Oh 3L year. A culmination of challenges, flexibility and dare I say fun? A year marred by the onslaught of senioritis, triggered by the impending close to a rigorous chapter. However, in addition to these feelings, 3L year as I can best remember, felt like I was being perched on the precipice of the unknown. I felt like I finally mastered law school, but how in the world would I master what’s next if I had no idea what to expect? Was I signed up for the right bar prep course? Was I already behind on my bar exam preparation? Would I ever get a post grad job or did I miss class again this morning? (I’m just joking, but not really). Do you find yourself having similar thoughts? Then it might be time for a good book for motivation. Yes, I know that reading for leisure is honestly a privilege in law school, but if there were ever a time that you have the flexibility to plug through a good book during law school, 3L year would be it.
In my deepest times of doubt and fear, just the right book has helped to reframe my mind and dispel my way of thinking, as bravely facing what’s next, stems from strengthening the mind to deal with what’s happening now. So if you have some time on your hands, here are three books I recommend you read during 3L year or frankly anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed.
1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere or you were arguably too engrossed in the stockpile of casebooks that tend to define a busy 2L year, you’ve likely heard about my first book suggestion, Becoming. Released in late 2018, this book is a memoir of our former First Lady, Michelle Obama. It is truly an exceptional page turner about her childhood, her personal development and dedication to achieving her highest ambitions, despite the barriers presented due to her social class, race and gender. Through these words that are deeply personal and relatable, she makes it easy for readers to see themselves on the pages and to, at the very least, learn from a theme or two and apply them towards becoming their best self.
As a 3L, this book can serve as a reminder of the power of perseverance. Coming to the end of your 3L year, the road ahead may seem harrowing. However, this book will remind you to push forward despite the fears telling you to give up. One of the main story lines in this book is especially on point, as the author speaks on when she failed the bar exam and as we know now, that minor glitch was by no means a setback on the absolute success that she became. Therefore, this book may teach you to face your fears and not waiver if the road ahead threatens to knock you down.
2. Educated by Tara Westover
Educated is a memoir about a young girl who was born into this world with essentially no identity, who was deprived of a formal education throughout her young life and who sacrificed almost everything to accomplish the education that has brought her to the absolute success that she is in life today. This is undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve ever read. It opened my eyes to how the deprivation of learning can try to cripple you, but how the thirst to obtain knowledge can overcome this threat. However, this book also made me take a step back and view my education as a privilege.
So what could this book mean for you? As a 3L, you are almost at the end of your formal law school education. This book will remind you to be grateful for making it to this point. At this point, you have made it through many tiers of schooling which is a privilege and accomplishment in and of itself. However, if you made it to this point with love and support around you towards achieving this goal, you have so much more to be grateful for. Expressing gratitude is an act of mindfulness that could do wonders for keeping you happy. So, if you just need a spark and a reminder of how great you are, give this book a try.
3. More than Enough by Elaine Welteroth
Finally, the last book I suggest is More than Enough, written by Elaine Welteroth, one of the youngest editors-in chief for the former print magazine Teen Vogue, as well as the second African-American to ever hold that title. This is a story about redefining the space around you despite the barriers it may have been built on, as well as redefining your career path to fulfill your life’s purpose.
A lot of the fears that you currently face may stem from not knowing whether you will be able to break into the practice of law which is traditionally shaped by a very conservative culture. If you are an ethnic minority or if you are female, this fear may be especially true for you. This book serves as an exceptional motivating force, as the author faced similar fears herself, but, regardless, she broke into a field that was defined by a pretty rigid culture and she undoubtedly shook things up.
This book also serves as a reminder to find your purpose and to not lose sight of that even within your career. I certainly understand the difficulties of finding a job as a lawyer and the temptation to accept whatever role we get offered due to this reality. Now accepting a role that you have no desire for is completely ok, especially when you’re just starting out, because there is always something to learn. However, this book will remind you not to become complacent. Use that role to build your skills for your dream role and with hard work and perseverance that dream role will ultimately be achieved.
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