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"Unless You Faint, Puke, Or Die, Keep Working"

When I was in 1L, someone at another law school, running another blog, said this was their mantra for #finalshell - Jillian Michaels was like their evil Anti-Patronus always screaming

"Unless You Faint, Puke, Or Die, Keep Working"

like an evil spirit that instead of protecting you from the awful things, pushes you further and further into them. 

Finals is a whole other beast in law school. You have too much to do, too little time to do it, and no matter how on top of your workload you were through the rest of the semester, you are still  behind. Many students forgo personal hygiene and appearance during this time in order to preserve the limited number of hours in the day for more studying. 

I hate this mentality. I hated the people who wanted to compare review schedules to see who was studying more hours. I hated the idea that people who were subsisting on less than five hours of sleep were heroes to the rest of us because "wow think of how much time they have to get things done!"

The reality of law school is that it is the foundation upon which your career as a lawyer is built. And I don't necessarily mean the things you learn in the classroom, but more about how you behave when there is always work left to be done, how you prioritize your life, and how you decide to prioritize yourself.  

The magic number in the practice of law is five years. Within five years, most of the people you started practice with will have up and quit. Out of exhaustion, addiction, or a sheer burning hatred for being forced into something they never truly cared for to begin with. 

How you survive to your five-year anniversary as a lawyer has a lot to do with how you treated yourself as a law student. Because at the end of the day, the only one putting pressure on you in law school is you. Not in the sense of "jeez kids, it's all in your head" - but rather because literally  no one else gives a shit. Not your professors. Not your administration. No one. You have paid your tuition and what that tuition does for is on your shoulders. Your professors will give you deadlines, and in a "I'm a teacher and want all my students to succeed" kind of way they're rooting for you. But they're not creating study schedules for you. They're not telling you how much you need to read, how your outline should be written, or checking in on you to make sure you're sleeping enough. 

So when the only one shouting at you to study more, sleep less, and be even more productive with your time, is you - why are we letting ourselves down? 

If you can take one thing away from law school - besides the JD - let it be the priority of self care. Take a bubble bath once a week, even if it means skipping a few pages of reading. Make yourself lunches for the week, even if it means your class notes still look like the garbled train of thought they originated as. Go and exercise, even if it means your study outline got read one less time before the exam. 

Your brain will thank you. Your exhausted body will thank you. Trust me. I cannot express the number of students I have coached to take breaks during their paper writing marathons, their finals hell, and their bar exam hellscape, because they were pushing themselves through "brain no brain no more" territory. 

If you were a football player and you constantly worked yourself out to the point that your arms were trembling, making you constantly fumble the ball, what kind of long-term plan would that be? You would be effectively making your biggest asset useless for game day. Your brain is no different. 

This career will kick the shit out of you unless you learn how to do these thing in law school. So fuck you, Jillian Michaels, and the spandex you rolled up in.