Saturday, March 3, 2012
Students are always introducing me to new, scary websites and blogs. It happens at both levels; I have to beg and plead to keep my undergrads off top-law-schools.com (the comments are awful) and I have to talk law students down after they find a new "scamblog" that tells them their life has been ruined by their decision to attend law school. If you have not heard about these sites from students, and the terror they provoke, than they are just not telling you about them. As ASPer's, we work with students who are already afraid. These sites are like gasoline on a fire; they inflame students who are already scared, anxious, and shell-shocked by grades, disappointment, and news about the job market.
I have come up with some tips for students when they come to my office devastated by something they have read.
1) Yes, the legal market is not good. But reading about other law student's bitterness is not going to help you get a job. It is just going to leave you depressed and angry. Spend less time reading blogs written by people who hate law schools--no one ever got a job or better grades that way.
2) You chose to attend law school because you wanted to be a lawyer. As they say in the South, "the hay is in the barn." Now is the time to find your passion, make yourself marketable, and focus on success. It may not be as easy as it once was, but that doesn't mean it is impossible.
3) The scamblogs tell you a lot about debt, but little about the ways to manage the debt. Income-based repayment (IBR) is an option if you are passionate about lower-paying social justice positions. The College-Cost Reduction Act can provide substantial help if you want to work for a non-profit. Spend time making a plan so you are prepared when it comes time to repay your loans.
4) Reconnect with the reasons you chose to attend law school. Remember what you wanted to do with your law degree. Talk to people who have succeeded doing what you want to do. Successful people don't have the time to write scamblogs, but they usually have great tips about how to succeed in their chosen field.
I am not advocating a head-in-the-sand position; I want students to be informed--not scared. The meanness of the blogosphere doesn't help them, it scares them. (RCF)