There’s been far too much self loathing going in the law student community lately. I’ve heard a lot of students knock themselves down for not making Law Review, not getting the grades they wanted, not getting an interview, and on and on.
(If you thought this whole article was about Drake, now is where you get annoyed, so just skip to the end).
The law student grade shaming isn’t so different from a different issue we see a lot on social media: weight shaming. In February of 2018, actress Jameela Jamil started a movement called #Iweigh, after seeing toxic weight shaming on social media. The campaign encourages people to share positive things about themselves that have nothing to do with their body size .
The campaign encourages people to “look beyond the flesh on our bones” to see “how amazing” they are. Not just about “body positivity” but about “life positivity” too, Jameela says the campaign is about how she personally measures herself in “what I did, how I made people feel and how much I enjoyed myself.”
How Law Students Can “Weigh” In and Measure Up
Jameela’s campaign has a lot of parallels with law students, and how we view our self worth while in school.
As a student, the one question you probably ask yourself from time-to-time is, “How do I measure up?” Most of us are rightly concerned with successfully meeting goals, deadlines, and grades, but many of us also spend way too much time comparing our efforts to those of other students who seem to be “doing it right”.
Here’s how to “measure up” to your own standards:
1. Make your own lane. I know this is a lot easier said than done, but try to quit judging yourself according to other people’s definitions of success. Getting a B, or even a C, does not doom you to a life of failure. Instead of dwelling on grades, try to think about why you’re in school in the first place, and find a way to measure your progress that is meaningful to you.
2. Set intrinsic goals. Intrinic goal setting involves planning for the future. Thinking positively about the future can improve our ability to create goals and our perceived control over goal outcomes and our future. (Think about starting vision boards: yes, they are still a thing ).
3. Pay it forward. As a law student, you have the ability to make an impact on someone’s life, whether it’s through contribution of your legal knowledge or by simply offering support to other law students who are struggling with anxiety, isolation, or stress. Knowing that you have done your part to make the world a better place can be incredibly fulfilling.
Before you measure your success strictly through your transcript, ask yourself: have I made a difference in someone’s life? Do my words and efforts make a positive impact? If so, you’re a success. Call it what it is.
4. Get gritty. Law school is tough. You will face a lot of roadblocks, perceived failures, and seemingly insurmountable challenges. You will fall. If you’re like me, you’ll fall a lot. But you will also learn about yourself, and what your path is.
Law schools should really consider making Drake lyrics required reading, but until that happens, I’ll leave you with this:
“Accept yourself. You don’t need to prove sh*t to no one except yourself.”
Weigh yourself by your own standards, and you’ll see that you measure up. You always have.