Thursday, January 26, 2012

Finding Perspective in Law School

The past three weeks have flown by. At the beginning of every law school semester I  completely freak out. I stress out because I don't have a ton of homework looming over me, so I have more time to think about the bad economy, the fact that my full time job keeps me from doing internships, working as a summer associate, or clerking for judges. I start listening to the little voice in my head telling me I'll never get a job, that I'll graduate law school and not be able to pass the bar, or if I do pass the bar, I'll not get a good job because I'm not an A student and don't have a ton of practical legal experience.

These whispers of doubt cripple me, and I struggle to get anything done. I can't concentrate when I read, and so don't retain anything. I search for legal internships during class and don't pay attention to the lectures. I sleep more, literally burying my head in my pillows so I don't have to worry about the unknown future.

But then, I'm rescued. Usually after 3-4 weeks I confess all of my stress, fears and failures to a close friend, who then smacks me alongside my head and tells me I'm an idiot.
 And I am an idiot. I stress myself out. I do it to myself.

Last night, the Chef sat me down and we had a long conversation about my schedule and how I always overcommit to things. It's only the end of the third week law school and I'm already behind in my reading for my two classes, Corporate Law and Family Law. In addition, I need to spend at least a day editing an article for the Law Journal. Since I'm applying to be on the editorial board next Friday, I really need to get my article edits turned in on time by next Wednesday. In addition to my normal editing work, I also volunteered to write a Case Note for the Law Journal. I made an appointment with one of last semester's professors to go over my final papers, to see if I can convert one into a writing sample for job application.

This Saturday, the Chef's kung fu school is doing a ton of performances in honor of Chinese New Year. While I can't go to all of them, it means a lot to the Chef for the baby and I to go to the main celebrations in the late morning. I had considered attending a friend's baby shower, and hanging out with another friend later that afternoon. My husband, as gently as he could, told me, "You're crazy. Just say no. Stay home and do your homework."

I struggled with that a bit, but then realized he was right. I'm a hard worker, and always believe I can get everything done, but really, I need to be realistic. Usually, I feel terribly guilty for not being able to go to events hosted by my friends, and agonize about telling them no. I need to remember that my family always comes first, before school, work, and friends. But I need to honor my commitments with school, after all that's my life right now. I need to spend time with my husband and not be constantly stressed out-- I think the Chef feels my stress more than I do sometimes.

 I have my perspective back.

I'm doing the best that I can do. The future will take care of itself, and it's not helping me now to just sit and worry. I'm going to law school to benefit my family, to help provide a better life for my family. I can't get so wrapped up in law school that I destroy my physical and mental health, or destroy my relationship with my family. My friends understand when I can't spend time with them. But I don't want to miss any milestones with my toddler because I've planned poorly or I'm too stressed out to treasure the moment. I  have to remember what's truly important right now.

And in remembering, I need to kiss my baby goodnight, and then get back to studying. 


BeeBeeZfa said...

I do that 'cripple myself with fear' thing too. I always need the hubby to guide me back or a friend to give me a proverbial 'smack'. Its not just you. Good post. Made me think...

Michael said...

I think everyone needs one of those slaps sometimes; law school is so consuming... in every sense of the word.

Glad your perspective has returned! :-)


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