Law School Journey

Just The First Step, Not the Whole Staircase

Me standing at El Morro castle in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A big is behind me. I'm smiling and wearing sunglasses and an orange and white polka dot t-shirt. My logo, the letters TSD, is in the bottom right corner in white.

Hi again. Anyone out there? It’s been a while. I’ve started so many posts with that line that at this point it sounds a little gimmicky. I promise it’s not. I simply like to acknowledge when I’ve disappeared for a while, through no fault of my own. I’ll admit, normally not writing puts me in a weird place. It’s not fun. Thankfully life has been pretty busy lately. Being busy is good because it distracts me.

In the past few days, I finished the special intro to law school program and even went on a rejuvenating mini-getaway in the Caribbean. Thank goodness for escape, am I right? Now I’m just about to start the fall semester. Yes, I’ve been in school since May and taking six credits. From now on, school will be moving at a much faster pace and what’s expected of me will multiply. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t a lot of work before. It was. It’s just going to get worse. A lot worse. I have to prioritize, focus and do both really well. I have to become an expert at proper and effective time management.

When I was recovering from SDR surgery, the hours moved slowly and stretched during the day. There was plenty of time to think and reflect. To plan. Sleep. Exercise. Read books or write until my hands and fingers ached. The whole experience was lonely. But we already know that.

In the next few weeks, the opposite will be true. There won’t be enough time in the day. Hours will diminish, fast. I’m going to be planning everything down to the minute. I have no choice. As a first year law student, I’m going to be reading, briefing, annotating, living and breathing cases. It’s going to be a cycle. What do cycles do? Repeat. The good thing is, right now I feel like I won’t mind it much. Of course, this is me writing from my cozy little office before the semester has even begun. What the heck do I know about how I’m going to feel a few weeks or months from now? Nothing. Maybe I’ll be so overwhelmed that I’ll start every morning with a good cry before I get ready for the day. I honestly don’t know.

Right now, though, I want to focus on the positives. Try and be optimistic without that voice in my head telling me I’m fooling myself. I’ve been given a fantastic opportunity and I’m not going to ruin it. So I wake up every day and choose to be excited and radiate positive energy. I won’t have time to deal with any kind of nonsense, negativity or stressors, whatever those may be. I decided I need to put strict boundaries in place. Boundaries aren’t just telling friends and family that I’m too busy with schoolwork to hang out. That’s true on the most basic level. Boundaries are also protecting my mental health and peace. I might not know every detail of the journey that lies ahead but at this point I know enough to fiercely guard my mental health at all costs. Which, by the way, should be true in any situation, not just because I’m starting school at full speed ahead.

I’m trying my best to stay away from toxic people or anyone that causes me distress. Especially now. I have too much at stake. This is my future. I try not to dwell on the future during the regular day-to-day because it can be scary. Will I be ok? Not just physically but emotionally and mentally. Will I be happy? Sometimes I fear thinking so much will psych me out. To fix that, I’ve gotten in the habit of saying one day at a time each morning. If I can get through one day with tasks accomplished, I consider the day a success. Then I get up and accomplish something else the next day. And again. A cycle. It repeats.

Writing this reminds me of a saying that goes something like focus on the step in front of you, not the whole staircase. I don’t remember who came up with it but it’s super timely and relevant. I’m not focusing on the day I take the bar, pass the bar, become an attorney or even the days after that. I’m focusing on the first official day of orientation. Then when that day’s over, I’m focusing on the next. You get my point.

As much as this short post could serve as a quick PSA for how ridiculously busy I’m going to be with school and how I’ll likely be living in total hibernation, I suppose it can also be a loving reminder to set boundaries and protect your peace, whatever your situation may be. Boundaries matter. Preserving your mental health matters too. Healthy boundaries and mental wellbeing might very well be the real keys to success.

Which brings me to another point. I’ve been told repeatedly that law school can be very isolating. I made the mistake once before of going through tough times alone. I don’t want to make that mistake again. I guess this is me reminding myself and whoever’s reading this that while boundaries are super important, don’t forget to lean on friends and family when things get tough. And they will. Resisting support seems like a bad idea. After all, I wouldn’t have gotten where I am today without it. Ok, ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now. I just felt like writing down some thoughts before life gets impossible. Dear blog, I don’t mean to neglect you, but school comes first. I mean, hey, maybe I’ll get to squeeze in writing a post here and there. Honestly though, I’m not counting on it. Guess we’ll just have to see! Signing off for real this time. Cheers.