I had made it through orientation and started law school. I was crazy nervous and excited for my 1L year. I knew that I would be faced with new challenges, new adventures, and I would get to learn about the thing I loved the most, the law. The first year of law school is lovingly referred to as the “scared to death” year of law school. And don’t get me wrong, I was shaking in my boots. Will I be successful? Will I understand what I am learning? What if I hate it? Can I survive? These are questions that plagued my thoughts. However, 1L year was not only the “scariest” year of my life, it was honestly one of the worst. I won’t blame law school entirely, instead it added to my already piled stress and tough times.
Within the first month of my 1L year, someone very close to me passed away. Before I was born, both of my biological grandmothers passed away. My mom’s eldest sister took over the role as my ‘Mema’ and has always treated my sister and I as her granddaughters. She was one of the most important women to me, right under my mom. She was kind and caring, always making sure you were in good spirits and well-fed. In September of my 1L year, my Mema passed away due to complications from pneumonia. The day it happened, it hit me pretty hard and I spent most of the day in a daze. However, I actually went to class because I was so concerned about missing something. The next day I decided to skip my Torts class so I could be with my family and de-stress from everything. While I will not lie and say that life gets better when you lose a loved one, I will say that each day does get a little easier.
I also remember how nervous I was on my first week of school. As a first generation student and lawyer, I was afraid that I would not be able to succeed or that I would not have access to opportunities that my classmate might have. Let me clear the air and make a bold proclamation: Law school is NOTHING like you think it will be. Everyone’s law school experience is unique but normally expectations and reality do not match. This is because law school is a new kind of beast, unlike you have ever encountered. My advice is to work smart, find friends and classmates that you can count on, gain experience from every opportunity you can encounter, and look for mentors who will help you along your way. I was able to keep my grades relatively competitive, find and job that I started the second semester of 1L year, and I made some lifelong friends. 1L year was tricky because I had to navigate through this new world. Not only did I have to learn how to understand the law, I had to learn how to apply it and the specifics of certain areas of law. It was definitely overwhelming but I hunkered down, keep my chin up and persevered.
So that’s how I survived my first year of law school, the “scared to death” year of law school. I made it through the most stressful year of my life and got one step closer to my dream. Although I successfully managed to make it through the dreadful first year of law school, I still had two more to go. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my bit of freedom in the summer, worked full time at a law firm, and prepared myself for the next leg of my journey. Thus, I began to prepare for the busiest year of my life, my 2L year, the “worked to death” year in law school.