Graduate school application season is in full swing and like many others at UC San Diego, I have spent the last six months of my life taking exams, asking professors for letters of recommendation, and writing personal statements. On top of that, I still had to attend lectures, submit assignments on time, and make sure that I was still showing up to all of my other commitments. All of this was extremely stressful, especially considering how competitive these graduate programs can be, and how selective they are. I’ve definitely had my fair share of panicked calls to my mother after looking at the statistics for all of the law schools I’ve dreamed of attending for years. Around two weeks ago, I finally finished my law school applications, ending this stressful season. For months, I remember wishing that this whole process could be over. But now, I realize that I have to face the most terrifying part: moving on.
These past six months have been one of the most difficult periods I’ve experienced. While studying for the Law School Admissions Test, I would get excruciating headaches every time I started a timed practice test. I would break down to my mother on the phone because I was afraid that I would not do well in a class and destroy my GPA. I lost touch with a lot of my friends because I didn’t have time for them and frankly, I thought they had more important things to deal with than my stress-induced anxiety. I would cry, I would binge eat, I would occasionally stop functioning entirely and just watch TV shows because I couldn’t bring myself to stare at my applications any longer. It was hard. Yet, this idea of moving on after this is infinitely more terrifying.
I want to get into law school, begin a new chapter of my life, make my parents proud, and prove to myself that I’m a worthy candidate. However, now that my applications are submitted, I’ve had to ultimately come to terms with the fact that there’s nothing I can do other than hope for the best, and keep my grades up in case I have to go through this whole thing again next year.
I’ve also realized that I want my goals in life to be more than just getting into law school, getting a job, and getting promotions. My life is not a series of checklists. I think it’s important to deal with stress in a healthy way, have experiences outside of your career, and genuinely enjoy life. I’ve learned that I am terrible at dealing with stress, especially when it comes to matters and decisions that are extremely important to me. However, I think that’s what application season is all about: learning about yourself, especially your weaknesses. There’s always room to grow, whether you need to work on reaching out when you need a friend, balancing your workload, or just believing in yourself. Despite our lifelong dreams and the hard work we put into our academics and extracurriculars, the ever-increasing competition makes the results unpredictable.
Everyone wants to live a fulfilling life in the future, where they can manage both career-related stresses, their life at home, and still have fun once in a while. We need to be able to get through hard times like this and learn from them. After some deep self-reflection, I’ve learned that even though I believe I deserve to get into law school, things don’t always work out. Now, I’m ready to see the results, apply for jobs in case I don’t get in, and study for the LSAT again. I’m ready to move on. If that means applying all over again, then maybe that’s what’s best for me because it doesn’t matter that I need to do a million things to get into law school, I just need to learn to do those million things at my own pace.