Life Happens: Even While In Law School


Somewhere in between “I think I want to go to law school” and “I passed the bar,” life happens. Maybe you get pregnant, maybe you get married, maybe a close family member dies. Life doesn’t stop when you become a 1L, and students shouldn’t feel guilty (or more importantly be made to feel guilty) about that. 

In a sick display or prioritization, one of my greatest fears about law school was that something drastic in my personal life would happen and would cause me to lose my focus and fail out. Sad, right? I wasn’t worried about the tests, cold calls, or networking fairs—I was most concerned about everyday life becoming a hindrance on my education. I know a lot of my classmates felt the same. 

Events that should have only brought joy mainly brought anxiety: how will this fit into my schedule? Do I have enough time for this? Should I really even go to my best friend’s wedding? 

As I sit here recovering from an adult tonsillectomy (which is NOT pleasant, by the way) I am mentally kicking myself for all the things I put off “because I was in law school and was too busy.” For one thing, I could have been done with this whole “having tonsils” thing already, for another, I could have been so much happier and healthier if I hadn’t treated law school like a three year pause on the rest of my life. I could have gone on vacations, visited friends, spent more time with family, fallen in love—done anything besides worry and study and stress myself into early high blood pressure medication. 

While a lot of my classmates had similar thinking, I am most struck by those who thought (and acted) differently. The girl who got married over fall break and went on her honeymoon between first and second semester. The guy who brought his children to one of our night classes because “karate started after class” and he didn’t want his kids to miss out. The woman who took a full load of courses and managed to pass them all while 8 months pregnant. The man who walked out of an important Employment Law lecture because he refused to miss the birth of his child. The people who realized that law school is a part of life, not the whole thing.  

If you are looking for an excuse to think this way and to give yourself permission for a more balanced plate, I am here to encourage you. Having other priorities besides law school doesn’t mean you won’t graduate, pass the bar, or be a good attorney—it just means you will have developed better time management and coping skills when you’re done. As you transition from remote learning back to the classroom, I would encourage all of you keep life in perspective; although you may no longer be taking quizzes from your couch, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sit down on it and spend time with loved ones. It’s possible to be both a good student and a good family member or friend; life doesn’t pause when you become a 1L, and there’s no going back in this game.