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Lessons Learned From A Loyola 1L

As she is wrapping up her first year at Loyola Law School, LEAP mentor Mi Tran took some time to reflect on the last year and offer sage advice for those who will come after her. In a letter to LEAP Fellows and all students considering law school, Mi imparts wisdom on weathering the unexpected, self-care, and keeping perspective. Mi is a first-generation student and the proud daughter of Vietnamese immigrants. She plans to graduate in 2022 and practice entertainment and intellectual property law. At LEAP we are honored to work closely with students like Mi who generously offer their time, knowledge, and mentorship to LEAP Fellows.

Dear Future 1Ls,

It feels like just yesterday I was sitting in the August heat of orientation, excited and nervous about the year ahead of me. Now that I’m wrapping up my last finals of my first year, a lot has happened—both expected and unexpected. As all big life experiences go, the most important thing is to remind yourself that, yes, you are prepared for whatever difficult thing is coming next, even when you don’t feel like you are. Remind yourself that it’s okay to pick things up as you go along, and that it’s okay to not get it perfect the first time.

Law school is a whirlwind of experiences and feelings you may have never felt before and it’s easy to get lost in the competitive nature of grades and feelings of inadequacy. I know I do sometimes. It’s good to push yourself, but it’s even better to slow down and gather your thoughts and emotions when things get tough, because self-care and rest are the secret ingredients to success in high-stress environments. Trust me. We are all humans first, law students second. Make sure you carefully choose a school that knows it, too, because you will appreciate all the support you can get.

If I could go back in time and tell my orientation self one thing, I would say to never lose track of all the reasons you want to be a lawyer and to put your pride aside; don’t be afraid to ask for help. The only person that matters here is YOU, because one day when you’re far into your career, YOU are the one who will get yourself there, so don’t worry too much about others and the path they’re on.

Best of luck to all of you, and remember that even the most unprecedented times are nothing but a tiny speed bump in this crazy but rewarding journey to becoming a lawyer!

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