An often unadvertised side effect of law school is the feeling of inadequacy. Everyone knows it’s difficult, it’s a heck load of reading, but no one really told you you will wind up feeling shitty about yourself and extremely jealous of others. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle where the academic plankton of the cohort feels the strain and burden of scrapping passes in order to qualify for the bar (passing it is a different story entirely), the average student fears he should be doing more to catch up with his more illustrious peers, and the cream of the crop wondering if giving up all the other things in life was really worth it for those A grades. Rinse, repeat.
Yesterday, my professor invited a trio of lawyers to come speak to us in class on some issues pertaining to corporate crime prosecution. What struck me wasn’t so much the content (which was fascinating, but not the point of this post), but the profiles of those lawyers. Not just them, but all the other lawyers I’ve met, be it at internships, talks, pervasive online stalking… they seemed, and probably actually are, disgustingly successful in their careers. Stellar education credentials only boosted by years of impeccable lawyering work, they had all their shit together, gathered in fistfuls as they put bad people in jail, sought bajillions of monetary damages for their clients, et al. I shudder to think what inconspicuous contributions I can make to this world upon graduating next year.
Maybe you’re thinking I’m being melodramatic and harbouring illusions of grandeur by comparing my (only tentative, possibly non-existent, probably lacklustre, hopefully not disastrous) future legal career with these heavyweights. Maybe instead of the moon, I should be aiming for the stars. So I tried that, but it was even more depressing. I have schoolmates bringing home championship trophies like I bring home a McDonalds takeout. Schoolmates writing for academic journals. Schoolmates making it onto dean’s lists. And me? I forgot about the existence of my Chinese Contract Law assignment until the day before its deadline. I’m a gigantic mess and I know it. It’s not helpful being so self-aware.
Then I get bitter and sad when I think about other things, such as how I could actually be in Mannheim, Germany exactly right now, instead of sitting in this study room trying to hunt for a legal principle on copyright subsistence that does not, for the love of God, seem to exist. Then I get angry at myself for letting my brain wander off that far into the abyss when I have so, so many other things to be worried about. Like this research point that I can’t seem to address properly. Or my second learning journal for the creative thinking module I’m taking, that’s due end of this week. It’s Thursday already. Oh dear.