Life After Law School

I am now well into my post-law school life and I have been reflecting on the difference in my life after law school. I have been blessed with a pretty good road after my graduation from law school. Despite a little hiccup with my first bar exam and needing to retake the exam in February 2020 (I passed!), my life has been really great. I secured a wonderful job with my law school, my husband and I bought our dream farm, I have time for hobbies and creativity again and my stress level is significantly lower. I want to go through all the emotions and thoughts I have gone through after law school. While I am very happy now, the road after law school has not been perfectly smooth and based on conversations with fellow law grad's, I think that is pretty normal. 


Immediately after finishing law school, most immediately jump into bar prep. There is little time to celebrate your accomplishment or decompress after 3 difficult years of schooling. You go from one stressful experience into another that is just as stressful (if not more). It is a very strange feeling to be technically done with something (law school) while not actually being done with all requirements for your career (license to practice law). Once the bar exam is over, you are still in a stressful holding pattern while you await results that could make or break your career, your job offer, your job prospects, etc. For me, I think bar prep and the months after the bar exam were more mentally stressful and trying to my emotional health than law school itself. Of course, this period of my life was doubled by having to take the exam a second time though the retake process was significantly less stressful. 


Once all the requirements to be a lawyer are complete, you move into the working world. For me, I ended up in a JD advantage job working for my law school in development. So I am not actually practicing at the moment and therefore cannot speak to that experience. However, just the transition from years of school and studying to just work and home life has been very strange for me. For 20 years, my life was defined by education, homework and studying. Now, I work my 40 hours a week and the rest of my time is 100% mine. There is no paper waiting to be written, there is no case waiting to be read, no outlines I have to finish and absolutely no flashcards (thank the LORD!). 


On the bright side, I love having my free time back to do things I enjoy. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes and I finally have time to do that regularly again. I have time to clean, organize and decorate my home and make it feel the way I have been dreaming of. I have time to spend with dear friends and my family without stressing about what I am not getting done. I have time to delve into my most beloved passion again- my horses. We have our farm now and are slowly turning it into the little homestead of our dreams complete with chickens, horses, a garden and land to enjoy. I have so much more time and energy for the parts of my life I enjoy the most and I am reveling in that. There is also a sense of peace in being done. Finally. 


But it is not all rainbows and unicorns. After years of going a million miles a minute, I am really struggling to slow down. I find myself busying myself with things when I could be relaxing and enjoying my free time. My brain is not as tired all the time and I have seen an uptick in my anxious tendencies and worrying about things I really don't need to be worrying about. I didn't used to have the mental energy for that but now I do. I miss the flexibility of my schedule as a student. I even find myself missing classes and notetaking. As hard as school was, I genuinely did enjoy learning every day. I get angry with myself sometimes for feeling this way- shouldn't I just be happy to be done? I wish it was that simple. 


I also feel the strain of not knowing which direction I should take my life in different ways. Am I ready for kids? Do I ever want to be a stay at home mom? Do I want to return to practicing law in the future or do I want to stay in JD advantage? Do I want to continue blogging or do I want to close that chapter of my life? My life has always revolved around moving towards the next thing be that college or marriage or law school. Now I have kind of arrived at the cumulation of a lot of life goals and now I feel the "what's next" itch. It just feels like a time of transition in my life and that can be scary. Sometimes I feel like I am just stumbling around without direction. Oh yeah and then toss all the craziness of 2020 and life in a pandemic in there... what a time to be alive!


So how am I handling all of this competing emotion? I am giving myself a whole lot of grace. I am trying to find my new balance in life and it's not going to be easy and perfect all the time. I am working to force myself to relax more and worry less... so much easier said than done. I am trying to find all the joy in this stage of my life. I am accepting the fact that I am going to have some weird emotions. It's all part of this crazy ride called life.


If you are feeling similar things in the post-law school life, you are not alone. We will all get through it and find our footing again. Have grace with yourself. 

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