The 10 Stages of 1L Year


So you decided to go to law school. You’re a little nervous, but at least you can tell people you plan on going to law school. That means people have to respect you. And respect means power.

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Then you get accepted. The dean called you himself! You matter in the world! Your Facebook status gets 400 likes. Pure elation. Everyone thinks you’re important and intelligent, whether or not that’s actually true. You’re at the top of your game.

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That feeling of jubilation lasts throughout the summer. Then suddenly, the first week of school is upon you. This is a whole new world, and it is exciting. You don’t know what to do with yourself. So many people to meet. Such orientation. Very law.

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Now, at the last minute, you decide to open your casebook and do your first week assignments. And you vomit all over it. Because what the heck is this stuff? You’re supposed to understand what a tort is? And covenants? And why is everything written in Latin and French?

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No worries though, it’s not like you’re the only one in the class who’s unprepared. No one else understands this stuff either, right? RIGHT? (Wrong.)

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Everyone understands this stuff but you. You’re just stupid or something. But even if other people haven’t read, it doesn’t matter because the professor calls on you every day anyway. Like it’s getting a little bit ridiculous how much he calls on you. There are thirty other people in this room. Pick one of them.

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After several months of this, the toil and drudgery of law school catches up to you. You are a sad pile of broken human spirit. You fall asleep every night in a pool of tears and have nightmares that your Con Law professor is intentionally inflicting all sorts of emotional distress upon you. You are a defeated person.

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Then–by the grace of God Almighty–you get a second wind. You realize that finals are all that stand in the way of you and freedom. You can learn all this material. You can give up sleep for a month. You don’t need to shower. This is your future. You are powerful. You can do this!

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But no. You can’t do this. No one can do this. Law school finals take the strongest of men and crush them under the Unmerciful Foot of Oppression and Contracts. And you are so very weak. You now understand the oft-quoted philosopher when he opined, “The struggle is real.”

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But at long last, it’s finally over. And you know what? At least you’re done. You can feel proud of that. One semester down, five more to go. Maybe law school won’t be so bad after all! Maybe you can succeed! Now you just have to wait for grades to come out…

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(See this post on BuzzFeed and Thought Catalog.)

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