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Dealing With Law School Competition: Advice to 1L’s

As my 1L year has come to a close, I have spent time reflecting on the past nine months, which have been the most trying and rewarding year of my life. However, I had not realized that I have become so obsessed with succeeding in law school until I started the Advocacy Board tryouts. We were put into groups and told to complete a group project. Not only I, but my other teammates, struggled to even communicate for the first twenty minutes, we had not been in a collaborative environment in over a year. During those twenty minutes, I self-evaluated and became very conscious of how guarded and competitive law school had made me in these two semesters. After the three of us got over our initial shock we were able to begin being productive but what I learned from that experience is that the problem with law school is it breeds this competitive and obsessive behavior. 

As a college athlete, I can attest to the fact that law school is the most competitive environment I have ever been immersed in. In sports, you are part of a team and although you are expected to perform at your best, you always have your teammates to catch you if you fall. In law school, you have you. As an athlete, your teammates want you to succeed as much as you do, but do to the infamous law school curve, trust me, no one wants you to succeed. Now, please do not get me wrong, this year of law school has also been the most rewarding time of my life, but it has changed me dramatically in the process. It has taught me how to focus on my own success and to worry less about the competition, becuase we cannot control others. 

As a 1L you will be placed with peers that are equally as talented as you are and even more talented. You are put in a room where everyone thinks they are smartest and the most hardworking. Dealing with this company can be overwhelming and almost unbearable at times. It will make you feel unworthy and feel like law school is not right for you, but once you learn that it is you who determines your own success, then dealing with the competitive environment of law school will become more manageable. My advice to incoming 1L’s is to know that you cannot change the competitive environment, it is set up that way for a reason. Instead, it is up to you to focus on you performing your best and focusing on you, not what everyone else is doing. Also, after beginning my summer law clerk position, I realized that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that this dog eat dog environment of law school is only temporary, once you have survived these three years, you get back on a team. 

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