Non-law relationships are the best! On a regular basis I can facebook message or text one of my non-law friends about things like grades and have them be really genuinely happy for me. In law school, there is always competition. Don’t get me wrong, I have great friends in law school. It’s awesome to have other people to talk about the challenges and problems of school, law related stuff, and how awful our lives are. BUT, that doesn’t mean sometimes you don’t need an escape.
Maintaining relationships with non-law people is really difficult and it’s hard for them to understand what you’re going through. I have three really close friends. One, Katie, I’ve been friends with since elementary school. We’ve both really independent people and sometimes we’ll go a few months without talking. Sometimes, it’s more like a week. Luckily, since we’re both fairly independent, there isn’t any animosity when we don’t talk for months. My two other friends are Sam and Marisa. We’ve been friends for a few years and were sorority sisters in undergrad. We’ve all graduated and have jobs, school, relationships, etc. I talk to them pretty much every day in one way or another. Outside of friends, I have Patrick and my family to keep me sane.
The best thing about Katie, Sam, and Marisa is they are all young enough and fresh enough out of school to understand that during finals, I will be busy and won’t be around to talk to much. They can be genuinely excited for me when I do well in a class and are still interested enough (or act interested enough) in my life to let me explain stupid law things to them.. We’re all so uniquely different in the paths we’ve taken that there is always something interesting going on in our lives. I don’t actively take time out of my day to talk to any of them really, it just kind of happens. I have a facebook message going with Sam and Marisa and I text Katie all the things I can’t say to anyone else. It’s just not hard to stay in contact with them or to have an interest in their lives.
With Patrick, well, that poor kid is stuck with me forever now. He’s such a trooper letting me go crazy and stress out, taking care of things when I need to study, and every single semester he learns more about law than he could ever care about. Maintaining a relationship with him is easy. We schedule in a date night when I don’t have a lot of studying and I’m not working. Date nights are cheap, we order in food and watch a movie on Netflix or we go out to dinner. Every night, I try to make sure we have a least a little bit of time to talk about our day or really anything. I get most of my work done at school so when I’m home, it’s family time only. He’s quite a trooper with the craziness of my life.
However, not all relationships are as easy to maintain. My family does not understand why I go MIA for a few weeks during finals and don’t always have time to come home or talk. I wish I could get them to come audit a class for a few days so they could see what I really deal with everyday. Sometimes, relationships like these may be easier to just cut your losses on. But in my case, they are family and I can’t and won’t do that. I try to make time for my family and make sure I’m calling home and seeing everyone while I’m home but it can be difficult.
Maintaining relationships is work. Regardless of if you are in law school, it’s hard to keep a relationship going. I remember reading somewhere the brain has a hard time balancing any more then 7 real relationships. Now imagine the limited brain capacity you have in law school. Sometimes the relationships are worth it and sometimes they aren’t. Trying to get others to understand law school is not going to work unless they are in law school but taking an active interest in someone else’s life can definitely help.