The Hardest Part of Law School
By: Archiebald Faller Capila
What do you think is the hardest obstacle to surpass in law school?
Much has been said, written about, and debated upon the concept of law school in general, specifically that of the experiences of law students in the same. Stories have been told on how law students deal with law school, and they try to overcome the struggles along with it.
Some would say that the whole of the first year in law school is the hardest. For them, the adjustment period does not seem to end. Law school freshmen believe that this particular stage is the hardest because everything seems so foreign, even though some already had a backgrounder in their respective pre-law courses. An introduction to law school brings with it basic substantive subjects which deal with Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Civil Law, and other non-Bar subjects explaining the profession in general. For them, the first few weeks are like a walk in the park—Jurassic Park that is. It feels like every single day is a challenge to survive. From trying to understand complex provisions of the law to reading the full text a multitude of assigned cases, this pivotal stage of learning basic concepts in law school is believed to be the hardest.
However, second-year students would beg to disagree. Sophomore year in an institute of law comes with it a multitude of subjects, broken down into important units that also dwell into a more detailed approach in legal subjects. From two units to four or five units for a single subject, second-year students believe that sophomore year is the hardest. Because of the seemingly intolerable load of several subjects comprising matters also involved in some major percentage of the Bar, students at this stage are often exhausted. What they believed were their best efforts in the first year will eventually be doubled. What they believed was supposed to be an easier path towards the goal will eventually teach them that they were wrong all along.
And of course, third-year law students would shrug off these comments and laugh at the same. For them, there is no other answer than the year they are respectively in. For junior law students, the third year in law school is torture beyond compare. At the said level, remedial law subjects are prioritized. The heart and soul of law school is now taught to students planning to become officers of the Court. In which, foreign matters of procedure are forced upon students which, to be frank, are matters not easily understood. For third-year law students, understanding these heavy subjects all at the same time is a burden on a league of its own. Accordingly, time management has never been so stressful for those students engaged in this level of the study of law.
Lastly, the senior law students would all put on a smirk on their faces and dismiss the notions of the young ones. All they could say is “we need to study again everything you are going through right now.” Because the fourth year in law school mainly focuses on the review proper, all the subjects have upped a notch with respect to the pace of discussion, recitation, and exams pertaining to the same. Apt is the phrase “it’s law on steroids” for all the fourth-year students. For these students, all hell breaks loose because there will no longer be enough time to cover all the topics assigned. It seems like an impossibility to finish a designated reading assignment if one is to employ regular study schedules he or she has grown up following. For fourth-year students, the last year of law school is the culmination of everything and the same serves as the hardest stage of them all.
In summary, there are a lot of viewpoints pertaining to what really is the hardest part of law school. The same would depend on who you are asking, what year level they are in, or what subjects they are currently taking. For law students, hardship mainly depends on where they are currently stuck in. For law students, hardship is a relative term, subject to the circumstances surrounding them at the moment.
But if we are to look at this from a wider angle, we could say that for most (if not all) law students, the hardest part of law school is the study itself. Because of several required readings of the texts of the law, students are often overwhelmed with what they are supposed to read, understand, and memorize. For them, the study of law is a struggle in itself only divided into specific and determinable parts. For them, law school is a place wherein even the best minds fail, and even the hardest workers submit to the pressure of the study.
However, aside from the same, we could consider another thing to be the hardest part of law school. We could say that the worst obstacle is not necessarily the study itself, but how we view and deal with the same.
External circumstances aside from the study are factors one may also consider. It may be the pressure coming from families and friends—that consistent question on when you will graduate and when will you eventually take the Bar. For some, it may even be that pressure arising from your friends and colleagues—questions of methods on how you will be able to cope with them because of their fast and reliable pace. For some, it is the pressure of dreaming to become the first lawyer in your family or the pressure of continuing a family tradition wherein every branch seemingly has a lawyer in their respective trees.
We may say that the hardest part of law school is not solely based on the study itself. It is a culmination of factors visible and invisible to the naked eye. It is about dealing with circumstances that affect not only your studies but your personal and private life as well.
And because of this, we can say that the hardest part of law school is dealing with whether or not you could do it all.
For a law student, it is hard to convince himself of the fact that he will be able to overcome the struggles posited by the study of law. Because of a bad performance in the daily recitation or a subpar outcome in an examination, the morale of law students hit an all-time low. It all boils down to how a student deals with his personal demons. The hardest part of law school is saying to yourself that at the end of the day, everything will be okay.
Law school is and will always be about pressure. It is how a law student deals with the same that leads to solving the main problem. It is not the study per se or the external factors that create a huge problem—it is a law student’s perception and confidence towards the same.
It is true that law school is a war. The goal is to win the same in the long run. But law students should firmly remember that while there is a war, there are battles in between that need to be fought. Aside from the recitations and the exams, a law student must face his or her personal demons every day in order to remain afloat. An in such a battle, a law student must remember that his or her greatest strength comes from belief—it all starts with the ambition to continue.
To all the law students reading this who are having a hard time dealing with their personal insecurities, may this be a reminder that you can. You did not come this far only to come this far. Remember the situations you wished for and prayed for back then. Look at yourself now. You have come a long way.
In the past, you were just a kid dreaming of entering law school. As a young law student, you just wished that you will get through law school semester by semester. As a senior law student, you just wished that you were in your current position now. You have come a long way, and you should be proud of it.
The hardest part of law school is dealing with what doubts you have in mind. The moment you start believing in yourself, everything else will follow. The moment you start trusting yourself more and cheering yourself up, you will realize that you are on your own pace to become the lawyer you are destined to be.
But everything starts from within. Never say that you can’t do the things you are tasked to perform. Never say that law school is not for you. Never say that there is no hope for your future. Never say that giving up might be the only option available. Trust the process and carry on. Confront your fears and demons and say you can. Become the confident person who can do all things. Remind yourself that there are battles to be fought and that you need to be on the frontlines.
At the end of the day, what matters most is your will to continue. At the end of the day, what you need to do is believe in yourself.
The hardest part of law school is battling your doubts. The only solution to the same is to start believing in yourself. Good luck, future lawyer. May this be a reminder that at the end of the day, you will become a lawyer sooner than you think.
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