Family, Stress, & 1Ls
The family and friends of law students tend to not understand that a 1L in law school is nothing like an undergraduate in college. The stress faced by 1Ls in their first year is very much the product of this transition. Parents, husbands, wives, children and any significant others must understand that the increased stress of evolving from undergraduate to law student to lawyer will significantly affect a 1L.
Law school has been known to create unmatched stress for many students. Sadly, for some, it has even caused them to discontinue their studies and forget their hopes of being a lawyer. At the California Desert Trial Academy, we focus on helping each one of our students stay in school.
Law students study and are tested differently than undergraduates. There are fewer opportunities to earn points and therefore fewer chances to boost their grades. This is a bit of educational culture shock for most law students. Simply experiencing this moment of realization is a jarring event for most 1Ls.
For any 1L, especially those living with or in the same town as their parents during law school, parents may feel neglected or ignored by their adult child’s apparent disinterest in spending time or speaking with them. Parents, family members, and friends must not take these actions personally. I was fortunate, in deference to my need to study, my parents didn’t want me to visit them at all during law school, except on holidays. A phone call on the weekend was enough to keep them informed of my progress and well-being.
Thus, deference and patience are important for parents when communicating with their 1L, who will probably be unable to call as regularly as he or she did in the past as an undergraduate. Loved ones must understand that 1Ls have little, if any, free time. Law students need to ensure that they are engaging in non-law school activities that relieve stress and include physical exercise during the rare moments they are not studying. Family members should anticipate and understand the underlying reasons if their 1L is late for or ever must cancel any family engagement. It’s not personal.
However, the onus is on the student in this situation to communicate these important changes in their everyday life, even if it should be obvious to anyone what the pressure and demands of attending law school are from day one. While loved ones should not have to be told to defer from engaging their law student during finals week with anything other than issues related to preparation for these exams, law students should never assume that family and friends are aware of the level of stress that they are experiencing at any given moment in law school. A polite explanation and a commitment to communicate with loved ones at a later date can go a long way to maintaining good relations with them during law school while establishing the necessary personal space for 1Ls to study and succeed.
A primary focus of the California Desert Trial Academy is the inclusion of all students in every phase and aspect of our learning platform and social environment. The competitiveness of law school can have a negative effect on some students, but some see it as survival of the fittest. The CDTA prefers to look at every interaction between students as a positive learning opportunity for all students. The CDTA trains, educates, and develops students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.