Mistakes happen to every single one of us. No matter how cool and collected we are (or pretend to be) every single law student will experience the sorrow of an unexplainable mistake.
This Is My Mistake Story:
Law school makes me feel as if I have to be infallible. I have to be perfect or the curve will crush me and I will never have the chance to transfer to a North Carolina law school.
My closest friends are my competition. We all support each other genuinely but the reality is unavoidable. If you don’t set the curve, your peers will.
The competition keeps us silent. It keeps us from sharing our weaknesses or concerns with other, who in reality share the same hesitations and doubt. Law school inherently convinces us all that everyone else is perfect and we must maintain the same perfection or become lost in the B- current. Thinking that everyone else is perfect, and telling any classmates of my mistakes will give them a leg up on me in the remaining finals made me feel utterly alone.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE… EVERYONE WILL MAKE A MISTAKE
My Mistake was 3pm May 8th, 2018 during the torts 2 (economic and dignitary torts) final. It was supposed to be an easy A for me. The material was naturally interesting to me and I knew it backward and forward. I flew through the first and second questions not missing a beat. The third was a monster. Nearly 10 separate causes of action identified and argued fully and eloquently. It was over. I was sure of my A, nothing had stumped me. But there was a fourth question on the last page of the packet. I had left it unanswered. I had become so totally enthralled with the third question, entrenched by the number of topics to cover that I never turned the page. I’ve run it over in my mind 1000 times but the fourth question and the entire last page of the final is a blacked out of my mind.
The worst part is I knew the answer. Listening to classmates talk about the misleading fact pattern, I knew right away that I would have been able to answer and answer well.
I just didn’t see it.
I came home utterly distraught. Feeling as if I had thrown away all of my chances of transferring on one question that was allotted 30 minutes of a 150-minute final. That means I cried for over an hour straight over 20% of ONE Final. But law school makes you feel that way. Like 1/5 of ONE final is the end of your GPA, the end of your career prospects, and the end of your life.
I never really believed in “true accidents” until this exam. I cannot recall another moment in my life where I have literally no explanation for my actions. But that is the nature of the beast. Maybe it was the third problem, maybe it was the mounds of pressure I had self-imposed over making good enough grades to transfer back to North Carolina. Whatever the explanation, it is a reminder that sometimes in life we are not totally in control. We will all make mistakes and have no rhyme or reason for how they occur. We will be totally prepared and still fail. But that is the thing, it WILL happen to EVERYONE. No matter how we try to mask our “weaknesses” not one law student and not one lawyer on earth are without mistakes.
So after your mistake give yourself the evening to process
Cry it out, take an extra kickboxing class, have some tequila (responsibly), but when the sun rises the next day, so should you. Your mistakes will NOT define you no matter how massive and oppressive they feel at the moment. Take whatever twisted lesson the Law Fates were trying to teach and move forward knowing that you are stronger.
You fell but you have risen.
You will continue to move forward into the challenges ahead
you will win.