I firmly believe that any person who tells you they got all the way through their 1L year without contemplating, even for a minute, dropping out is a big, fat liar. And hey, I’m only a month into law school. So far, I’m pretty sure about 75% of my class has considered dropping out at some point and the other 25% are not too far behind us. No, no one has actually dropped out yet but that doesn’t mean we don’t all secretly think about it while reading a case we can’t figure out.
My “I should just drop out” moment came yesterday. We took our first midterm last Friday and got the results yesterday. I got an average grade. I basically freaked out that I wasn’t going to be good enough and that it wasn’t worth me staying here if I wasn’t going to get the best grades. I wanted an A and I thought I did well enough to deserve one, but the professor clearly did not agree. I started to think about why I wanted to be here and what being a lawyer meant to me. Sure, things had been difficult but I’d been doing alright up until this point.
Needless to say, I am not dropping out. I decided it was worth my frustration over a grade and that being a lawyer would be worth it in the end. I know I’m going into this profession for the right reasons and I’m not naive in knowing that career prospects aren’t exactly promising right now. In the end, knowing I can do what I’ve always wanted to do is worth the headache rearranging my life would be. So now, instead of dropping out, I have a new plan. To keep up on my reading, to control when I’m being distracted, to see a counselor for my perfectionism, to use my resources at school to do the best that I can.
I think the difference between good lawyers and great lawyers can first be seen in how people deal with the “drop out” moment. I look around at my classmates and know the same thoughts are going through their head. I know some are struggling more than I am in making a decision to stick it out or be done. The good lawyer, they stick it out for the wrong reasons. The great lawyers, stick it out because the genuinely want to be here. Do I think I’ll be a great lawyer one day? For now, all I can do is hope that if I ever have another “drop out” moment, I’m strong enough to stick it out and do what I need to do.