Monday, February 05, 2007

The 1L Diaries: KAH

This entry in The 1L Diaries was written by my classmate KAH, who also started law school in the summer of 2005.

I had a month off between graduating from undergrad and starting MichLaw, and I thought it would be a wise idea to sneak into the Law Library to read ahead for Contracts during that time. Although never having considered law school before my senior year, I was cut from a prototypical law student mold: anal, competitive, and for the most part relentless in the attempt to get ahead.

I worked hard over the summer, especially in Contracts, but felt my work didn’t reflect my grade (although the grade itself was fine, in retrospect). That experience caused a change – instead of working harder, I relaxed. Grades in law school are arbitrary to a large extent, and I knew I could bury myself in work in the hopes of getting that Book Award... or I could have some fun. Law school is a very brief chance to appreciate the nuances of the law, and network with some great people before you are thrown into working an ungodly number of hours for a salary that a 23-year old should never see. So this past fall, I went to every home football game, had an amazing 21st birthday, missed class, fell out of and into love, and experienced life.

I got a B in CivPro (maybe I missed that class once too often), but the world did not end. Many of my friends chided me for my seemingly irreverent perspective on law school – after all, they were up for that 8am class. But I’ve decided that these three years are far too precious and too short to be wholly consumed in the rat race for grades. Yes, they are important – and I will read, study, and cram... and even attend classes. But I will not leave law school with any gray hairs or heart conditions, and my future firm will have a young associate who is not drained from her time in school, but ready to dive into work whole-heartedly. I’ve learned that keeping a balance between learning and living is crucial.

In addition, a word of advice to any prospective law students in serious relationships: don’t bank on them lasting. The 1L year is tough on relationships, but I didn’t fully appreciate that until I broke up with my boyfriend of four years. Law school will consume you and your time, and in one way or another, it will change how you view the world and those around you. It got in the way of my race towards a 2007 wedding, but realistically, we wouldn’t have lasted for many reasons. Law school has made me much more aware of the practical difficulties of maintaining a relationship in that ever-mentioned “real world” that most of us students have yet to face.

In all, my first year was amazing – it has made me a little more relaxed, and much more content with myself and my decisions. Learning the law has been exhilarating and the intense 1L job search was surreal (going from sending out eighty applications to firms, to winding up with an offer from a great firm I met while attending a recruiting event at a local restaurant). MichLaw students have proven to be the most helpful, caring bunch of people I could ever hope to experience the past year with. And although it is a little cliché, seeing the Quad’s stunning beauty (especially on a quiet winter night) makes me hope that law students across the country feel as lucky as I do. My first year has really inspired me to make the most of the rest of my time at Michigan, and has made me ever so proud to boast a “Michigan Law School” sticker on the back window of my car.

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