Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Learning to Fail

At a recent networking event, a lawyer asked me how I was balancing work and law school. I replied, a bit too glibly, “I’ve discovered the purpose of law school is to teach you how to fail, and then build you back up after breaking you down.”

Starting my first year of law school, the horrors of Civil Procedure and Lawyering Process taught me quickly that law school was completely different than college, grad. School, and any other experience I’ve had. I worked like crazy on papers and then would get horrible grades on them, for what seemed illogical reasons.

Now as a third year evening student, set to graduate in December 2013 (hopefully!) I’ll apply for an internship, a scholarship, or research assistant positions and not be chosen.

That feeling of rejection, of failure, transports me right back to fifth grade P.E. when I would be the last one picked for a team.

Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me, I guess I’ll go eat worms.

Without the right perspective, if you don’t step back and try to look at the big picture, as a law student you regularly feel like a big ole’ failure.

Recently I applied for a few student organization board positions that were chosen by a vote from your peers. When I wasn’t chosen for anything, I was devastated.  But later, I realized, that law school is teaching us how to fail, to fail gracefully, and then get up and keep trying.

While I spoke without thinking to the lawyer at the networking event, I realize that those words are true. Law school breaks you down, and then teaches you how to overcome failure and keep trying.

And if you keep trying, eventually you’ll achieve it. Life (or law school) will eventually throw you a bone.

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