What I Really Learned in Law School

Today I've got a great guest blogger for you - my sister Kimberly! I often talk about Kimberly here on the blog, so I'm thrilled to have her sharing a post with you all today! Enjoy!

 Rachel & Kimberly, 2008

Hello everyone! Rachel’s younger sister, Kimberly, here and I am so so excited to be guest blogging for Rachel while she is traveling Europe!  As I am about to embark on one of the scariest and most exciting times of my life, it’s the perfect opportunity for me talk about the lessons I learned through a very tumultuous, yet rewarding experience over the past three years – law school. 

For whatever reason, I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer.  Probably because I am a giant nerd at heart and it’s the perfect profession to put my “pencils in a straight line, color code every tab in my binder perfectly” obsessions to a productive purpose.  Deciding I wanted to be a lawyer and go to law school was just about the only “easy” decision that has come my way over the last three years.

To say that I was a nervous wreck in the weeks leading up to leaving for law school would be the understatement of a lifetime.  From tantrums to complete meltdowns you name it I did not want to move to Boston for law school for a myriad of reasons - the distance, leaving my boyfriend, family and friends and being down right terrified.  But I sucked it up and left for Boston and swore up and down that I would transfer back to New York after my first year.

Boston!

Within a week of moving to Boston, I absolutely fell in love. With the brownstones, the tree lined streets, law school, the friends I made along the way and the fact that, as a Yankees fan, I could basically throw rocks at Fenway Park from my apartment building’s stoop, I was completely hooked.

 Dad & Me at Fenway Park

But I had made a promise to myself and after one year in Boston, I submitted (with fingers crossed I could stay in Boston) my transfer applications to all of the top choice schools I had been rejected from during my first go around.  And then, out of nowhere, an opportunity I just could NOT pass up came my way, I was accepted to Brooklyn Law School.  Within seconds of reading my acceptance letter, it became clear how much of an impact a year in Boston had made on me, through tears, I made the decision to accept my admission to Brooklyn Law. I’ll never forget my parents’ attempt to take me out for a  “celebration” dinner. And by celebrate, I mean my father (bless his heart) tried to cheer me up by feeding me mojitos and trying to explain to the waitress that, this was actually a reason to celebrate as I continued to cry into my cocktail.

24 hours later, I was moving to Brooklyn. Alone. Waving goodbye to Boston, my new friends and the school I loved.  And although I will spare you the details of the way things went down in Brooklyn, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.  On top of the stress that comes with law school (which if you haven’t heard is abundant), I broke up with my boyfriend, tackled New York City, struggled both academically and socially at my new school and really came out of the experience two years later a different person.  As I embrace graduation and looming unemployment, I am doing my best to not try and predict what the next year will bring and look back (somewhat) fondly of the last three years and the lessons learned:

You will ALWAYS need your family and friends.

I know that this is obvious, but many times I felt like I was alone in my struggles and that no one would understand what I was going through.  And time and time again my friends and family proved me wrong.  Even if I was going through this “alone”, I was never alone and from the beginning should ALWAYS put more faith and trust into my family and friends – both old and new – who listened to me complain and cry from everything to a break up to my finals for three years (you know who you are) and I thank you for always picking up my phone calls, always being prepared with a bottle of wine and always telling me it WAS going to get easier. I could not have survive any of this without everyone supporting me.

You can do whatever you want.  When I wanted to go to law school, I never thought I would be able to go to Brooklyn Law School.  Everyone told me it was too competitive and my chances of getting in were almost zero. But I was determined.  Even when my friends made fun of me for being at the library at 7:15 everyday, it was worth it. I got in and I am proud that I never let the negativity discourage me from sending my application. Although my decision to transfer did not turn into a positive experience in the end, I am happy that I made the decision to move to Brooklyn and am happy with the person that will receive their diploma from Brooklyn Law.   I am currently struggling to use this advice and ward off the nay-sayers, as I struggle to find my place in my post-graduate life and land the dream job I’ve always wanted at a law firm in New York City.

Indulge

Bottom line, indulgence (in moderation) can really help anyone through a rough situation.  Sometimes it’s okay to pull the covers over your head. Get a good cry in. Never underestimate the power of a piece (or five) of chocolate.

at my NYC apartment with my roomies

Drink an entire bottle of red wine and go dancing.  Through all the red bulls, late night study sessions and take-out food, letting myself indulge every once and awhile really helped me get through the toughest of times and come out with at least a bit of my sanity in tact.  

Everything happens for a reason.

with my fantastic New England Law girlsThree years later, three apartments, two cities, two law schools and one giant cliché later, I have walked away with friendships that will last me a lifetime ones I would have never formed if I hadn’t moved to Boston, a boyfriend and best friend whom I wouldn’t have met if I never went to Boston (and then subsequently moved ten blocks from where he grew up in Brooklyn), and an exciting new start to my life that I know I would not appreciate had it not been for the changes the past three years have taught me.

with my boyfriend, Nick 

I thank my lucky stars for the journey I’ve been on because it would have never left me where I am today – happy, confident and excited for the next curveball that life will throw at me.  Because in the end, everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t know it yet.  

Thanks for listening to my (very wordy) story, and I leave you with these questions: What are the biggest challenges you have faced in your life?  What advice would you give to how to handle adversity?