Super depressed at current school. Would I be crazy to "transfer down" or restart 1L?

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call-me-bubbles

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Super depressed at current school. Would I be crazy to "transfer down" or restart 1L?

Postby call-me-bubbles » Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:59 pm

Current 1L around median at a T6, and I'm absolutely hating my experience. I know a lot of the things I'm struggling with would be the same at any law school, but I chose my school because it was the best school I got into in a relatively good job market from my spouse. Until I got into this school and let the "prestige" factor sway me, I was set on Georgetown, where I would've been in a dual-degree program (yeah, I know what TLS thinks of those) that was as if it were made for me. In the law school, I would've been in a scholars program that would've allowed me to focus on my areas of interest in a small, intimate cohort, and I would've been in the city where I want to end up after graduate. The programs I applied to felt much more "me," and I was really excited about them. I had solid legal experience before starting law school, so I would've taken those connections with me wherever I went. As a first-gen student from a low-income family, I definitely bought into the idea that prestige and rankings correlate with better job prospects and career security, and I was terrified of somehow fucking up my future by choosing GeorgeTTTown with $$$ over the school I'm at now with $$. I was not excited about the school I'm at, but I convinced myself it would be worth it. However, culturally and in every respect, the school I'm at is a bad fit, and I've never felt this depressed in my life. I'm not suicidal, but I do have a lot of dark thoughts because I've just never felt so out of place before, and it's really worn me down. I barely recognize myself most days. I was abroad while applying to and deciding on schools, so I wasn't able to visit before matriculating to my current school.

Anyway, I'm really not sure what to do. My spouse is happy where we are and has good job prospects, but I feel like I'm dying on the inside and it's getting progressively harder to maintain the facade every day at school.

If I were on my own, I would 100% apply to "transfer down," taking the "prestige" hit in order to be in my city of choice, closer to family and friends, and in a school that would be more oriented towards the things I care about. I know that sounds crazy, but I just can't imagine another 2.5 years feeling this way to the point that I'm desperately posting to TLS to solicit thoughts/advice.

I feel like I'm too far in to transfer, and also for my spouse, I'd hate to uproot us again. I don't know if these are "legitimate" concerns, or maybe it's truly normal to be *this* miserable during 1L. I don't regret going to law school, but I regret going to *this* law school and wish I could just do it all over again, starting elsewhere. Feeling extremely low.

DebtPrisoner

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Re: Super depressed at current school. Would I be crazy to "transfer down" or restart 1L?

Postby DebtPrisoner » Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:58 pm

First of all - I am not a doctor and do not consider this medical advice.

I had a similar experience in undergrad (I am in my 30s now) where I got into a very prestigious school, hated it, wanted to transfer to something lower tier with a culture I thought would be a better fit. I filled out transfer applications. I was admitted to places. But I ended up staying at the school and graduating quite happy. Here's what I learned:

1) It's possible your unhappiness is not actually due to the school alone. I would see a counselor/therapist. I bet it's free at your school. Seriously. Talk to a professional before you make such a big decision. Don't listen to people on here. You don't even need to read the rest of my post if you don't want. Do this first and foremost before things get worse. S/he will give you tools to manage this and help figure out what is best for you.

2) find your people. They are there. I ended up going to arguably the top graduate program in world for my previous field (and without a doubt one of the top 3), hyper competitive with some really terrible people and a culture that was so full of itself it was insufferable. But I found a few people like me, and we made our own culture. If you don't see it in the students, make friends with the faculty. If you're married, perhaps you're a bit more mature and would fit in better with them anyways.

3) I'm still applying so I can't speak to how "normal" your feelings are for a 1L, but from what I hear I imagine they are common. That doesn't they aren't worth addressing via (1).

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Super depressed at current school. Would I be crazy to "transfer down" or restart 1L?

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:25 am

I think your experience is somewhat common. Maybe not to the level you're describing (seek professional help if you can't get yourself out of the rut), but you're married, in your thirties, and have significant real life experience. You're surrounded, day-to-day, by a bunch of 23 year olds who haven't worked a real day in their life and whose biggest concern is finding enough beer money for the weekend.

Nowhere you transfer to (unless you transfer waaaaaaaay down) is going to change that. The campus culture changes from school to school, but the law schools all tend to have the same types of characters.

I was newly married, working a real job, and 5 years older than the average student when I walked onto campus. I was lucky enough to meet people in similar situation through the evening program, but it can certainly be isolating. I remember sitting in a bankruptcy law class aghast at the completely idiotic questions coming out of students' mouths. These kids clearly had never needed to pay their own bill for anything, and I couldn't imagine finding any commonality with them.

There are people on campus who are more... enjoyable to socialize with. Find a club or activity that attracts people like you. You're still going to be surrounded by naive 23 year olds, but at least you've filtered out most of them.

I'm not suicidal, but I do have a lot of dark thoughts because I've just never felt so out of place before, and it's really worn me down. I barely recognize myself most days.


This sounds really familiar. It took me a while to get past that destructive cycle. For quite a while during school (and even after), I regretted my choice to go to my school and to go part-time. Things didn't pan out the way I had planned... not even close. Law school is a grind, and you need to make time and effort to keep your mental and physical health up to peak. If that means studying less and socializing (whether with classmates or with other people in the area) more, do it. You'll be in a better position to study hard at the end of the semester and do well.

sev

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Re: Super depressed at current school. Would I be crazy to "transfer down" or restart 1L?

Postby sev » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:15 pm

call-me-bubbles wrote:However, culturally and in every respect, the school I'm at is a bad fit, and I've never felt this depressed in my life. I'm not suicidal, but I do have a lot of dark thoughts because I've just never felt so out of place before, and it's really worn me down. I barely recognize myself most days. I was abroad while applying to and deciding on schools, so I wasn't able to visit before matriculating to my current school.

Anyway, I'm really not sure what to do. My spouse is happy where we are and has good job prospects, but I feel like I'm dying on the inside and it's getting progressively harder to maintain the facade every day at school.

I know I'm just a random person on the internet, but please see a therapist if you haven't already. The depression may be triggered by your new and uncomfortable environment but ultimately caused by something else (like simple out-of-whack brain chemistry).

snowball2

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Re: Super depressed at current school. Would I be crazy to "transfer down" or restart 1L?

Postby snowball2 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:07 pm

I get it. The grass is always less brown on the other side of the fence. Look at it this way, you go to this imaginary idyllic setting and end up with a "small cohort" of assholes and end up in a worse position. It's not them, it's you. If your early law school experience is ideal, then you're doing it wrong. It's a stress factory in an unfamiliar location. The others have given you valuable advice and I'll give you a variation on that from Stuart Smalley: "it's easier to wear slippers than to carpet the entire world." Find some slippers.

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Wild Card

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Re: Super depressed at current school. Would I be crazy to "transfer down" or restart 1L?

Postby Wild Card » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:01 pm

call-me-bubbles wrote:Current 1L around median at a T6, and I'm absolutely hating my experience. I know a lot of the things I'm struggling with would be the same at any law school, but I chose my school because it was the best school I got into in a relatively good job market from my spouse. Until I got into this school and let the "prestige" factor sway me, I was set on Georgetown, where I would've been in a dual-degree program (yeah, I know what TLS thinks of those) that was as if it were made for me. In the law school, I would've been in a scholars program that would've allowed me to focus on my areas of interest in a small, intimate cohort, and I would've been in the city where I want to end up after graduate. The programs I applied to felt much more "me," and I was really excited about them. I had solid legal experience before starting law school, so I would've taken those connections with me wherever I went. As a first-gen student from a low-income family, I definitely bought into the idea that prestige and rankings correlate with better job prospects and career security, and I was terrified of somehow fucking up my future by choosing GeorgeTTTown with $$$ over the school I'm at now with $$. I was not excited about the school I'm at, but I convinced myself it would be worth it. However, culturally and in every respect, the school I'm at is a bad fit, and I've never felt this depressed in my life. I'm not suicidal, but I do have a lot of dark thoughts because I've just never felt so out of place before, and it's really worn me down. I barely recognize myself most days. I was abroad while applying to and deciding on schools, so I wasn't able to visit before matriculating to my current school.

...


I'm likewise a first-gen student from a lower-middle class family. I've never felt more bitter and isolated in my entire life. I've done poorly academically and feel contempt for everyone around me. I feel that I'm surrounded by sociopaths and idiots.

Unlike you, however, I ended up below median, and almost struck out at OCI. But, thankfully, I didn't. Like you, I also got $$$$ at GULC and $$ at CCN. However, I have no regrets whatsoever, from a purely practical point-of-view. Half of GULC graduates don't get biglaw or federal clerkships. If I had gone to GULC and strayed from my friends and loved ones in NY, I might have done even worse academically and socially, and I would've certainly struck out at GULC's OCI. All the money in the world from GULC wouldn't have helped me then.

Be thankful for your situation and try to make the best of it.

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landshoes

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Re: Super depressed at current school. Would I be crazy to "transfer down" or restart 1L?

Postby landshoes » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:22 am

At Chicago this is the 100% worst time of law school. Things get much better after winter quarter 1L. I would say to give yourself a week after finals before you try to decide. Try to go somewhere sunny if you can. But after that week you can and should transfer to wherever you’d like to go. There’s nothing wrong with it.

I can also say that the social atmosphere at UChicago is the worst I’ve ever seen it. So I really don’t blame you. As a 3L I can just do whatever but as a 1L...I’m really sorry.



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