Law School,  Legal Practice,  Work Life Balance

How Can You Study In Times Like These?

Everything can feel so overwhelming right now with what’s happening in the news. It can feel like a useless endeavor to study for the bar when so much chaos is happening at that border and in our communities.

Even still, it’s so vital for you to keep going, to focus on the bar (or whatever goal you have this summer). Use what’s happening as motivation to get to your next chapter.

But I really want to volunteer!

I remember the travel ban last year and how people swarmed the airport. So many students participated in that as well. So, yes, you can certainly volunteer in whatever capacity you can. But make sure you have the bandwidth to do it. Double check the progress you’re making in your bar prep program; ensure you really do have the time to volunteer and study and work; and then be honest with yourself about whether you’re really able to juggle these things at the same time.

Well, I can’t really volunteer, but I also can’t focus!

It’s completely normally to feel paralyzed about what’s happening. To want to respond and not be able to in a way that feels satisfactory. So, give yourself permission to disconnect. Live in a bubble this summer. Don’t feel like you have to engage every single day. Keep reminding yourself that you’re working on a larger goal that will have a deeper impact. Don’t feel guilty just because you can’t engage like you would normally do.

Ok, but, I’m angry all the time

Welcome to the club. No, but seriously, we have a right to be angry. And as you’re working (so hard) to join this profession, you have a right to question your role in this system and whether you really want to participate in this. We’re seeing how the law is misused and twisted in a way that will result in the harm and devastation of our communities. It’s natural to see all of this and think, “screw this.”

As an immigration attorney, I can attest that it is hard. I am angry. I am disappointed.  Seeing the pictures at the border, dealing with all the damaging immigration policy decisions–I struggle, a lot, with managing all these emotions.

What keeps me going is thinking about the day after the election. That day, I worked all day to file an application for a large family–the largest application I had ever filed. It felt like a relief to file a case in the midst of a sudden, devastating loss. And then the next week, I filed another. I keep reminding myself that I have a duty to my clients. I recognize that my role as an attorney allows me to advocate and defend them, in a legal capacity, that only my law license allows.

When you’re feeling guilty, or sad, or upset remind yourself that the time you’re taking to study/work isn’t selfish or futile. It’s the next step to your goal. Your goal won’t just change your life, but will allow you to change other people’s, while changing an unfair and unjust system as well.

We need you, license in hand, so please keep going!

One Comment

  • Karen

    THANK YOU for describing exactly how I feel…useless to help for now but enduring those property questions (I practice immigration, when am I really going to use all that easement and RAP knowledge? probably never) .
    However,I keep picturing the day I get my license so I would be actually be able to volunteer and go to the border again to use my Spanish and legal skill to help all those people.