Managing Pre-Law Stress: You’re not the only one

Every law student who has ever entered a law school class has a moment (at least one) of feeling that everyone else knows something they don’t. Everyone else is on their game, understands this whole mysterious process that is playing out before them, but you alone somehow missed the memo. Of course, this impression is false. In fact, nearly everyone else is sitting there in the classroom with the exact same fears and insecurities as you’re experiencing.

This lonely feeling begins well before law school, though. Most applicants that I speak to are certain they are the only ones asking me the questions they’re asking, and stressing so much about the LSAT. Of course, none of you is alone either. Indeed, if there weren’t so many anxious prospective law students—if you were the only one—then all the test prep companies, online forums, law admissions book authors, and private pre-law advisors would go out of business.

So what can this newfound knowledge of your not-aloneness do for you? First off, it means you can at the very least stop stressing that you might be the only one who doesn’t get it. Second, it means you can share the burden with others. Talk about your test anxiety with other applicants, and gain insights about how to mitigate it, for example. (But be wary of information shared among stressed out applicants: always verify it from some more reliable source like, for example, your pre-law advisor.) Third, band together to make the process more efficient (and more fun): start an LSAT study group, ride together to visit the law schools in Boston, proofread each other’s personal statements. This kind of collaborative effort is what will ultimately make you a more successful law student and lawyer.  And, it can be fun, and you need fun right now. Being sociable will help you now and in the future as you navigate the path ahead.

That feeling that you’re the only one who doesn’t get it? It’s so common they put it in a movie — 50 years ago!

Other resources for managing stress