Liz Vaysman

The Myth of 3L

We’ve all heard the saying: 1L they scare you to death, 2L they work you to death, and 3L they bore you to death.  I don’t know about the rest of the 3Ls out there, but I am not bored.  If anything, I am more scared than 1L and work more than 2L. 

Aside from courses and clinic, involvement in activities, professional development, and god-forbid, personal time, there is a major weight put on 3L: the job hunt.  I’m not going to list methods I have tried or am trying, or how hard I think this year is with the unknown ahead.  I think there is enough of that out there.  Instead, I wanted to share some ways I have been able to cope with this and move forward optimistically. 

You’re not alone.

While many of my colleagues scorn and drool at our peers with offers on the table for next year, I find myself being happy for them.  I’m happy that my peers have reached a level of achievement in this economy to have a stable career ahead.  It makes me think that although I might not have the same set path, hopefully a similar one lies ahead.  How different are we?  Though we  have different backgrounds, we are in the same school, in many of the same activities, with similar ambitions.  So no – I don’t mean you are not alone with your many unemployed peers, though true, I mean you are not alone in your ambitions and notions of success.  Others like you have done this, and you will too.

Find what takes your mind off it all.

I recently read an article about things happy people do, and it discussed that happy people often have moments, "flow experiences," where you only focus on one thing and everything else flies by unnoticed, like time stands still.  This happens to me when I am cooking.  I’m no Julia Child, but I have mastered the art of making “something out of nothing” and when I get in the groove, there is nothing stopping me.  Traveling used to fill this niche but is not possible with law school life.  I think everyone already has something like this, or you can find it.  Whether its exercising, reading, or something else, make sure to make time to let yourself get away in your own skin.

Be aware.

If you are finding yourself in a black hole, a week going by without you knowing where it went (or month – I’ve been there, like now – where did October go?), take a step back and figure it out.  I just realized the true importance of taking notice to this after reading an article earlier this week about navigating a "burnout" that suggests making a burnout symptoms checklist to raise self-awareness as to what causes this too-often state.  As someone who is always making to-do lists, this new list will be a great way for me to stay aware of my own mentality, as well as the actual date!

Personal Time.

Though I joked about the “god-forbidden personal time,” this is something I actually take seriously, in the least serious way possible.  Things have changed with law school life – you miss out on those fun holidays you always enjoyed, Cinco de Mayo or Halloween, and you likely can’t afford or have the time or energy to partake in travel with family or friends.  But there are other ways to take a vacation.  Go to brunch.  Make time for a frozen yogurt date with a friend.  Don’t miss that birthday party.  Stay inside and watch Lifetime movies all day.  These might sound like big no-nos for some of you, but I am a big believer in quality over quantity and to be highly efficient, you need some time off.  Hopefully that time includes plenty of laughs.  I don’t believe that anyone can make it through law school sanely without some high quality PT.

And so, the 3L hustle continues.  

Please share your own helpful hints in the comments below!

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