There is a lot to do before starting law school. You might need to move and set up your apartment; you need to register for classes and spend an exorbitant amount of money on books. In addition, you do want to relax and enjoy the summer, as you know your 1L year is going to be pretty busy, right? But if you have time to read one book this summer, we have a suggestion for you. We suggest you get a copy of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.
Why is this book important?
This book is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, law school is likely to be an academic challenge different from any you have ever experienced. You may be surrounded by an entire class of accomplished folks who did well in undergrad (which is how they got into law school in the first place). You may have to study more than you have ever studied. You may feel you just “don’t get” the material. And when grades come out (and the nasty curve is applied), they may be disappointing and you may feel discouraged even though you felt that you studied all the time.
Beyond just the academics, law school can be competitive and stressful. You may struggle with finding your place and feeling that you belong.
The result is that law school, at times, can be very frustrating. And you may have feelings of doubt unlike any you have ever felt before. You can’t stop these feelings, but with the correct mind-set you can actually frame how you see the world around you.
This book explains different mind-sets and advocates for a growth mind-set.
The book walks you through two common mind-sets: fixed (focused on judging oneself) or growth (focused on constructive action). This may not sound like a huge deal, but we have seen mind-sets play a major role in law school success. If you are focused on judging yourself, you can become consumed with this in law school. A fixed mind-set can make it difficult to tailor your studying and overcome the challenges discussed above. If you have a growth mind-set, however, you have a better framework for dealing with the common law school challenges. You will be able to focus on ways to improve and learn from experiences rather than just being hard on yourself. Moreover, students focused on growth often find themselves happier as well as enjoying more academic success.
But this book doesn’t have anything to do with law school. So why should I read it?
The skills you need to survive law school are really just good life skills. Sure, the author doesn’t talk about law students specifically, but that really doesn’t matter. You can still learn quite a bit from her stories and examples.
When it all comes down to it, law school and the practice of law are going to be challenges. There are going to be ups and downs, successes and failures. The key is to roll with whatever comes at you on this journey or you may find yourself a rather unhappy law student or lawyer.
Has anyone read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success? Are you reading anything else to get ready for your law school experience? If so, share it in the comments.
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And check out these helpful posts:
- What’s the Right Mindset for Studying?
- Can Meditation Help You Be More Productive and Effective?
- Is Law School for You?
- The Most Important Thing to Do in Law School
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