So, its a new year and you’re on your way to studying law for the first time. It is exciting that, you’re finally beginning the steps in becoming a lawyer one day. You’ve got you stationary in check, textbooks in place, and you’re looking forward with excitement to start with your classes.
So here are a few things, we can share with you.
- YOU WONT REALLY KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR LAW DEGREE
When you are in your first year of studying law, you don’t really know what will come from it. For the most part, its all theory. Introductions to law do not really give you an idea of what you will specialize in. It will take some time before you even understand the application part of the law let alone know what to do with a law degree once you have it.
2. YOU WILL CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT IT
Once every semester you might reconsider your choice of studying law, and maybe think of trying to study politics, or even leave to go to culinary school. And that’s okay, always change your mind. But when you are dedicated to your studies, you can always stay on the course even when at times you’ll feel doubtful about whether or not you’re cut out for law. But, remember that you made it into law school. Of course you’re cut out for it.
3. YOU ARE MOST LIKELY TO QUESTION EVERYTHING
Maybe what we understand of the law going into varsity isn’t necessarily what it is in actuality. When do you get to scream out “objection you Honor”, why does the law have constituency of referrals.? When do you get to the exciting bit like SUITS, or like even when do you get to be Elle Woods in Legally Blonde? Buckle up, the studying of law is nothing like in the movies, but also not entirely terrifying as your lawyer uncle has described it.
4. YOU AUTOMATICALLY BECOME THE LEGAL EXPERT TO EVERYONE AROUND YOU
Every one, including your bestfriend now has a legal issue they would like to speak to you about. But “what do you mean you don’t know?” they will ask. Well, you’re still learning the stuff yourself. Its the point everyone else misses. Stay calm though, answer what you can or blatantly tell them not to stress you out.
5. YOU’LL HAVE TO READ EVERYTHING, EVERYDAY
Case law, we all wished it could come summarized. But reading it is what it takes to understand how all the theory you’re taking in has been applied before. But, if you’re going to be a successful law student you really honestly have to read, A LOT. There’s no way around it. So what happens to your social life? Move it to the library with you. Just kidding.
6. EVERYTHING IS EXPENSIVE
You know all those books you’ll be reading and studying from? They come with a hefty price. University on its own is such an expense, and it doesn’t come with textbooks. Or lunch. And the thing with law is that it regularly changes, there’s always a law being amended so your neighbor’s textbook from 2010 might not even be good enough at some point. Even libraries have a limited number of updated versions on books, so maybe be early to the library and sign up to use some of their books.
7. DECISIONS, DECISIONS
What are the real career prospects? Yeah you want to be a lawyer but what kind of lawyer do you want to be. And do not underestimate the moral compass of it all. Not everyone cut out to be an advocate that can fearlessly defend criminals. Its not clear cut between choosing to be an attorney or advocate. Research, follow your heart. Maybe you don’t even want to end up in a law firm, you just want to work in a community law center, or you want to go to corporate or government and work in legal departments. Find your niche, cliche but hey…
8. NEVER ENDING EXAMS
Just when you think you will have bagged your law degree, the comes the bar exams or the board exams. The bar exam in South Africa is written for purposes of pursing to become an Advocate. And the Board exams, are for those of you who will decide on being attorneys. Then there’s specializing exams. But that’s a chat for another day. For of course, you have your every term tests and assignments, end of each semester exams to look forward to.
9. YOU WILL CRY
Cry? How dreadful… But, Yes you will cry. Tears from feeling like you are over worked, or tears from constantly being conflicted about whether or not studying law was a good decision on your part. But, they aren’t all bad tears though. Imagine, the last exam. Imagine your final results. Imagine graduation day. Many good tears of overcoming await you.
So, buckle up. Immerse yourself in the process, avail yourself to different opportunities around you. The law is a wonderful tool in our world, and it needs you to overcome adversities and bring the law to life, and positively inject change into the lives of those you will touch.
Do you have things you wish you knew before deciding to study law? Tweet us and share your thoughts.