It’s been about a year since the coronavirus began making headlines around the world. 2020… What a weird year, amirite? And 2021 is getting off to a wild start as well.
Today, I’m rededicating myself to publishing articles more often, here on the blog at lawschooli.com, and I feel like it would be insincere if I didn’t first address how crazy things have been. I’ve written thousands of words in dozens of draft articles over the few months as I tried to find something meaningful to say, but each draft seemed contrived, my tone either too gloomy or too cheerful. In the end, the only way to set the right tone was with little help from Schitt’s Creek gifs…
I’ve got GREAT NEWS!
2020 was the absolute worst year of my life.
No, that’s not the good news.
Don’t worry, I’ll get to the good news soon.
First, the BAD news.
We’ve been grappling with a global pandemic, racial injustice, layoffs, lockdowns, wildfires, the election, the aftermath, the snowstorms… Oh, and remember the F––ING MURDER HORNETS? That was a thing.
So, yeah… it’s safe to say:
We’ve been going through some historically turbulent times.
Our lives have been upended in a way that I don’t think any of us could have anticipated. Even for those of us who have had it relatively easy, it has been isolating and stressful.
Maybe you’re graduating from college soon, and this pandemic has upended your college experience. Maybe you lost your job, and you’re trying to figure out your next career move. Maybe you’re currently a law school student dealing with cold calls over Zoom.
You have ambitions. No matter what stage you’re at, if you are reading this article, it is because you’ve got big goals. You’re on the path to taking the LSAT, going to law school, becoming a lawyer. You are going places.
The typical law school student is a bit of an overachiever. Only 2% of Americans earn a doctoral degree, so the fact that you are even considering law school makes you pretty exceptional. You’ve been on the fast track to success. Or, at least you were.
Everything was going to plan… until it wasn’t.
However, the ambitious traits that have driven you to get this far can also make the uncertainty and lack of control that we have all experienced over the past year feel particularly difficult.
We’re going to get through this. There are better days that lie ahead.
But it’s still going to take some time. There are many external forces, virus variants, remote classes, political strife, and plenty of other things that you cannot control. These forces may continue to present challenges as you work toward your goals. Things may continue to get worst before they get better. Set your expectations accordingly.
On the other hand, we’ve got multiple safe, effective vaccines that have already begun to be distributed. Spring is around the corner. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Things will get back to normal
It’s okay if you haven’t made as much progress toward your goals as you would have liked. It’s okay if you’ve lost your job. It’s okay if your grades slipped last semester. It’s okay if you feel like you’ve hit a plateau. It’s okay if you backtracked. You’ve had a lot on your mind.
Be kind to yourself.
If you are still reading at this point, it is because I knew that you needed to hear this. I wrote this article specifically for you. Maybe you’re hitting a “pandemic wall.” Maybe the last year has been particularly difficult for you. Trust me, I feel your pain.
I’m going to scale back my consumption of news and social media. I’m going to do less doom-scrolling and more writing. I’m going to make the best of a bad situation. How about you? What can you do to make sure that the next 12 months are better than the previous 12 months?
Start today. Take one small step toward your goal. If you are studying for the LSAT, go work through a couple of dozen questions. If you’re a law school student, catch up on that reading that you missed last week or start working on your Contracts outline. If you’re job hunting, go send one resume out to a prospective employer.
From the first LSAT practice test through the last question on the bar exam & everything in between, law school is a challenging endeavor, even under the best of circumstances. Under these circumstances, you’re doing amazing.
Be proud of yourself for getting this far. Forgive yourself if you aren’t exactly where you saw yourself a year ago. Allow yourself to imagine what you’d like to have accomplished a year from now.
Take one small step in the right direction. Go spend 20 minutes on the task that you know you need to work on. Do it right now, before you get distracted by the next email or social media post, or news notification.
Maybe you’re burnt out and you just need to go watch Schitt’s Creek and take a nap. It is entirely possible that rest and relaxation are the “next step” that you need.
And you know what… that’s okay too.