If I had to pick three adjectives to describe 1L year, they would be busy, fairly stressful, and extremely exciting. I quickly learned that law school is a full-time job filled with a demanding workload and many commitments outside of the classroom. I also soon realized why my professors emphasized the importance of removing yourself from law school mode every so often to keep your stress levels down. But most importantly, I saw how exciting this new chapter of life was. Law school was my time to open new doors, build new friendships, and take the first step of a new career.
Now that I am a few weeks into 2L, it seems like I may be using the same three adjectives to describe this year, but with a whole new perspective. I no longer am transitioning from a 9 to 5 job or spending far too long on a three-page case. I know what a final exam looks like, and can estimate about how long an outline will take me to make. More importantly, I can tell you what I hope to pursue career-wise and have made great friends along the way.
Although some things may stay the same, here are a few ways in which my perspectives have changed:
- Classes and Cold Calls
Going into 1L year, I was extremely intimidated by cold calls. No matter how many times an upperclassman told me not to worry because nobody cares how you do, I could not help but dread cold calls in any class.
As a 2L, I can confidently say that nobody cares about your cold call besides you. Honestly, I’m not sure people even pay much attention to them and, if anything, the rest of the class is likely just relieved their name wasn’t called out by the professor. But beyond that, I now feel much more comfortable with cold calls because law school as a whole makes more sense. I know how to read and analyze a case, and am much better at class preparation. And truthfully, because I am not spending class worried about whether or not my name will be called, I find myself able to pay attention and learn a lot more.
- Extracurricular Involvements
As a 1L, I felt obligated to sign up for a million clubs and say yes to every event or activity thrown my way. Although this probably added to feelings of commitment-overload, I am extremely grateful that I did. This allowed me to learn what I liked and did not and meet people outside of my section and immediate friend circle.
Today, I am possibly even more committed than I was as a 1L, but it has nothing to do with feeling obligated. I’ve taken on extracurriculars that allow me to write simply because I love to write (such as this blog). I also make a point to stay involved with admissions and new students because I absolutely love BC and want others to experience the welcoming community that I was drawn to. Although I do find myself busy, both inside and outside of the classroom, 2L year has allowed me to only focus on things that are of interest. Therefore, it’s a good kind of busy!
- Future Goals
During my 1L year, I found myself worried about what was next. In some ways I was looking way too far down the line, such as trying to pinpoint exactly what practice group I wanted to pursue. But in other ways, I was thinking extremely short-term, such as jumping at any job opportunity thrown my way.
I won’t say this was a bad strategy, but I do think it put a lot of pressure on me. I now recognize that it is extremely unlikely to know exactly what kind of lawyer I want to be once I graduate. And I also recognize that there was no way I had any idea as a first-semester 1L. However, one of the reasons why I have found 2L year to be even more exciting than 1L is because I am beginning to shape my career path through classes and 2L job selection. Rather than being worried about the future, I find myself eager to graduate and jump into my career as a lawyer.
I can’t sit here and tell you that 2L year is a breeze. But, even filled with the stress and busyness, it’s off to an exciting start!
Courtney Ruggeri is a second-year student at BC Law and an active Impact blogger. She loves hearing from readers: reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.