September 12, 2018

Why You Should Make Friends in Law School

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Happy humpday everyone! Today I wanted to talk about a message for all the baby 1L's out there: don't try to go at law school alone. 

When I first started law school I didn't put too much emphasis on finding friends. I mean, I already had my high school friends plus my college friends so really how many more people did I need in my life? But the reality is that law school friends are totally different than non-law friends. The truth is, your non-law friends just won't get it. Even the pre-law friends can only empathize so much because they haven't actually gone through the rigors that is law school. Your law school friends will totally understand what you're complaining about, can help explain a concept that you're not understanding, and can give you peace of mind when they tell you that they also haven't got a call back about that journal/team/job yet so you're not alone. 

A big misconception about law school is that it's every man for himself. People will wrongly think, oh if I give my neighbor my notes from yesterday, then I'm helping her get ahead of me and am screwing myself over. This can't be more wrong! Look, the girl next to you is either going to get a better grade than you or not all on her own. You helping her out one day isn't going to make or break you. 

Remember, basically your entire grade comes down to the final. Do you really think helping out a classmate here and there is somehow going to make their answers on their final that much better than yours? If y'all really were that close on the curve, then there's a very big chance that because of the curve you're going to both end up with the exact same grade. So why bother wasting your time being rude? 

Related: Putting the law school curve into perspective

Storytime from my 1L year... we had a research assignment for my writing class so my entire small writing section were all in the library at once, doing the same assignment at once. Since everyone was waiting to use the same books I decided to just work from the last question up so I wouldn't be there all night. About halfway through I was again working on the same questions as the rest of my classmates. So when one of my classmates asked me where to find an answer, I gave them the book I had just used. A few minutes later I asked the same person if they knew what one of the questions was asking about, and they told me that I should just work on the assignment myself! Guess what happened? I had some strong feelings about that person and one day when I happened to be sitting beside them and they were having trouble with a case, I opted not to help even though I could.

The moral of all this? You're not invincible and you'll learn that you're going to need help in law school at some point. Don't think of it as you against everyone, think of it as y'all against law school. These people are your teammates and can help you in countless ways throughout law school. And beyond! You'll hear so many lawyers talking about how they've gone out of their way to help an old law school friend get a job, but also some people are in the position I was in during class and can help you but choose not to because you've burned them before. 

I'm not saying you have to go and befriend the whole school, but do make an effort to be nice. And constantly seek out people to add to your little study group. These are the times where truly, the more the merrier! This isn't like Survivor or The Bachelor where there can only be one person at the end. Sure, there's only one valedictorian, but there's plenty of people in the top 10, 20, 50%. If you try to cut everyone down you're going to be extremely lonely and I promise you're just making law school harder than it has to be. 

Related: How to find a law school study group

As far as cliques go, try to rise above them. One of the things that shocks 1Ls the most is how law school feels like high school all over again. I've seen several cliques who basically have Mean Girls-level rules in law school and it's ridiculous! Don't get too tied down and insist on it being you few til death do you part. These kinds of cliques can be just as isolating and therefore counterproductive as if you cut out everyone else from your life yourself. Try to keep some fluidity in your friend group and it'll help y'all survive all 3 years. 

I know I sound just like my mom right now, but go in with an open mind! A lot of people have totally different in-class and out-of-class personas so just because you wouldn't exactly want to sit by them every day right in the middle of the front row doesn't mean that y'all couldn't get along during breaks when you're venting about your days. 


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