Adena Leibman, a 3L at Lewis & Clark Law School, is chair of the ABA Law Student Division.
It’s hard to believe that it’s already the winter holiday season. Another semester is coming to a close, another round of finals is getting started, and another go at thrifty-yet-thoughtful-creative-gift-giving-on-a-law-student-budget is on a roll! But during this time of frantic studying and hurried shopping, I urge you to remember to take time for yourself, your families and friends, and your communities.
Be sure to take some study breaks and find time to just breathe. In those toughest of moments, focus on what passions brought you to this profession in the first place and harness that fire to power through your outlines and flashcards. Whatever you do to keep you grounded—do it. Hopefully this includes making time for community service and reaching out to those who need an extra hand.
Papers and exams mean nothing in the larger scheme of life if you aren’t personally content and mentally fit (don’t forget your vitamins and exercise either—physical health is important, too). Take the time to take care of yourself. Sometimes this means having to ask for help. As law students, we are incredibly self-driven, dedicated, and diligent individuals—all great qualities to possess. But we also tend to be stubborn, fiercely independent, and proud. These qualities can also be assets, but sometimes they can also be hurdles, especially when it comes to admitting when we need help. I admit that I am not immune to this deficiency. No one likes having to concede that they sometimes can’t do everything on their own.
But please let me remind you that asking for help—whether it be figuring out the rule of perpetuities, balancing stresses in your life, or even battling a serious addiction or substance abuse problem—is not a sign of weakness. It takes a level of courage and bravery that not everyone possesses to admit a problem and seek the appropriate help. Though it may be difficult in the moment, you will be grateful that you took the steps necessary to get the help that you need. I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you that the Law Student Division takes mental health and the substance and alcohol abuse problems that afflict our profession very seriously and will maintain these as key foci this year.
And, finally, don’t forget to spend time with those who love and care about you—the important people in your life who will be there whether or not the torts final goes in your favor. Take the kids out for an afternoon of fun, treat your significant other to the night out that he or she deserves, or just savor an evening in with close friends and good conversation.
On behalf of the entire Law Student Division, happy holidays and best wishes on finals.
Vol. 41 No. 4