As a current .5L, I’ve discovered that law school has a sister: swimming. While it may not turn your hair green or get you ripped abs, law school involves a lot of the same principles that swimming does: hard work, discipline, and patience. I believe I am qualified to make this comparison because I earned my time in the pool. I swam competitively for fifteen years. Around middle school, my coach decided to put my awkwardly long limbs to use as a backstroker.
For those who don’t know, backstroke is the loneliest stroke. Your practices and races consist of staring at the ceiling, listening to yourself breathe, and praying for the pain to be over. You can’t tell where you are compared to others in the race. You have to memorize the distance between the flags near the end of the pool and the wall to know when you must “flip-turn,” or do that little somersault to change direction. If you miscalculate, you risk missing the wall entirely to stop dead in the water. I recognized this “dead in the water” feeling during my first cold call, in which I temporarily left my body from fright and forgot every detail of the case I’d read. Luckily, years of being in this situation had taught me that the only thing you can do is keep going, so I basically read out of the textbook and wrote myself a note on my bathroom mirror to do better next time. You will mess up. What matters is that you keep on going.