Finding Happiness Outside of Law School

How to stay YOU while in law school

Desiree Duke a 2L KU Law Student Ambassador

Wake up at 5:00 a.m., study all day, eat a meal or two, study some more, and go to bed around 11:00 p.m. When I came to KU Law, my life revolved around law school. Everything I did, every move I made, and all that I was, was law school.

I. Was. Miserable.

I had lost all that I was – who I was. I no longer did things that made me happy. I no longer took time to focus on myself and my mental health. I loved law school, I was getting good grades, and made great friends…but I wasn’t happy.

During the summer between 1L and 2L year, I had time to re-discover myself and the things that I loved: working out, reading for pleasure, finding new hobbies, and spending time with those I cared about. Coming into my 2L year, I made it my absolute mission to ensure those things that I loved – those things that made me happy – followed me back into law school.

Now don’t get me wrong, my life is still very revolved around law school, and I am still incredibly busy with studying and work! However, I have simply found ways to incorporate doing the things that make me happy into the mix with law school in a realistic and sustainable way. Ever since, this challenging time of my life – law school – has felt more enjoyable.

Working out every single day isn’t as easy or accessible. So, I find comfort and joy in simple fifteen-to-thirty-minute walks here and there. Before going to bed, I put the law books down, and pick a nonfiction book up. I want to escape into a world and a reality that isn’t law school related. Some nights, instead of studying or laying on my phone, I watch a painting tutorial on YouTube and mindlessly paint with some good music on in the background.

I have put time and effort into things that I love that aren’t law school related, and it has made me a healthier, happier, and more successful law student.

Whether it is staying active, reading, or any hobby you enjoy doing, I cannot stress enough – make sure you bring it with you to law school. Work hard, study hard, and do your best – but do not ever lose yourself in this process. Your happiness and mental health mean more than you know.

— Desiree Duke is a 2L KU Law Student Ambassador from Albuquerque, New Mexico

Comments 1

  1. Good job Desi, you have made your Mom and all who know you, very proud. Keep up the great job you are doing. You will be glad to come visit us in the desert after your winter in the mid-west.

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