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reflection

March 7, 2006

I’ve been feeling a bit off lately. I don’t want to say I’ve been feeling sad or angry, because I haven’t. It’s different. For a while, I felt sort of . . . blank. And then I felt very thin, like my emotions were just staying inside my skin. For instance, lately, during the day, I find myself remembering something from my “old life”–like the day the electricity went off and I opened all the windows in our house and laid on the bed in my underwear to stay cool. I remember trimming the bushes in our back patio. I think about doing laundry in our own machines, or about going home for lunch to make a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s the little things I keep dwelling on, too, not the holiday meals we hosted, or the improvements we made. Just the day-to-day moments that were happy and comfortable. And how different my life is now.

I don’t even really know how to write about how I’m feeling, either, because I’m not sure what’s going on, other than your garden-variety stress-induced depression. Because, lately, for the first time, really, I wonder what I’m doing here. I phrase it that way because I still think I made the right choice to go to law school and, in particular, to come to this law school. But sometimes I still shake my head and wonder what I’m doing here. What do I want to do? That conviction I felt a year (or more) ago has been diluted. I thought I wanted to teach; I was sure of it. Now, I’m not so sure. Is it because I’m starting to believe the hype about grades? Or is it because I see other things I’m interested in that are starting to take the place of my old ambitions? Or is it just that I’m tired and stretched too thin?

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like this–inadequate, lonely, lost–and I don’t quite know what to do about it. The worst part of it all is that I logically know that I am not inadequate, nor am I alone in this, and that I am no more lost than anyone else right now. The mind, though, is funny about how it keeps information from itself; the right side of my brain might as well be in Timbuktu, for all that it knows what the left side knows.

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Categories: just me
  1. March 7, 2006 at 11:19 am

    Of course, it could just be stress-induced depression, but I actually think it’s Law School.

    I felt very similar during the later part of my 1L experience. I think it’s because part of training to “think like a lawyer” is to debate every possible scenario and to analyze and over-analyze every issue. Combined with the stress and competitiveness of school, it makes good fertilizer for self-doubt, questioning motives, choices, etc.

    The good news is that it does (at least mine did) subside in 2L. The bad news is that it gets replaced by a general apathy and malaise that make you wonder if it was worth it, but not really care. 🙂

  2. stag
    March 7, 2006 at 12:19 pm

    It’s ok to not be sure. You’re there to explore things. That’s what life is about. Don’t be hard on yourself for allowing yourself to think of possibilities outside of the “plan.”

  3. March 7, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    I feel the same way. I think law school is so intense it sucks the life out of you. But in times of this, think back (better yet, click back to the entries you’d written on your blog about why you wanted to go to law school) and perhaps you will find the answer there.

    Courage, kristine. Courage!

  4. emily
    March 7, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    beautifully written. i feel the same way, still, and i’m a 2L. wonder if i’ll feel this way forever. maybe that’s a little dramatic, but god, it seems like such a real possibility to me.

  5. March 7, 2006 at 7:59 pm

    Oh K, it’s not just you. really I think we all go through it. The newness has worn off and all you have left is the reality of how much work you have to do and how tired you are. I’m with you. It also doesn’t help that where you are from, they are starting bona fide spring weather.

    Hang in there honey. It will improve.

  6. March 7, 2006 at 8:44 pm

    K-
    In your future, you’ll have days (not too far off considering you’ve been in school for what…18 years now) when you give somebody legal advice, and they follow it, and they realize a benefit from it, or maybe you’ll read an order signed by a judge who agreed with your reasoning and ruled in your favor.

    On those days, you’ll feel great, and like reaching the top of a peak in the Rockies, the pain along the way will melt away because you’ve made a difference.

  7. March 7, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    You read my blog enough to know that we all go through this. Hang in there!

  8. March 8, 2006 at 12:46 am

    Everybody has chimed in with some very wise advice. My one suggestion is to look at the weather-related aspect of what you’re feeling. You’re from a warmer, sunnier climate, and the loss of that sun is very hard.

    I moved from sunny California to London in the middle of winter one year. I adored London, it’s fantastic city, but I was so blah for the winter. It was really hard, I knew I should be liking it, but I was struggling to get through every day.

    Once the sun came out for spring, my mood changed completely. Since then, I’ve realized that I need and thrive on a certain number of daylight hours every day. I do not do well in cold weather, one of several reasons I didn’t want to move for law school. It’s really hard to go to a colder climate, and you are doing something difficult!

    So go easy on yourself, especially now. Spring will be here before you know it.

  9. CM
    March 8, 2006 at 6:01 am

    Yeah.

    Maybe it’s time to ditch law school for a little while and do something that makes you smile. (Not permanently — I mean, like, for a day or two.)

  10. March 8, 2006 at 7:45 am

    Well, CM, spring break starts…soon. My brief is due Monday, and then I have two weeks off. So I will be doing things that make me smile that have nothing to do with law school. (And then I’ll probably be working on my outlines.)

  11. March 8, 2006 at 10:13 am

    And T, yes, I think a lot of my mood is because of the weather. It’s not the cold, it’s just the neverending gray of winter. Thankfully, the equinox is only a couple of weeks away, and then I can savor the sun all summer.

    But even in college, where fog was a regular feature, from October to April, I never felt this “thin.” Of course, I was also a young thing back then, living the cushy dorm life.

  12. stag
    March 8, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    I like Spinach’s comment.

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