By Eisha Vatsal • July 05, 2017•Writers in Residence, Law School, Issues, Mentoring and Networking
At work, I try to take twenty-minute walks twice a day with some friends. During these walks, we stretch out our legs, get some exercise, and talk about the craziness of our cases. Often times the topics of student loans, what I wished I knew before law school or Trump’s antics come up. While I will refrain from discussing my views on politics here, I do want to discuss the other two, potentially in multiple posts.
I am fortunate that I do not have student loans, but that does not mean I do not understand and sympathize with those who do. I know about the different options and the threat of losing various programs under our current administration. According to the ABA, an average law student borrows over $75,000 to attend a public law school or $124,000 for a private law school. A majority of students entering their first year carry undergraduate loans. Many loans expect students to repay the loans soon after graduation, with the option of deferment if eligibility is met.
Loans, in general, is a touchy topic. It’s a vicious cycle where repayment is dependent on getting a job, but the process of job searches becomes difficult with loans looming. While I cannot begin to understand what this feels like, I have a better grasp by talking with others. Many graduates accept jobs that qualify for the Loan Forgiveness Program or jobs they hate. Both options need to be thought of thoroughly before making the step. Though I’ve mentioned in previous posts that doors open up after the first job, I do not encourage choosing something you truly hate and hate waking up for. In addition to debts from law school and the bar exam, your psych cannot take another blow. On the other hand, the thoughts of not having a job also places pressure on your psych. It’s a delicate balance.
There isn’t a right decision. My advice? Talk to others. Get a mentor, someone who you look up to and gives good advice. Go to networking events and bring it up. Gather as many methods and experiences as you can.
What I wish I knew before going to law school
Around this time, many incoming first years are nervous and anxious for what is to come. Three years of law school seems scary, and by no means do I stray from that. When I was thinking of law school, I was told to read “One L” by Scott Turow, a story about the first year at Harvard Law School. I personally would not recommend it for the simple reason that not every school is as cutthroat as Harvard. When I read it, I thought I would have to be vigilant, fend for myself, and unable to rely on anyone. What I experienced was the exact opposite. Some of my closest friends came from my section, the very people whom I depended on and consider family.
There were no ripped pages from the books or people trying to cheat their way to the top. Instead, people helped one another, so long as there was reciprocity. One of my friends missed class? We shared our notes. Upcoming final? We all studied together, learning from one another. The fellow students in your section are the very same people you see every day for an entire year. This isn’t the time to make enemies.
Ain’t nobody got the time for that.