Despite popular belief, your personal life does not cease to exist when you start law school. It is very easy to put yourself in a ‘law school bubble’ in which you focus all your time and energy studying (believe me, it is very very easy). However, your friends and family still expect to hear from you and have a relationship with you. Good things like weddings, births and celebrations still happen. Unfortunately, sickness, hardships, and death still occur as well. How do you deal with all of this though? How do you get through these hardships while trying to succeed in law school?
My Personal Story
Within the first month of my 1L year, someone very close to me passed away. Before I was born, both of my biological grandmothers passed away. My mom’s eldest sister took over the role as my ‘Mema’ and has always treated my sister and I as her granddaughters. She was one of the most important women to me, right under my mom. She was kind and caring, always making sure you were in good spirits and well-fed.
In September of my 1L year, my Mema passed away due to complications from pneumonia. The day it happened, it hit me pretty hard and I spent most of the day in a daze. However, I actually went to class because I was so concerned about missing something. The next day I decided to skip my Torts class so I could be with my family and de-stress from everything. While I will not lie and say that life gets better when you lose a loved one, I will say that each day does get a little easier.
Your Professors Will Understand
I want to debunk the myth by saying that professors are human and are ultimately pretty understanding. They were once law students too; they know how difficult it can be to try to juggle law school and your personal life. When my Mema passed away, my professors were very encouraging and supportive when I informed them of my situation and the possibility of missing class. If you reach out to them, they will surely be understanding as well.
Find a Support System
Having people to provide you comfort and support will make your life easier. You especially want to surround yourself with individuals that understand you have commitments with law school and studying but are still there for you. Law school and a social life are difficult to juggle but it is important to have relationships with your friends and family. Touch base with them and inform them of how you are doing and rely on them when you need them. Ultimately, they are here for you.
Know When to Get Help
Many hardworking individuals, such as law students, have difficulty getting help. Sometimes, it is hard for them to identify that they are having a problem. Emotional hardships are, well, hard. They take a toll on your body in physical, emotional, and mental ways. Sickness and death affect people differently. Some need to be alone where others need to be surrounded by people. Ultimately, you know yourself best but it is also important to know when to reach out to your support group or seek professional help.
Class As Usual
Regardless of the situation, eventually you have to resume class as normal. If you have taken a large amount of time off, try to work with your professor on understanding any material that you are struggling with. Seek advice and notes from classmates that attended any of the classes you missed. You can even utilize outlines made by upperclassmen that had taken the course before. Ultimately, you will have to get back into the swing of things but there are ways you can ensure a smooth transitions.
For me, moving on has been very difficult. My Mema was very important to me and her passing was very unexpected. This would be difficult regardless of whether or not I was in law school, however, I feel like this is especially hard because I need to be focused on succeeding in law school. Honestly, you just feel like stopping the clock in order to deal with everything and figure things out. Unfortunately, life goes on and moves too fast. My advice is to take a deep breath and take each day one step at a time. Law school is difficult without the all the emotional baggage that hardships bring. Find a support group that encourages you and recognize the signs when you need help. Most importantly, remember that if you lost someone, that they are always there with you, helping you move forward and encouraging you to be the best you can be.
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