Learning to level up

Photo by Ashley Golledge.

Muhammad Ali said, “the person who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” I believe the same should be said about the three years of law school. Half way through my third year, this experience has been much more than purely educational; it’s been life changing. I’d say my growth as a person has exceeded my growth as a legal scholar, and the growing pains have probably been worse too. While only on the verge of graduating, I know I am not even close to being done growing.

To give that growth some context, the law school experience is made up of the same few obvious stresses in various forms; grades, readings, jobs, internships, research, publications and competitions, student organizations, papers, the ever-looming bar exam, and more readings. This is all in addition to what you have going on at home. Conveniently, those stresses only grow from year to year and often stack on top of one another. So, while you’re underneath trying to carry all that weight, more and more is heaped on top each year. Only now does it make sense why they call it “3L year,” because you have taken an “L” or loss each year.

After 3“Ls,” it feels like you’ve had the weight of the world on your shoulders – pressing you down – for so long. It can be difficult to cope with this pressure, but I’ve learned to expand my perspective from focusing on just the losses to also appreciating the wins. We are so outcome driven that it is often easy for us forget that we are still standing when we have been carrying a heavy weight after all this time. Feeling the burden of the weight, it is easy to overlook how much strength you truly have. As it usually turns out, you are stronger than you think you are.

I have realized that maybe, it is because of this pressure that I have been forced to focus on my path and purpose the way I have. That maybe, this is the point of the law school process. That maybe I haven’t taken 3 losses, rather, I’ve gone up 3 levels. After all, diamonds (even very rough ones) only form under immense pressure.

Everyone has their own unique path. I know I have much to learn, and more growing to do on my path. I believe that through this experience, I have developed the mindset and the skills to keep progressing on my path and fulfilling my purpose.

Grow through your losses. Don’t belittle your successes. And NEVER, EVER get complacent. The marathon continues, and the real work is just beginning.

— Omar Husain is a 3L from Lenexa and a KU Law Student Ambassador.