Law School · Legal Practice · Work Life Balance

Life After Law School Finals

This is re-post from last year, but it still holds true! Enjoy your break! And for those of us practicing, take advantage of the season to indulge in self-care!

Seven years ago, my husband (then boyfriend) and I celebrated our first Christmas together after finishing my first semester of law school.   I recently stumbled across a picture of our tree:

Christmas 2007

I have to smile at the sparseness of the apartment; the newspaper wrapping paper; and the window treatments because the apartment was always freezing!  The struggle was real!  Aside from upping my decoration game, this picture reminds of the difficulties of  that first semester.

During the midst of my first semester finals (and almost all the other final seasons thereafter), I always felt this constant pressure of anxiety that I’m sure many people feel.  Would my grades be good enough?  Would I pass the bar?  Would I find a job? Would I be a good attorney? This stress causes a real impact on our lives.  It’s not just feeling bad or grumpy for a short period, rather it can affect both our mind and body in negative long-lasting ways.

Now that the finals cycle is over for most people, I hope everyone is doing all they can to be happy and relaxed.  But while you’re trying to be happy, it’ll be inevitable that those bad thoughts may still creep up on you.  Have grades posted?  What if I don’t get good grades?  What if I can’t find a summer job?  I had those thoughts and they don’t do anything but make you question your own worth (and remember we have to be our biggest cheerleaders).  Those thoughts steal our joy and increase stress and anxiety.  Take it from me, and do your best to banish those thoughts!  Instead, visualize past next semester and picture your life 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years from now.   What good will you do with your J.D.?  What positive change will you bring about to yourself, your family, and your community?

I look back at my first Christmas and I can remember how horrible the weeks leading up to it were, but it’s also such a great reminder of how far I’ve come since then.   I look at my current tree and am grateful for all the change; not in material sense, but rather at how different (and happier) life has become.

Christmas 2014

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