Of Stress and Sacrifices in Law School
By: Archiebald Faller Capila
Do you ask yourself what journey you could be in right now if you did not decide to enter law school? Can you imagine what your life would be if you decided to pursue a different career instead?
The study of law comes with it the burden of thinking “what could have been” and “what if”. Law school is a journey where you seem to be at a turning point on looking back and telling yourself that things could have been a lot different if you did not choose the path you are currently taking.
Aside from the stress that law school brings from an academic standpoint, it also brings you the stress of questioning your capability to finish the same. In addition, law school also makes you suffer mentally because it really drains you to your core. It makes you question whether or not you are fit to become a future member of the legal profession.
This question has to be a staple in each and every mind of law students all over the world. It is a “what if?” moment that can no longer be eliminated in our subconscious. Accordingly, the same is a question we often ponder upon—it is a question that begs to be answered.
You could have focused on your undergraduate degree and eventually rise from the ranks of your chosen office. You could have pursued further studies elsewhere. You could have tried to pursue a Master’s degree instead and push beyond your limits and eventually eye for that Doctorate degree. You could have started your own family and eventually make a name for yourself in the career you wish to excel at. You could have been someone else. You could have been another person. You could have been anyone but a future member of the legal profession.
However, amidst such daydream on a parallel world wherein we are not law students, we continue to work hard in reality. Because that is the only thing we could do—try to finish the journey we started.
Law school, for most, is the embodiment of stress in numerous forms. It has always taken a toll on the mind and bodies of those who wish to become lawyers. While some people continued to pursue their dreams, some folded and decided to prioritize their well-being. While some continued to go against the strange current, some decided to remain ashore and wait for the storm to pass. While some kept on fighting until their last sensible fight, some decide to give it a shot some other time.
It is common knowledge that law school does not require from its students mere brilliance. Law school is and will always be composed of a multitude of factors—law school is and will always require a student more than just wits in the long run. Mental fortitude is needed. Emotional preparedness is key. The ability to manage time wisely is necessary. Most importantly, law students are trained to sacrifice a lot in order to achieve the goal of becoming a lawyer any time soon.
Take a breather. Relax. Treat yourself to a well-deserved break. While pondering about the things you consider imaginary from this point forward, ask yourself—what are the sacrifices that I have done just to reach where I am today?
As mentioned, sacrifice is necessary for the pursuit of the law. Looking back, you have indeed become a very different person in the process of getting that Juris Doctor degree. You have become so different from your past self that at times, you fail to recognize who you are today.
You have sacrificed a lot of your former self. While you may have been a happy-go-lucky kid in your high school and undergraduate days, you have changed completely because law school requires a lot of time for studying and memorizing several legal concepts. You have changed your habits. You have changed the way you see things. You have changed the fact that you were once a “come what may” type of person. Because law school requires focus and perseverance, you sacrificed your routine of being that laid-back person before entering law school and eventually becoming a disciplined student of the law.
You have sacrificed time for your family. In the past, you will always have time for your loved ones. Whether the same be a celebration of important dates in their respective lives or just a simple celebration of life, you would always be there. You would always be present. You would not miss a birthday or an important event of your family member. However, because of your rigid schedule nowadays, you fail to attend these events. You fail to show your love not because you want to but because law school requires you be elsewhere. In today’s time, you look at yourself at see how much you have sacrificed.
The same goes with your group of friends and colleagues. You have sacrificed a lot just to stay afloat in law school. You no longer have time to spare to join your friends for a couple of drinks. You no longer have the time for your colleagues if and when they have important events or milestones in their careers. You no longer have the free time to catch up with your friends and colleagues because such time supposedly allotted for them is now spent reviewing several notes and cases.
Indeed, you have changed a lot. However, this is not because you want to change but because you are required to. Law school requires the best version of a person so as to become effective, efficient, and successful members of the profession.
While you may have sacrificed a lot already, remember that it is all for the better. Take a look at how far you have come. Take a look at where you are now. Take a look at your achievements along the way. Remember, sacrifice is necessary for law school but the same is also for you—for your success and for your future.
Always put to mind that it will always be for the better. You did not come this far only to come this far. You are and will always be destined for greatness, particularly in the field of law. However, greatness comes with a price. Greatness comes with it necessary sacrifice. Greatness comes with it necessary stress. Greatness comes with it a necessary burden.
Amidst your thoughts on what could have happened or what could be in case you did not pursue law, these excerpts of imagination are but bits on a parallel world wherein we are not law students. We must continue to work hard in reality. Because that is the only thing we could do—try to finish the journey we started.
Law school requires sacrifice—an immense amount of the same. Law students are meant to miss several family gatherings. They are meant to say “no” to most of the reunions of friends and relatives. Law students are destined to spend more than four years of sacrifice. They are always required to focus on the study of law and eventually become officers of the court.
But the same is a necessary sacrifice. Without it, there could be no dream realized. The profession is meant for dedicated and hardworking individuals. The profession could only be composed of those who know what it feels like to miss out certain events.
Without sacrifice, there can be no pursuit in the first place. Without sacrifice, a law student will never become a lawyer.
To all those trying to become a member of the legal profession, remember that it will all make sense soon. The sacrifices you have made and will eventually make will bear fruits sooner than you expect. For now, focus on your studies. For now, give it your all.
Good luck to all our future paneros and paneras. May you always gain the strength to move forward and the wisdom to do good. Never forget that without sacrifice, a dream will always remain a dream.