Fear can be one of the most debilitating emotions. And if you’re getting ready to begin your first year of law school, you’re probably feeling fearful of many upcoming experiences. First, the fear of newness. Will you feel at home at the school and in the new community? Will you make friends and feel connected quickly? Are you going to be able to handle the stresses and expectation of law school?
You’re most assuredly not alone. Looking around in your first class, you can rest assured everyone has some sort of fear. According to a new Above the Law article, there are a few common fears many 1Ls are experiencing.
First, there is the fear of public speaking. This often happens in the form of being called on in class. Of course, the fear is freezing or saying something stupid and being judged by your classmates and/or professor. A way to combat this is to understand what is happening. Realizing that being called on is a training opportunity to learn how to think quickly on your feet, and not a judgment on intelligence or character is the first step to a healthier first year of law school. Those who do judge, writes Above the Law, are so insecure they are looking for ways to judge others to build themselves up.
Another common fear is test anxiety. Since most law school grades are based on one or two exams, this is understandable. Most likely if you’re in law school, it’s because you knocked the LSAT out of the park, which means your test-taking abilities are, at minimum, above average. With that in mind, also remember most professors believe if many people did poorly one of their tests, they did poorly teaching—not that their students are dumb.
Finally, as you’re finishing the first year, you’ll be faced with decisions on what courses to take. Don’t avoid courses you fear. Most likely, you fear those courses because you know they are a weakness. If you’re not good at math, you’ll probably avoid any business related courses. If you fear public speaking, you’ll avoid trial advocacy courses. Use the time and energy to take the courses and strengthen your weaknesses.
Some proactive that things you can do to conquer fear are following mantras, talking to your professors, and practicing with baby steps. At the beginning of everyday, focus on why you fear certain things and self-talk yourself to bravery. Meet with your professor to discuss the fears. And then practice. Volunteer to answer questions. Take practice tests. Do whatever it takes to beat any fears and know many are pulling for you and are in your corner.
Source: Above the Law
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