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16 Struggles Only Law Students Would Understand

16 Struggles Only Law Students Would Understand

Someday you plan on being a successful attorney so that you can fight for minority rights or lead internationally-renowned cases. Today, however, you are just a law student, living off caffeine, balancing deadlines, and trying to get a grasp of what this “legal” thing is all about. If you’ve chosen to pursue a degree in law or want to be informed about what you should expect of your education, here are 16 struggles every wannabe lawyer faces:

1. You know that every rule has an exception

Ninety percent of legal rules have a few exceptions, and some more exceptions to those exceptions. It eventually makes you wonder whether the whole legal system is based on rules, or on exceptions.

2. Your reading list is long and expensive

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    Compared to your peers studying at other graduate schools (with the possible exception of med students), the list of books you need to buy for just a single course is so extensive that it touches the floor. Even worse, those books cost you a tiny fortune, and aren’t necessarily helpful. Out of fear of going broke, you spent your first year learning where to score discounted books and find free academic articles online.

    3. You have learned to discuss the readings without reading them

    You can talk for hours about things you have never read, and still sound smart doing it.

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    4. You hate moving or going home on holidays

    Packing is your worst nightmare, because you know at least 70% of your suitcase will be filled with textbooks, half of which are on next semester’s reading list that you’ve vowed to read during the breaks.

    5. You are broke

    And probably will be for the first few years of your career. You enviously watch your Facebook friends post pictures of new cars and houses while you continue to share a tiny studio with a roommate and eat cereal twice a day. You’re afraid to look at your bank account at the end of the month when it’s time to pay off your student loans. While out on a cheerful Friday night, you secretly calculate how many more beers you can afford if you plan to pay your bills on time.

    6.  You often doubt if you have chosen the right degree

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      When the pressure starts to mount, your motivation drops to a record low, and the pile of cases on your desk climbs so high it could be used as a ski slope, you start to question your choice of profession for the tenth time this year. A degree in law will stretch you to your limits and test your commitment over and over again.

      You know folks who’ve switched degrees and now study something they enjoy, while later planning to take another shot at legal in grad school. Sound like a really appealing scenario to you too? The good news is that you can actually transfer your credits to an online degree program like the one at Regis University. With a degree from RGS, you could study something you actually enjoy and save a ton of money at the same time.

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      7. You are tired of giving free legal advice

      Your best friend, your mom, your dad’s cousin, and even his dog have asked you for some minor legal advice at least once (or twice, or ten times). You’re tempted to scream that you plan to become a corporate lawyer specializing in mergers, and are unable to answer questions like: “How can you represent someone you know is guilty?” And no, you can’t help with their phone contract. Nor do you have any idea of the legal intricacies of Internet libel law.

      8. You need to learn everything for exams

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        As one of your tutors puts it: “This amendment is not examinable material, but is good to know for the purpose of your exams”.

        9. Your best friend is caffeine

        You catch up at least five times a day, and often at night when you need to finish another seven page essay by tomorrow. You can’t live without each other, yet you often blame it for making you see noises.

        10. You never stop competing

        Law school has turned you into a gunner. You are always forced to compete against fellow students for the best grades. Some schools have even made things worse by using a bell curve to mark the group, making your grades directly depend on how the rest of the year performs. You know people who become extremely defensive and do everything purely for personal gain (and often at the expense of others). You think the television show “The Apprentice” features some mild drama and low competition compared to the battles happening in your classroom.

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        11. You have love/hate relationships with tutorials

        Yes, it’s the legal playground where you are supposed to learn and act, but most days you simply try not to appear clueless and avoid the wrath of the tutor. Although you do admit that these small group interactions gave structure to your learning and helped you remember the material, you can’t stop hating these days as they approach.

        12. You are constantly asked about “commercial awareness”

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          It’s your #1 pet peeve requirement on any job listing. It’s a somewhat mythical concept each employer regards as crucial for a position with them, yet hardly any of them ever bother to explain what exactly it entails.

          Let’s get this clear once and for all – commercial awareness in a nutshell is an interest in business and an understanding of the wider environment in which it operates: customers, competitors, and suppliers. Basically, apart from coming with a hoard of legal knowledge, the employer expects you to know some business basics as well. This also secretly means knowing all things possible about their market, the issues that may potentially bother their customers, and everything about their aggressive competitor’s strategy and how you can help to squeeze them.

          Sure, you can read a few business articles and take advantage of your skills to talk wise about things you know little about, but be prepared to study more if you’d like to get that job!

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          13. You speak and understand another language

          The legal language that is: one sentence paragraphs composed of a peculiar mixture of Latin and unpronounceable English words, spiced up with even more twisted jargon. You can even speak like this sometimes, especially when you don’t want to appear clueless at the tutorial.

          14. Your career prospects are rather vague

          You try not to read the news too often, with headlines such as “energy sector cuts lawyers” and “legal aid cuts” appearing every other week. Getting a job as a recent law grad is tough. But when there are no jobs to take, how are you expected to pay off your loans?

          15.  You blew a lot of your money on highlighters

          highlighters

            Sometimes you wonder if you’re reading your textbook or your little sister’s coloring book. You just need to highlight the most essential parts, even if that means coloring the page in five different colors.

            16. You can’t imagine having another career

            Despite it’s woes, pressure, debt, and caffeine withdrawal symptoms, life as a law student is the only way you can imagine it. You would still love to become an attorney one day to help people in trouble, fight for justice, or just finally got to know the right definition of “law”.

            Featured photo credit: Thomas Leuthard via flickr.com

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            Last Updated on September 17, 2018

            7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck

            7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck

            Relationships are complicated and when you’re unhappy, it can be difficult to tell what’s causing it and what needs to change.

            Sometimes it’s as easy as opening up to your partner about your problems, while other times it may be necessary to switch partners or roll solo to get your mind straight.

            When you’re in the thick of things, it can be difficult to tell if you’re unhappy in your relationship or just unhappy in general (in which case, a relationship may be just the cure you need).

            Here’re signs of an unhappy relationship that is possibly making you feel stuck:

            1. You’re depressed about your home life.

            No matter what you do in life, you’re going to have good and bad days. Your relationship is no different.

            However, no matter what you’re going through at home, you have to feel comfortable in your own home.

            If you constantly dread going home because your significant other is there, there’s a problem. Maybe it’s something you already know about, everyone has an argument or just needs some alone time.

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            When that yearning to be alone becomes an insatiable obsession over the course of months and years, it’s time to realize you’re not the exception to the rule.

            You’re unhappy in your relationship, and you need to take a look in the mirror and do whatever it takes to make yourself smile.

            2. You aren’t comfortable being yourself.

            Remember all those things you discovered about yourself when you first got together? The way your partner made you feel when you met that made you fall in love with him or her in the first place.

            If they don’t make you feel that way anymore, it’s not the end of the world. If your partner makes you uncomfortable about being you, then her or she is only dragging you down. It’s up to you to decide how to handle that.

            You need to be comfortable with who you are. This means being comfortable in your skin and with the way you walk, talk, look, breath, move, and all the other things that make you uniquely you.

            If the person who supposedly loves you doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, know that you can do better. They’re not even one in a billion.

            3. You can’t stop snooping.

            Mutual trust is necessary in any relationship. The only way to get that trust is with respect.

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            I can find you anywhere online, no matter how private and secure you think you are. The odds of you having a password I can’t crack are slim. If we’ve met in person, I could install a remote key logger on your device without even touching it.

            Finding your information online hardly takes a clandestine organization. Any idiot with a Wi-Fi-enabled device can cyberstalk you. I’m just the only idiot in the village admitting it.

            So now that we know everyone snoops, it’s time to address your personal habits. Governments snoop because they don’t trust us. If you’re snooping on your partner, it’s because you don’t trust them.

            It’s ok to have doubts, and it’s perfectly normal to look into anything that looks weird, but keep in mind that data collection is only half of an investigation.

            If you find yourself constantly snooping and questioning everything, clearly there’s a trust issue and the relationship likely needs to end.

            4. You’re afraid of commitment.

            If you’ve been dating longer than a year and you aren’t engaged, it’s never going to happen.

            Commitment is important. People will come up with a million ways to describe why they can’t be committed.

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            No matter who you are if you like it, you need to put a ring on it. Find an engagement ring, stick a gemstone in it and marry the person. If you’re not legally able to get married or you don’t believe in it for one reason or another, have a child (or adopt one, however you’re able to) or treat your partner’s family like your own. It’s a huge financial and mental commitment.

            If you’re not ready for one or the other after some time, don’t waste anymore of your precious life on the relationship.

            Your relationship should be something that propels you forward. If it’s not going anywhere, make it an open relationship and call it what it is—dating multiple people.

            5. You imagine a happier life without your partner.

            If all you’re doing is imagining a happier life without your partner, it’s a sign that you’re in the wrong relationship. You’re unhappy and you need to get out.

            Your partner should be included in your dreams. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a future with someone.

            Try to remember what you dreamed of before you got your heart broken by the realities of life, love and the pursuit of human success.

            Remember when you would crush on that cute kid in class? You would secretly imagine marrying him or her and going on an adventure—that’s the way life should be.

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            If you’re not at least imagining adventures together, then why are you in that relationship?

            6. You resent, rather than love your partner.

            When a relationship starts to crumble, you begin to resent your partner for all the things you once loved about him or her.

            When you’ve reached this point, your partner has reached at least No. 2 on this list. From your partner’s perspective, your unhappiness with them is picked up as bashing them for being who they are.

            If you’re both unhappy in the relationship, it’s better if it ends as quickly and painlessly as possible.

            7. You chase past feelings.

            It’s okay to reminisce about the past, but if all you do is wish things were like they used to be, it’s a sign you’re not on the right path.

            You’re unhappy and, at the very least, you need to have an open dialogue about it. This isn’t necessarily a sign that the relationship should end, but it definitely needs a spark.

            When you talk to your partner candidly about what it is you’re looking for, you never know how they’ll react. The risk alone is worth it, good or bad.

            Final thoughts

            If you’re feeling stuck in your current relationship, it’s time to reflect about it with your partner. Don’t ignore these signs of an unhappy relationship as they will slowly go worse and harm both you and your partner in long-term.

            Featured photo credit: josh peterson via unsplash.com

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