I have not written a blog since I started law school and it is not because I did not have the time. I honestly did not want to exert any mental energy toward anything other than law school because it was so draining for me. The workload was manageable but the emotional aspect of law school sucked me into a whirlwind. I knew that writing was therapeutic for me, but I threw my self-care routine and healthy coping habits out the window when I became overwhelmed. That shows they were not drum-tight (they don’t have to be because they should evolve as I evolve) and I have some evolving and preparing to do over winter break.
I experienced a high at the law school orientation because admission was something that I had worked hard to achieve (as did all the other students) and something that just a few months prior seemed unattainable. For some, the reality check comes during the first few weeks, and although the first few weeks were difficult to adjust to because I had been out of school for a year, my reality check did not come until after I received my first legal writing grade. That is when I learned that getting A’s will not come as easily as it did in undergrad. I realized that everyone was exceptionally smart. Even though my school is not as competitive as other law schools, I started to focus on the competitive aspect of law exams and grades. I started to believe that everyone was smarter than me. I started to believe that I did not belong there. I began to blame every unfavorable outcome on my circumstances rather than accepting personal responsibility. These beliefs festered into deeper emotional issues that could not be concealed with an avocado face mask or dissolved in a lavender bubble bath (although I tried). I thought I had dealt with these emotions until every doubt, fear, personal issue, and bad experience formed a vortex that consummated in a panic attack during my first law school exam. I found myself at a standstill with 1 hour left for the exam. When the time was up, I turned in the exam, walked straight to my car without saying a word to anyone and cried my eyes dry. I felt ashamed. Everyone was celebrating with drinks while I was curled up in my bed. FYI, I have not received my grades yet so I do not know if this story has a happy ending. However, my happy ending is my improved mental health. I took 2 more exams and despite the pressure I felt, I kept my head above water (even though the water was up to my ears). I still have a few weeks until I learn how I did. Nevertheless, I am excited for the next semester.
13 Things I Learned About Myself & In General This Semester
- I am smarter than I think
- I cannot save the world, but I can make an impact
- I cannot take on everyone’s issues
- Comparing myself to others leads to self-destruction
- Sometimes I need to ask for help but I cannot expect people to heal me (and I cannot marinate in disappointment when people do not care)
- I need to let my guard down sometimes
- I need to have greater faith in God
- Not everyone is against me
- Not everything is about me
- Even if the absolute worst becomes my reality, I will still have the blessings that I already have (my classmate told me this during finals week).
- My emotional flaws do not make me a bad person.
- No one can understand exactly what I feel. So even though it is okay to ask for help, I must look to myself to find healing.
- I cannot please everyone. (I learned this lesson, but like I said, I threw my healthy coping habits out the window this semester. Law school simply reinforced this lesson)