Starting law school is as terrifying as it is exciting. As crippling as that fear may be, it can definitely be used for your personal growth if you approach it the right way. Here are a few of the most common first-year-of-law-school fears and how to deal with them.
- Picking Your Own Courses – The idea of picking your courses can be daunting. Often times, you’ll want to avoid certain courses because they sound scary. If the legends are true, the professor is evil, you’ll never pass, and your GPA will be destroyed forever. But don’t allow those fears to dictate which courses you take or don’t take. The courses that you are most fearful of are the ones that you probably need the most help in. So take those “scary” courses. Work hard. Excel.
- Law School Exams – Freezing up on exams happens to everyone. It’s even worse when you can hear all of your classmates scratching or typing away at their tests, while you can barely comprehend the first question. The fear of looking unintelligent on paper is very real; you know that your professors will read your exams and be judging your answers. Try to relax. The professors are not out to make you look bad, and will be looking to find the good (or salvageable) in all of your work. Just take the time to write out all of your thoughts on the topic, and then go back and edit. Your first year of law school will be the perfect time to get over your fear of tests. You’ll be ready for the bar exam before you know it.
- Speaking Out Loud….In Front of Anyone – Talking in front of anyone in law school may seem terrifying at first. Whether it’s a normal conversation during a lunch break or answering a question in class, speaking out loud, where everyone can hear your thoughts and judge your words, can cause you to freeze up. Just remember that if you’re being called on in class, your professor is training you to work under pressure. If you’re nervous about whether you match up to your peers, just remember that you got into law school just like the rest of them. You’re qualified and you should use this time to grow confident in yourself and exercise your conversational abilities.
For more advice on surviving your first year of law school, see this article.