Debunking a Law School Myth with Jiu Jitsu

Helping other international students find their place at Loyola Law School

In the Jiu Jitsu community, there is something called the “blue belt curse.” It is a phenomenon where practitioners quit after they have been promoted to their blue belt, and my promotion was a few months before the start of 1L.

I was terrified I would let go of my hobbies and fall victim to the “curse” because one of the law school myths that I found most often repeated was “you lose your social life during law school.”

On the contrary, that first semester that I spent taking this myth too seriously was probably my least successful one.

I never found that I lost my “social life” during 1L. While you learn the art of time management and prioritizing tasks in a different way than you are (often) used to, the camaraderie I found with my classmates on top of maintaining my hobbies was the best combination for my studies and mental health. You build relationships with other students, with mentors and others in the legal profession that stick with you. Personally, finding the Philippine American Bar Association did wonders for both my career and my homesickness.

Those first few months I would feel guilty spending an hour on the mats instead of doing work, but I soon learned that those hours are well spent on yourself, and the notion of “wasting time” was more hurting than helping me. The semester I spent training at least twice a week was my most successful one yet, both inside and outside of school.

You figure out what works for you, and the scary thought of “losing your social life” is not a guarantee, but more something in your control. Law school is a challenge that requires balance, and 1.5 years later I haven’t succumbed to the “blue belt curse” quite yet.

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