Ms. Pre-JD: How Important is ‘Fun’?

At a panel hosted by the Columbia Undergraduate Law Review, I had a chance to hear from two attorneys and a law school student about their respective professional journeys. All three, unsurprisingly, commented that law school was challenging and fulfilling. They also all found that they owed their success to a degree of good fortune during their undergraduate, law school, or job searching years, something that I’m sure we all hope to experience.

Surprisingly, though, they all also remarked that their undergraduate years could have done with more of one thing: Fun. Of course, different internships or classes may have been helpful to provide career guidance and to confirm an interest in law school. But even more integral to a positive pre-law experience? Having fun.

That got me thinking about my own undergraduate and pre-law years, which thankfully are not over. It’s hard to imagine myself in their seats years from now, wishing I had indulged in more fun in college. Right now, most of the people surrounding me are thinking about internships and careers, grades and professional success. Very few of my classmates are pushing themselves to have more fun – most people are pushing themselves to achieve, both academically and professionally, fearful that in 10 years, they will regret wasting time that could have been spent on increasing a starting salary or getting a dream job.

The people who have already been through the same process though are now saying that they wish they had taken a step back. So, with that in mind, it may be advice worth taking. I’ve decided to try to employ their advice, and I will report the results. Next semester, the energy I usually employ on my (very fun) internship is going to go towards other kinds of fun: music, going to shows, reading – the kinds of fun that I won’t be having at my 9 to 5.

Have you already tried this? How did it go? Or, do you want to try it with me? Either way, do you think this is advice you’ll be giving to pre-law students someday? Let me know in the comments below, and I will let you know how this goes come the Fall semester.


Nikki Datta is a second-year at Columbia University in the City of New York. She serves as Executive Editor of the Columbia Undergraduate Law Review and is currently an intern at New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's Litigation office. She is also the founder and President of Columbia University Women in Law and Politics (cuwilp.weebly.com).

Connect with Nikki at: www.linkedin.com/in/nikkidatta

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