2.5 GPA at a Tier 1 law school seeking advice (VERY long)

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
june2014

New
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:14 am

2.5 GPA at a Tier 1 law school seeking advice (VERY long)

Postby june2014 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:05 am

-
Last edited by june2014 on Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:58 am, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
rcharter1978

Gold
Posts: 4275
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:49 pm

Re: 2.5 GPA at a Tier 1 law school seeking advice (VERY long)

Postby rcharter1978 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:50 am

OP -- I'm sorry you're feeling this way, it sounds like it sucks. :(

You have a lot going on, but from my perspective, being absolutely miserable and not doing well in your first semester are signs that you should probably take the leave of absence.

A D in a class is pretty rare, and I'm not sure what class it's in, but yeah you're maybe not fully grasping everything. I don't think it's a language issue since you did okay in your legal writing class. This means you are likely just having a hard time with the concepts.

I'm not sure how far 30k goes where you live, but maybe you can just chill out, get the dog grooming job and live off of that + savings while you re-evaluate. In the meantime you can look into jobs that aren't litigation based. Since you can graduate with zero debt, you may be able to find a position that doesn't require litigation. Maybe something in government, etc. But I think you just need to re-evaluate...especially before you do.something drastic like moving back to another country.

If you're worried about living expenses, look for a roommate or resolve to settle someplace nearby that is a little cheaper.

blueapple

Silver
Posts: 599
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:56 am

Re: 2.5 GPA at a Tier 1 law school seeking advice (VERY long)

Postby blueapple » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:56 am

I agree with rcharter. I will also add that I think you should stop talking to your ex boyfriend and stop thinking about the possibility of him coming back to you. He sounds like someone who is always telling you that you're not good enough, and he's both wrong and not helping your depression. You deserve someone who believes in you and who wants to help you succeed, not someone who feels inconvenienced by your emotions.

So anyway, I do think you should take a leave of absence this semester no matter what. The immediate thing you should focus on is your mental health. It sounds like you are interested in computer programming but nervous to make that career change, which is normal! This is just one anecdote so do not take this has hard data or anything, but I have a friend who had been working in retail management since we graduated from college (and she had a humanities degree) and then she did a programming boot camp, and after applying for jobs for a couple of months in that field she found one. So it is certainly possible, but I'm sure it takes a lot of hustle. But I would keep learning HTML or a different type of code before you drop everything for the boot camp. I'll reiterate that the most important thing is your mental health because until you feel confident in yourself you'll have a hard time in interviews (I know this from experience. It is very hard to confidently show an employer why you're right for the job when you don't truly believe in yourself yet).

So maybe take a leave of absence, find a retail/service job to help you make some money, and learn programming AND explore other possible career options. Think about the things you enjoy doing and explore how those things might transfer to another job. Check out your university's job bank -- maybe they'll have entry level administrative job openings that look interesting? Even if you decide you want to go back to law school, you'll be confident in your decision and know that it was a decision and not just something you wandered into.

I will add: most people during 1L feel like they study so hard and that they can't study anymore, and then after a semester or two they figure out that they can do better and study less just by studying better. You said you were preparing hard for cold calls AND finals, and after a semester I figured out I just needed to stop preparing for cold calls so much and deal with being kind of embarrassed if I didn't know what was going on - because my time was better spent preparing for finals or sleeping, and my cold call wasn't going to influence my grade. For some people, preparing for cold calls helps with studying for finals but it didn't do that for me, so I stopped doing it. If you do go back to school, you'll need to figure out what it was that you were doing wrong in your exam prep, and that will help with a lot of your stress.

Take care of yourself and reach out if you need a stranger to talk to.
Last edited by blueapple on Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

anonanonny

New
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:24 pm

Re: 2.5 GPA at a Tier 1 law school seeking advice (VERY long)

Postby anonanonny » Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:10 pm

Let me start by saying I am sorry for what you're going through and that you're not alone in struggling with your mental health. I'm going to tell you what I would do in your shoes, based on what you have in your post.

From your post, it seems to me that your best course of action honestly would be to drop out and pursue a different path. Law school is not made for everyone and it is absolutely okay if it's the wrong place for you! There is no shame in that. Doing poorly at one thing, law school exam-taking, does not mean you cannot succeed at other things or in other areas. Stay encouraged and hopeful that you can find a job that is right for you. I know it's easier said than done, but try to keep all of this in perspective. Being surrounded by law students can make you feel like all that matters in the world is law school, but it's simply not the case. The legal world is part of the world but it isn't the whole world. Try talking to your family and loved ones who are not in law school to remind yourself that there's more happening outside of the legal profession. Even if you have a degree that doesn't seem applicable for jobs, you can still apply to entry level positions at different companies and likely will find one in a reasonable amount of time. Employers will ask you why you decided not to finish law school and you can come up with a good reason as to why it just wasn't a good fit for you. I promise this is not your demise. You'll get through this and you can find the right place for you. Whether or not the place for you is in programming, I can't say, but why not try? You can give it a shot and see whether you actually like it or not. Sometimes we have to fail at things to find out what is wrong for us. If you hadn't gone to law school, you would never know if it was the place for you.

And about your ex-boyfriend, he sounds like a jerk who can't make up his mind. Trust me when I say you can and will find someone who doesn't have doubts about you. I held on to a relationship with someone who was similarly shaky. I ended up breaking up with him because I realized I didn't deserve someone who had to "think" about whether they wanted to be with me. I'm so happy I did break up with him too because I met my husband 3 months later. Look, I know this is tough right now, but don't give up. Giving up keeps you from finding your happiness. You'll get through this, and I wish you all the best.

Feel free to reach out, I've had my own mental health issues in the past and it gets so much better when you know you're not alone.

BeeTeeZ

New
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:26 am

Re: 2.5 GPA at a Tier 1 law school seeking advice (VERY long)

Postby BeeTeeZ » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:01 pm

This is my first post, and one I hope is well spent.

Forgive me if you feel the forthcoming advice does not address your concerns, or if you are already pursuing this option and simply omitted it for some reason. Also, I will honor your request to not quote your text, so forgive me if my references are paraphrased.

You had suicidal thoughts several times last semester. You stopped seeing your counselor at school due to privacy concerns. You have "issues" and mood swings. You feel isolated from your family, friends, and classmates. Your self-worth is low. You are feeling a lot of stress, fear, and anxiety. You are working yourself to exhaustion.

Mental health is a very personal thing, and I know absolutely nothing about you besides the information in your post. With that said, no one can perform their best if they are depressed and suicidal. No one. People who are feeling the way you are feeling sometimes can barely drag themselves out of bed, let alone study relentlessly and finish a semester of law school with passing grades. I think the first thing you should recognize is that your GPA is not a negative indication of your ability to practice law. Your GPA is a positive indication of your ability to push through one of the most difficult times in your life, with little support, and with an incredible handicap that would have pushed the vast majority of people (including me) over the edge. The fact that you were able to get B's while feeling depressed and suicidal is nothing short of amazing. If you free yourself of that there's no telling what you will be capable of.

Perhaps you are already seeing a therapist outside of your school. If you aren't, find one and see talk to them. About everything. If you are, they aren't doing their job and you should find a new one. There are resources for you to see a therapist either free or at a significant discount. Your school counselor can connect you with 3rd party resources.

Perhaps you are already taking medication. If you are, it's not working and you should either find a new doctor, try a new medication, or both. If you are not taking a medication, I suggest you allow yourself the opportunity to give it a chance, if after speaking with your doctor about how you're feeling they suggest you do so. If you are "against the idea of medication" like many are, I can empathize with that. Ask yourself, if you were diabetic, would you refuse insulin? If you say no, but still reject the idea of taking medication for mental health, ask yourself why that is. I'm not an M.D., and I'm not advocating medication as a solution for all or even most mental health issues. I do advocate that you explore the possibility with an open mind, with the support of your doctor and family if you are comfortable speaking to them about it.

I encourage you to seek help. Not over the summer. Not during spring break. Now. The sooner your mental health improves the sooner you can start addressing the other things you are dealing with. It won't take that much time, it won't cost that much money, things aren't as bad as you think they are, and you have infinitely more reasons to not take your life beyond guilt over your family and fear of pain. I spent a decade living in misery due to depression, anxiety, and other issues. It didn't happen over night, and it wasn't easy, but getting help is far easier than living in mental hell indefinitely.

I hope at least some of this is helpful, and if it's not, I'm sorry for any assumptions I made in error.

june2014

New
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:14 am

Re: 2.5 GPA at a Tier 1 law school seeking advice (VERY long)

Postby june2014 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:54 am

rcharter1978 wrote:OP -- I'm sorry you're feeling this way, it sounds like it sucks. :(

You have a lot going on, but from my perspective, being absolutely miserable and not doing well in your first semester are signs that you should probably take the leave of absence.

A D in a class is pretty rare, and I'm not sure what class it's in, but yeah you're maybe not fully grasping everything. I don't think it's a language issue since you did okay in your legal writing class. This means you are likely just having a hard time with the concepts.

I'm not sure how far 30k goes where you live, but maybe you can just chill out, get the dog grooming job and live off of that + savings while you re-evaluate. In the meantime you can look into jobs that aren't litigation based. Since you can graduate with zero debt, you may be able to find a position that doesn't require litigation. Maybe something in government, etc. But I think you just need to re-evaluate...especially before you do.something drastic like moving back to another country.

If you're worried about living expenses, look for a roommate or resolve to settle someplace nearby that is a little cheaper.


Thank you so much for your advice and empathy.. I think you're right that I shouldn't do anything drastic at this point like moving back home. The school is tucked away in a very rural area with very little opportunities for any job other than waitressing around school, so if I go on a leave, I will most likely choose to stay where I am currently living with my roommate on a lease that ends in August, and live off of what I have saved in my account while learning how to program/code on my own for a few months, then trying out a bootcamp fulltime, and then find a place to live near the city only after finding a job as a programmer. One thing I'm the most worried about with this option is that for some reason deep inside me I am also pretty scared of programming not working for me, and the idea that I will be detached from my friends and ex-boyfriend in law school is also very lonely. I think I'm still torn on the matter because the Deans and my Lawyering professor all advised that it would probably better to stick around another semester and try out a summer internship over the summer to get a better understanding of whether I really dislike law and would like to quit. I didn't tell them about how I was very depressed to the degree of feeling suicidal last semester though, so I'm not sure how they would have advised me had I told them that. It's a headache to think that programming may really not work out and I'll just be wasting a lot of time just alone, other than the times I'm with my roommate in my current apartment.

User avatar
rcharter1978

Gold
Posts: 4275
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:49 pm

Re: 2.5 GPA at a Tier 1 law school seeking advice (VERY long)

Postby rcharter1978 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:02 am

june2014 wrote:
rcharter1978 wrote:OP -- I'm sorry you're feeling this way, it sounds like it sucks. :(

You have a lot going on, but from my perspective, being absolutely miserable and not doing well in your first semester are signs that you should probably take the leave of absence.

A D in a class is pretty rare, and I'm not sure what class it's in, but yeah you're maybe not fully grasping everything. I don't think it's a language issue since you did okay in your legal writing class. This means you are likely just having a hard time with the concepts.

I'm not sure how far 30k goes where you live, but maybe you can just chill out, get the dog grooming job and live off of that + savings while you re-evaluate. In the meantime you can look into jobs that aren't litigation based. Since you can graduate with zero debt, you may be able to find a position that doesn't require litigation. Maybe something in government, etc. But I think you just need to re-evaluate...especially before you do.something drastic like moving back to another country.

If you're worried about living expenses, look for a roommate or resolve to settle someplace nearby that is a little cheaper.


Thank you so much for your advice and empathy.. I think you're right that I shouldn't do anything drastic at this point like moving back home. The school is tucked away in a very rural area with very little opportunities for any job other than waitressing around school, so if I go on a leave, I will most likely choose to stay where I am currently living with my roommate on a lease that ends in August, and live off of what I have saved in my account while learning how to program/code on my own for a few months, then trying out a bootcamp fulltime, and then find a place to live near the city only after finding a job as a programmer. One thing I'm the most worried about with this option is that for some reason deep inside me I am also pretty scared of programming not working for me, and the idea that I will be detached from my friends and ex-boyfriend in law school is also very lonely. I think I'm still torn on the matter because the Deans and my Lawyering professor all advised that it would probably better to stick around another semester and try out a summer internship over the summer to get a better understanding of whether I really dislike law and would like to quit. I didn't tell them about how I was very depressed to the degree of feeling suicidal last semester though, so I'm not sure how they would have advised me had I told them that. It's a headache to think that programming may really not work out and I'll just be wasting a lot of time just alone, other than the times I'm with my roommate in my current apartment.


Of course they want you to stick around. For a variety of self involved reasons that have nothing to do with you. You need to do what is best for you. If they want to help, maybe they can point you in the direction of a low level job in an alums law office so you can get some pay and experience while on LOA.

I get scared too, and it's held me back from a lot of things. Please take my advice and don't have those regrets. We only have one life, so if you think there is a chance something else will make you happy go for it.

When I get hesitant sometimes I visualize a pool and instead of Dipping my toe in I just jump in like a cannonball and that's how you have to attack things.

So do your boot camp and see if it works out if it does that's great if it doesn't that's fine too you're young and you'll find what works.


Good luck and keep us posted!!

ToGetIntoTheBoysHole

New
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:35 am

Re: 2.5 GPA at a Tier 1 law school seeking advice (VERY long)

Postby ToGetIntoTheBoysHole » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:16 am

The only thing I'd recommend for OP is to take the weekend/week and not think about any of this. Reset, clear your mind, and focus on other things besides life altering decisions. I know it can be hard, but constantly agonizing over it is only going to make things worse. Eventually you'll get a feel for what seems right to you and the decision will become easier to make. Just be realistic with your expectations and don't feel like there is some path you are forced to follow.

june2014

New
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:14 am

Re: 2.5 GPA at a Tier 1 law school seeking advice (VERY long)

Postby june2014 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:24 am

blueapple wrote:I agree with rcharter. I will also add that I think you should stop talking to your ex boyfriend and stop thinking about the possibility of him coming back to you. He sounds like someone who is always telling you that you're not good enough, and he's both wrong and not helping your depression. You deserve someone who believes in you and who wants to help you succeed, not someone who feels inconvenienced by your emotions.

So anyway, I do think you should take a leave of absence this semester no matter what. The immediate thing you should focus on is your mental health. It sounds like you are interested in computer programming but nervous to make that career change, which is normal! This is just one anecdote so do not take this has hard data or anything, but I have a friend who had been working in retail management since we graduated from college (and she had a humanities degree) and then she did a programming boot camp, and after applying for jobs for a couple of months in that field she found one. So it is certainly possible, but I'm sure it takes a lot of hustle. But I would keep learning HTML or a different type of code before you drop everything for the boot camp. I'll reiterate that the most important thing is your mental health because until you feel confident in yourself you'll have a hard time in interviews (I know this from experience. It is very hard to confidently show an employer why you're right for the job when you don't truly believe in yourself yet).

So maybe take a leave of absence, find a retail/service job to help you make some money, and learn programming AND explore other possible career options. Think about the things you enjoy doing and explore how those things might transfer to another job. Check out your university's job bank -- maybe they'll have entry level administrative job openings that look interesting? Even if you decide you want to go back to law school, you'll be confident in your decision and know that it was a decision and not just something you wandered into.

I will add: most people during 1L feel like they study so hard and that they can't study anymore, and then after a semester or two they figure out that they can do better and study less just by studying better. You said you were preparing hard for cold calls AND finals, and after a semester I figured out I just needed to stop preparing for cold calls so much and deal with being kind of embarrassed if I didn't know what was going on - because my time was better spent preparing for finals or sleeping, and my cold call wasn't going to influence my grade. For some people, preparing for cold calls helps with studying for finals but it didn't do that for me, so I stopped doing it. If you do go back to school, you'll need to figure out what it was that you were doing wrong in your exam prep, and that will help with a lot of your stress.

Take care of yourself and reach out if you need a stranger to talk to.



Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. I really, really appreciate it, and it means a lot to me at the moment.

I didn't write too much about my ex-boyfriend, so my post might have come off the wrong way - he has offered an immense amount of help throughout my ups and downs last semester. I had picked on him and made a big deal out of every little thing about him that bugged me. I was and still am consumed in my own hardships and emotions, and picking on him was my twisted way of venting stress and finding relief from his attention and constant apologies that followed most of my complaints and fits. This, coupled with the possibility that I might now become jobless without any career prospect, along with the possibility that we might have to sustain a long-distance relationship for however long it would take for me to figure out my path and settle down while he will be finishing off law school here and then working in nyc after graduating, made him break it off with me. Another factor was that he was too pressured by me trying to make a decision about what to do with my life largely based on simply living/staying near him.

But you are absolutely right that I should stop talking to him. I should make the right decision for me and me alone. Otherwise, even if he ever does want to start it over with me, I can see myself blaming him for every little thing that goes wrong following my decision.

Thank you so much for your friend's story - that takes away some fear I had about coding. And if I do decide to go on a leave, I will definitely take your advice and learn more codes before going all in for the boot camp.
Last edited by june2014 on Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:00 am, edited 2 times in total.

june2014

New
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:14 am

Re: 2.5 GPA at a Tier 1 law school seeking advice (VERY long)

Postby june2014 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:11 am

BeeTeeZ wrote:This is my first post, and one I hope is well spent.

Forgive me if you feel the forthcoming advice does not address your concerns, or if you are already pursuing this option and simply omitted it for some reason. Also, I will honor your request to not quote your text, so forgive me if my references are paraphrased.

You had suicidal thoughts several times last semester. You stopped seeing your counselor at school due to privacy concerns. You have "issues" and mood swings. You feel isolated from your family, friends, and classmates. Your self-worth is low. You are feeling a lot of stress, fear, and anxiety. You are working yourself to exhaustion.

Mental health is a very personal thing, and I know absolutely nothing about you besides the information in your post. With that said, no one can perform their best if they are depressed and suicidal. No one. People who are feeling the way you are feeling sometimes can barely drag themselves out of bed, let alone study relentlessly and finish a semester of law school with passing grades. I think the first thing you should recognize is that your GPA is not a negative indication of your ability to practice law. Your GPA is a positive indication of your ability to push through one of the most difficult times in your life, with little support, and with an incredible handicap that would have pushed the vast majority of people (including me) over the edge. The fact that you were able to get B's while feeling depressed and suicidal is nothing short of amazing. If you free yourself of that there's no telling what you will be capable of.

Perhaps you are already seeing a therapist outside of your school. If you aren't, find one and see talk to them. About everything. If you are, they aren't doing their job and you should find a new one. There are resources for you to see a therapist either free or at a significant discount. Your school counselor can connect you with 3rd party resources.

Perhaps you are already taking medication. If you are, it's not working and you should either find a new doctor, try a new medication, or both. If you are not taking a medication, I suggest you allow yourself the opportunity to give it a chance, if after speaking with your doctor about how you're feeling they suggest you do so. If you are "against the idea of medication" like many are, I can empathize with that. Ask yourself, if you were diabetic, would you refuse insulin? If you say no, but still reject the idea of taking medication for mental health, ask yourself why that is. I'm not an M.D., and I'm not advocating medication as a solution for all or even most mental health issues. I do advocate that you explore the possibility with an open mind, with the support of your doctor and family if you are comfortable speaking to them about it.

I encourage you to seek help. Not over the summer. Not during spring break. Now. The sooner your mental health improves the sooner you can start addressing the other things you are dealing with. It won't take that much time, it won't cost that much money, things aren't as bad as you think they are, and you have infinitely more reasons to not take your life beyond guilt over your family and fear of pain. I spent a decade living in misery due to depression, anxiety, and other issues. It didn't happen over night, and it wasn't easy, but getting help is far easier than living in mental hell indefinitely.

I hope at least some of this is helpful, and if it's not, I'm sorry for any assumptions I made in error.


Thank you so much for your advices and encouragement. The issue about my confidence and mental health seems iffy because I wonder if I'm just a whiner who needs to toughen up and accept that life is hard for everyone at times. Confidence is an especially tough problem - I've had social anxiety and low confidence all throughout my life since middle school, and I am not sure whether this leave of absence would really solve that problem. I have a history of seeing a therapist weekly for almost a year regarding my confidence issues before law school, but I'm not sure if it helped at all, and am unsure of what to do about all this at the moment.

I went to a high school where kids were very competitive, and there I also suffered severe social anxiety that accompanied suicidal thoughts. I dropped out of school when I was a sophomore and got my high school degree through home schooling to pursue what I thought was my dream, art, only to realize that I wanted to escape again, and decided to go to college and study humanities. My parents had always told me that I have a grass is greener syndrome and that I remain mentally weak because I keep escaping hardships instead of enduring them. They've been telling me that I shouldn't habitually give up something because it's hard. A part of me is scared that that is true. I am scared that at this rate, I might give up everything I do when there is any sort of a challenging aspect to it. This is the thought I tried to hold onto to push myself to finish last semester.

When I was seeing a therapist before law school, I was prescribed fluvoxamine because she said that it might help with my obsessive compulsive thoughts regarding low self-worth and everything else. I took it for over a month, but didn't feel any positive difference so ended up quitting it. I was also unsure about my depression because sometimes, I would feel totally happy and not depressed when I am not under any pressure to meet people I am uncomfortable around, have no obligations at the moment (study/work/worries about stable future and career).

I know I will be depressed for sure again once law school starts, but I guess I'm just unable to get rid of self doubt - about whether I will be able to function and carry out tasks/work normally and happily anywhere else outside of law. I'm questioning everything about my worth starting from social skills, mental stability, capability to perform anything at all (work wise), intelligence, etc. After reading what you wrote - that I should be proud of getting Bs with my mental state throughout the semester - I do feel a little better about myself.. It's just that I can't seem to completely get rid of the idea that I'm not smart enough, because I even spent the whole summer before the summer studying like crazy full time all of the subjects that were covered last semester.
Last edited by june2014 on Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:01 am, edited 5 times in total.

june2014

New
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:14 am

Re: 2.5 GPA at a Tier 1 law school seeking advice (VERY long)

Postby june2014 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:28 am

ToGetIntoTheBoysHole wrote:The only thing I'd recommend for OP is to take the weekend/week and not think about any of this. Reset, clear your mind, and focus on other things besides life altering decisions. I know it can be hard, but constantly agonizing over it is only going to make things worse. Eventually you'll get a feel for what seems right to you and the decision will become easier to make. Just be realistic with your expectations and don't feel like there is some path you are forced to follow.


That sounds like a good idea. I'll have to make the decision by Monday morning, so hopefully taking today off will really clear up my head..



Return to “Forum for Law School Students�

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 27 guests