The (AWFUL) Reasons I’m Staying in Law School


I’m 97% sure I’m going to slog through the rest of the semester. It seems I hate law school with more passion than most of my peers, but I am staying. Here is why:

  1. To prove I can
  2. To make my professor’s proud
  3. In the hope that I will like law school/the practice of law later

(To prove I can) Objectively this makes no sense. I already passed last semester while battling depression. There is nothing to prove…except, to prove to the scholarship committee that I am capable of getting good grades. This should not matter at all, if I’m planning on quitting law school at the end of this semester. It matters to me because what positive views I hold about myself come from outside sources (IQ tests, scholarships, grades). Losing the scholarship by .07 of a GPA point makes me angry at myself. I feel the need to prove I can get great grades in law school, even if I’m not finishing.

boromir facepalmFyi, this is Ned Stark in The Game of Thrones (note the Hand of the King pin on his vest), not Boromir from Lord of the Rings

(To make my professors proud) This makes no sense either. I’ve spoken to 2 out of my 3 professors and they both said they were impressed that I got the grades I got last semester with my lack of class attendance and procrastination. They both also said I should have higher grades in their class based on raw ability. Lastly, they both expressed concern about my health, saying I am more than capable of being at the top of my class, but maybe not right now. They both suggested a leave of absence. On one hand, despite my failings, they think I’m smart and they both said they were proud. On the other hand, they both think I can’t do it. Well, I’ve proven I can get straight Cs in law school with depression. They mean they think straight Cs are no indicative of my potential and I should take time off to get healthy before coming back and kicking ass. I want to prove I can get As and Bs with depression. I suppose that is idiotic. Why does it matter that I can still pull off good grades while mentally ill? That is like someone saying, “I want to prove I can still get straight As while undergoing cancer treatment.” It matters because if I am as smart as they think I am, I should be able to get good grades in spite of depression. I want to prove them wrong in a good way. They think I’m intelligent, I want them to be happy when they think of me, not sad or disappointed. If I get the grades I “deserve“, they’ll be happy.

(In the hope that I will like law school/the practice of law later) I still hold hope that I can find a niche in the law, but as of now, I’ve only taken 3 classes because the classes I’m taking right now are continuations of last semester. If I can just struggle through the next 3 months and pass, I’ll be able to try classes I might actually enjoy. I’m scared of regrets. If I can make it through this semester and at least try some classes that align with what I believe I want to practice, I won’t have to wonder “what if…?”

In the meantime, here is my life:The Hulk_Avengers_I'm always angry

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You Don’t have to Fight Anymore


I talked to my Legal Research and Writing Professor for an hour and a half. She is amazing! It turns out that she struggles with depression. We talked about depression, anxiety, perfectionism, medication, therapy, premature birth, support systems, and coping mechanisms. My professor asked if there was a family history of mental illness (there is a minor history, but no one as bad as me) and whether I thought my struggles were genetic or environmental. I said both, but that was why we talked about prematurity. She didn’t say anything new, but she phrased some ideas differently than other people. It was helpful.

What especially stuck with me was “Wow, no wonder you’re a fighter. You have always been a fighter…but you don’t have to fight anymore. I was proud, amazed, that you passed last semester. You’ve clearly proven you can do it and you’re smart enough. Leaving doesn’t equal failure. You need to do what makes you happy. I worry about you because law school is making you this miserable. The first year is tough, but I know many people who struggled with depression in their 3rd year. This, no degree, is worth being suicidal.

But then again, I feel like I still have something to prove. Like this: (4:44 – 5:09)

Is this what you really want? I know it is hard to know this early; if it is, maybe you should fight for it. If it’s not, the degree isn’t worth the pain you’re in. Maybe a leave of absence would help. If you’re much better out of law school that maybe your answer. Also, just because you leave, doesn’t mean you can never come back. I know students who failed their first semester, reapplied, and returned. I see no reason why you wouldn’t be accepted; you have a solid C average. You’ve proven yourself.”

She also said I can help people without a law degree. I said I wanted to do child advocacy; she said there may even be better ways to make a difference because with the law, you feel like you’re fighting unwinnable battles against this giant system. She used to be a child advocate and a juvenile defense attorney, but she became a professor because she burned out.

She said I deserve to take care of myself. I deserve to be happy. I shouldn’t do things because like her, “I (she) was the intelligent person who didn’t want to take the MCAT. It was expected because everyone said I’d made a good lawyer…and I made a great lawyer. My perfectionism worked in my favor, but I was miserable.” Also, on one hand, I am depressed and that wreaks havoc on motivation, but on the other hand, is it possible I waited until the last possible moment to do every assignment, barely read the casebooks, and skipped as many classes as possible to still pass because this is really not were I want to be?

I have a lot to think about. If I become suicidal again, I will at least take a leave of absence. Short of that, I don’t know what to do. I am inclined to stay…today.

lilah teasing smile