March 12, 2013
An Attitude of Gratitude
It is hard for law students to realize sometimes that they are privileged. When the reading becomes overwhelming, the outlines are not going well, mid-term grades are lower than desired, and job prospects for summer or after graduation look bleak, it is easy to become discouraged and negative.
At the times of discouragement, students need to remember that they are studying for a profession that has a long history of making a difference in people's lives every day. Law school can be overwhelming and frustrating and challenging. It is not a perfect environment by any means. The job market is not as robust as it used to be, and job hunts take more initiative and diligence. But if one does persevere in law school, bar study, and the job hunt, the legal profession provides the opportunity to impact individuals and society.
When law students lose perspective on why they came to law school and what they hope to accomplish with a law degree, they need to look at the world outside the law school fishbowl. There are thousands of people in every part of this country who would love to have the opportunity to have an education - let alone a graduate education, to focus on learning , and to enter a profession some day. They are too busy with daily survival, however, to have those luxuries. They are worried about the next meal, a roof over their heads, or protecting their children from violence. They are wondering how to get access to justice for themselves and their families.
The study of law is not for everyone. The legal profession is not a good match for everyone. It is okay if a law student would prefer to pursue another degree in business or music or anthropology or some other discipline. It is equally okay if a law student would prefer not to be in school at all and instead work full-time.
If the decision is to stay in law school and pursue the law degree, then it is important to realize the privilege of that choice. When it gets tough, remember the impact a lawyer can have. Persevere through the hard courses; study with purpose; prepare to be the best lawyer possible. There are people out there who need help in their daily survival, and they need each law student to be focused on being the lawyer who will have that impact in their lives.
Have an attitude of gratitude for the opportunity to pursue a law degree, for the chance to make a difference through our profession, and for the people who will allow each new lawyer to touch their lives. When discouraged, look beyond the moment to the future that awaits. (Amy Jarmon)
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