2L Perspective – 1st Week Back (Round 2!)

2L Perspective on the first week backToday we welcome back guest writer, and now 2L, Shirlene Armstrong, to discuss her first week back to law school. It’s a totally different experience than 1L year, and she’s sharing it all with us.

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are beginning to change, and the weather is starting to get a bit colder. That’s right, back-to-school season is upon us. This year instead of starting my law school journey, I am continuing it with my 2L year. The year they say that you are “worked to death.” This is a recollection of how my first week went and how this year and last year are already much different.

Less Class

Although I am still taking 15 credits like last year, surprising to me, I am in class for significantly less time. Part of this is because I do mock trial, which takes a few credits, however, I still have 4 other classes. Another part of the equation is that the classes are advanced. By this, I mean that less of the class is spent trying to explain what the law is or how to understand cases. Instead, we are diving deep into the content of the course with little to no introduction. This also makes the class more intellectually challenging. The bright side is that less time in class means more time to study.

More Professional and Understanding

This time last year, I was staring at my Torts book asking myself why the heck am I doing this to myself. I was frustrated, overwhelmed, and a bit defeated. This year, thankfully, is different. Although I am still a bit stressed and overworked already, I am feeling rather calm about this year. I am still not fully in the swing of things or in “class” mode, but I don’t feel (and hope I don’t feel again) defeated. Instead, I feel elated and encouraged. I am really enjoying the content of my classes and making connections that I haven’t before.

Working (To Death)

2L year is the “work to death” year. And, so far, I can confirm the rumor. Although I have less class and am feeling less overwhelmed, I am BUSY. I am extremely, extremely busy. I have always been known to juggle many things and wear several different hats, but I am constantly doing a million things at once. I am still working part-time at my law firm, juggling my responsibilities as the Women’s Law Caucus Treasurer, preparing for Mock Trial, taking classes that are more challenging and still staying on top of my personal life. I am glad that I am getting these new opportunities and challenges, however, this week has been very exhausting. I am definitely feeling the pressure to organize my time and prioritize all my tasks. I am sure I will feel better after the first few weeks of getting back into the swing of things but, for now, I already need a vacation!!

Mentees

One of the best things from this year is that I have mentees! One of my favorite things to do is help people, and I am always willing to take on mentees. I believe in helping people succeed and learn from the challenges that I have experienced. Since I’m a 2L, that means that suddenly I am a competent enough law student to help the new students through law school. So, I currently have some young 1Ls that look to me for advice on how to survive school. This is the greatest part about being a 2L. To see a 1L go from frustrated and overwhelmed to relaxed and reassured. I got to meet with one of my mentees this week and was able to ease her troubles and worries about school. This makes my struggles from last year well worth it.

Excited For This Year

Although I have already braved a year of cold calls, exams, and the law school workload, it goes without saying that I am still stressed and tired, as most law students are. However, I am also very excited. I am getting into classes that I actually enjoy rather than being required to take. I am experiencing new opportunities like Mock Trial, more responsibility with work and being a leader of a student organization. I am feeling valued as a law student and aspiring young lawyer. Needless to say, I am embracing the new challenges head first and excited for every new twist and turn. I may not be preaching the same lines of confidence and excitement come finals, however, I think this year has potential to really be grand.


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About Shirlene Armstrong

Shirlene Armstrong is a first-year law student at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She received her undergraduate education at Grand Valley State University, graduating with her B.A. in Political Science with honors. Shirlene enjoys providing advice and guidance to all those in need and is very excited to begin her law school and legal career. Her dream is to become a litigator and one day run for judgeship.

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