best to take a few classes you never thought you would take. Law school will be more rewarding if you learn not just what you want to learn, but what you can learn.
Finally, embrace the challenge. Law school will push you to your limits and there will be times when you fail, but you will get back up and be stronger for it. If you embrace the challenge, you can roll with the punches until you come out on top.
Law school is not for everyone, but that does not mean it is for no one. If the preceding advice didn’t scare you off, then law school might be for you. And if you think law school is for you, have confidence in yourself and give it all you got because you are going to need it.
Post by Sam Shirazi (CLAS ’10, LAW ’15)
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