Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Joys (and Limits) of Law School Thinking

It’s safe to say law school is in many ways exactly what I expected. It’s a lot of work, it’s exciting, tiring, fascinating and a lot of other adjectives. But what’s most interesting to me is how law school nurtures my way of thinking.

I’ve always been an overthinker and I’ve also always lived in the details. Something my mom frequently says about me is that I overanalyze everything in my life (especially myself). Any law student reading this would know that this is actually a good thing in our field. In law school, I’m supposed to think about how an exact word and the placement of a comma can change the broad meaning. I’m supposed to overanalyze a set of rules I read. I’m supposed to pay attention to every detail of a fact pattern. It seems that something I always felt as a burden in life is now being put to good use- and more importantly, I’m actually learning how to use it better.

But it does have its downfalls. Although I rarely go so far as officially proclaiming myself a writer, I’ve been writing creatively since I learned to read. I’ve never been good with building worlds or fantasy or sci-fi, but I’ve always gotten creative with my characters, dialogue and the seemingly mundane. The kind of logical and reason-based thinking that law school has boxed me into has detached me from the emotional, creative and fun side of thinking. Even the books I read for fun are either true crime or political or in some way related to the two. The show I watch to de-stress is Mindhunter (if you haven’t seen it, look it up). I can’t remember the last time I read a poem and felt creativity in me; that kind of warm excitement in the pit of my stomach.

I’m hoping that knowing this now, I can begin to work on it. Law school caters to my interests and my line of thinking, but I don’t want it to become all consuming. Balance is difficult, but I’m hoping I will get there eventually.

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