All the five years in law school are wonderful, current students won’t agree as they can’t wait to get a job and those who graduated just gave me a mental high five. A student spends the most important years of his life in law school, the young adult who is yet to figure out adulting goes in and turns into a functional, smart and diligent law graduate.
It is important that the young adult plans these five years in the early years since the journey is wonderful and has meaning but it is also equally important to reach your destination.
Whatever we choose to do in the early years of law school makes all the difference. If a student prepares a roadmap in the early months of her first year and then proceeds with it, facing failures and sometimes success. Diligently pacing towards the goal, that student is destined to achieve whatever she has in sight.
The reason I say this is because it is possible you may slow down in the 3rd year and then make up for it in the 4th but only if you know which direction you’re supposed to go.
Every year in law school has a set of tasks to be completed and once you skip a year, the dominoes start falling (no, not the pizza). I’ll be discussing the 1st and 2nd year of law school in this article.
The first year
Ah, the first year! Walking into a University with hundreds of students out of which you’re familiar with none to pursue a course which will decide your fate. The fear of being ragged, the taste of freedom, the smell of books in the library and the dreams in your eyes, this is what you carry with you in your first year.
Luckily, the first year does not require you to supersonic right away. It has room for you to relax, adjust and meet people.
The only thing that you should be done with, in your first year is planning. Yes, planning your five-year-long journey early on is important, it decides where you invest your time and hard work. This is the time where you find out your calling or atleast a broader view of the area where you see yourself working after college.
You don’t have to be specific to the letter but need to focus and derive from your interests and research, a panoramic view of what your future should be like.
This way, you can spend your subsequent years working towards achieving that goal. Once you start working, reading, interning and writing in that direction. The plan will get refined with each passing day and the picture will get clearer. Let’s say you decide that by the time you graduate, you would like to work for an NGO that works to save the environment from global warming.
You have to figure out what subjects do you need to study and which NGOs are working for climate change in India. Who are the stalwarts in this field, where should you intern to get knowledge and exposure? Are there any online courses that you need to pursue for additional skills?
By the end of the first year, not only do you need to have answers to these questions but also a roadmap to go follow in the subsequent years.
The Second Year
By now, you have adjusted to the law school environment. You have interned once and tasted what examination pressure feels like. You set a goal in your first year and also a roadmap to follow in the subsequent years. Now is the time to act on it. It is tougher to start with the second year since it is the first time you will be walking into the field you chose.
Planning was done in the comfort of your room and the 3rd, 4th year will be with the experience. 2nd year will be a solo hiking trip into uncharted territory.
It is important that you stay in touch with your faculties, seniors and mentors. The faculties will help you deal with your studies while you also spend time figuring out extra courses and internships. The seniors have been through what you are about to experience, their advice, while should not be followed to the letter, should be taken into consideration before starting. The mentors will help you with the Knitty gritty of the field you have chosen.
You walk into the office without any prior experience of working, the mentors will be of great help in reading up things that you are expected to know at the office.
The first experience will make you, break you and shape you. You may not like what the industry looks like, it may be the opposite of what the books and the blogs say. You may choose to change your final goal as you never expected this to happen. It is then that you should hold your ground, see your internship through and focus on the learning. The real is always different from the reel.
It is in the second year that you have to embrace ground-level reality, learn to focus on the positive, accept that it’s not rainbows and sunshine and continue work come hell or high waters.
Remember not to give up on your goals.