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Underachieving in Law School

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

By: Archiebald Faller Capila

As law students, there lies a multitude of reasons why you pursued law in the first place. It could be a personal dream, a dream of your parents for yourself, or a last resort of sorts because you feel like you do not know what to do with your career so you pursued law instead.

Whatever the reason may be, the same will also point out one common factor on why you were influenced to pursue law studies—you are a great achiever.

At such a young age, the people around you saw immense potential and skillset. You could speak clearly. Your words are advanced for a youngling. You have what it takes to be a good talker and a good writer. You captured the imagination of your relatives and friends. Even at just grade school, you were given the chance to participate in several contests requiring the skill of speech and words. You’d always end up with a place. You’d always be recognized.

By the time you were in high school, you engaged in several extra-curricular activities that tested your skills and talents. You dwelled on the concept of writing several essays and journal entries. You participated in contests testing the mettle of your speech. Whether the same be extemporaneous or not, you joined several companies in testing your capability. You grew fond of the texts of the law and eventually decided that you want to become a lawyer someday soon. And after the same, you went on to choose your undergrad career—one thing which, more often than not, is considered as a pre-law course.

While pursuing your undergraduate degree, you realized you can do great things. You are acing examinations left and right. You are learning a lot of terms and jargons related to the field of law. You are now becoming the man or woman of your dreams—the person who can storm the world of the legal profession. And by the time you finished your studies, you believed that you are ready for what law school has to offer. Finally, you have the time to prove to yourself that you could do it. Finally, you have with you the confidence that you could eventually make it in the legal profession and impart a meaningful contribution.

While some fresh graduates opt to pursue law school right away, there are some who choose to gain practical experience at first. Some even waited to take their respective professional licensure exams and practice for a bit before venturing into law. During their stage of work, they eventually gain the respect of their colleagues and peer. During the same stretch, they grab the attention of their respective superiors and eventually gain their trust and confidence with respect to their line of work. Indeed, they have become the personification of talent, skill, hard work, and ambition all molded into one entity.

In summary, before law school, these respective individuals all had one thing in common—they are great achievers in their own rights. They are honor students in class—recipients of various awards and Latin honors while they were still undergrad students or high-ranking officials of offices who have the reputation of becoming good employees for their companies.

However, all these changed the moment you experience the first days of law school.

Whatever journey one may have had in the past, it is safe to say that each student in law school was in fact achievers before they pursued further studies. However, in the said setting of the law, everyone is treated equally. Everyone is treated as if they know nothing.

Latin honors are made meaningless in law school. Work experience and specializations are disregarded. Your once brilliant self is put to the test. The achiever that you were is buried and declared non-existent. In law school, you are no one. In law school, you have no right to brag about anything.

Nobody told you that law school will be easy. But nobody told you that law school will be that hard. In law school, everyone is on the same playing field wherein the students are all equals. Everyone is treated at par with one another. Professors in law school do not care about what school you are from, on what honors you received, on what positions you held in work, on what your surname carries with it. Members of the legal profession engaged in the teaching of law only care about one thing—that is to impart legal knowledge based on merit and merit alone.

Everything turns back to zero when one pursues law. Everyone is regarded as newbies thrown into a pack of wolves. Here, you are not an achiever—you are a servant of the law who tries to understand the complexities offered by the legal profession. You meet new friends who you think are accomplished in life already, but shoe to opt for the study instead. In law school, you are both rookies who are lost in the study and are young kids trying to find your ways in order to survive one day at a time.

At such a stage, you will realize that all your hard work and accolades in the past will mean nothing. These are all a part of a history you cannot use in law school. Everyone starts from scratch and the only thing you could do is to try to start strong and finish even stronger. What you could do is bring your work ethic along with you and try to become the great achiever you once were.

Starting from scratch must not be a hindrance. The same must serve as an inspiration to be better. In law school, while each and everyone is put to the test, you must embrace the journey and study hard in order to be the master of your own craft. In law school, sacrifice is necessary. In law school, acceptance of the fact that you can be better must always come in handy. The dream to become a lawyer does not become a reality overnight. It takes hard work, dedication, and perseverance to do great. While everyone is treated the same in the law school setting, one must not forget to work hard in order to attain the status one dreams of the most—the title “attorney” to be included in their respective names in the near future.

Law school is and will always be a test of intelligence and will. One must not give up just because your past is not recognized. What you could do is build a new name for yourself and eventually become the lawyer you are destined to be. You must not be discouraged by the fact that failing recitations and exams will happen. You must not be discouraged by the fact that you are no longer the achiever you once were. You must instead be inspired to do good and eventually become better every single day because your dream of becoming a member of the legal profession does not die overnight.

To all future officers of the court, may you all succeed in your journey. Do not be discouraged from failing performances. Instead, use them as fuel to add to the fire of your desire to become a lawyer. One way or another, you will eventually become an achiever again. One day, you will become an integral part of your community’s success.

Remember that while law school no longer recognizes the great achiever that you were, it will nevertheless help you reach new heights. Law school is and will always be the place where great men and women of the law once stood. One day, it will all make sense. Your sacrifice will mean a lot and you will eventually realize what is in store for you. One day, you will become the lawyer that you once dreamed of.

One day, you will become a bigger achiever than that you know of.

* For more inspirational essays, check the blog posts here.

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