Importance of Relationships in Law School

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way,
1L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

              Maintaining relationships during 1L is essential – you need people who can ground you…

You’ll likely encounter the statement “relationships in law school are impossible” or the “say goodbye to your friends and family now” at some point prior to entering law school – rest assured however, it’s all lies!

Yes, some relationships do die during law school, and yes dating is harder because you have less free time (but not impossible), BUT you do have the time to talk to your mom more than once a year, go to a movie with a friend, or grab dinner with a new (or old) fling.

Maintaining relationships during 1L is essential – you need people who can ground you, remind you that law school is not the end of the world, bring you food when you’re sick, or just make you laugh when classes and exams make you want to cry. While I have remained single as a Pringle during 1L I have maintained an extremely close connection with my parents, established new friendships, and still manage to see most of my friends during my visits home. Though these relationships did change after entering law school, I’m still glad I held on to them because they really kept me sane throughout this year. For those of you who are still skeptical and believe friends, family and significant others will just distract you, let me provide you with my ‘most important relationship list.’

  1. My Mom: First and foremost, I should issue a huge thank you to my mom for everything she has put up with. Before law school, she was the person I called when I doubted I would get accepted to law school when I questioned what outfit to wear to the admissions interview, and when I was concerned I would make no friends. After entering law school, she was my go-to person for questions about dress codes, friendships, job opportunities, and so much more. She was also the person to send the reminder to eat something other than fast food, that sleep is sometimes more important than school work, and that taking a break is okay.
  2. My Dad: Likewise, thank you, dad, for dealing with me from well … birth. My dad was/is my go-to for everything “technical.” He, unfortunately, gets stuck reviewing my papers, oral arguments, and everything in between. Having a person that will sit on the phone with you for an hour while you ramble on about why your client should be granted summary judgment is essential – it makes you a better oral advocate, and it also takes the edge off your nerve. Furthermore, my dad made sure I was safe and comfortable, he was the person to help me move, who set my bed up … he was my first call when my roof leaked … he was essentially my personal google.
  3. My roommate: not all friendships have to be years old. I met my roommate in our law school Facebook group – it could easily have been a disaster, but thankfully it was not! This amazing girl really made my first year. By some stroke up luck we ended up being in the same section, so she was my note taker when I couldn’t pull myself from bed, and even when I could she was still my resource for talking through cases or ranting about professors. Outside of school, she was the person who offered up food when I’d put off grocery shopping for too long. She was also my go-to person for dating advice, course selection, wine drinking, and general day-to-day activities.
  4. My Friends Back Home: Unfortunately, this group got the worst of my law school time management schedule. Though I had to forego my daily conversations and weekly facetime sessions, it was comforting to know I had a group of friends back home only a text message or phone call away when I was feeling stressed. Plus, even though I unintentionally ignored them (sorry!!) they didn’t forget me. The frequent good morning texts, confidence boosting Facebook tags, and emotional support I received from a distance did wonders for my mental health. Additionally, having people to celebrate and catch up with every time I went home gave me something to look forward to and strive for throughout the school year.