Asking For Help When You Need It

[ Stephanie Baldwin, 2L at the University of Arizona ]

It so easy to ask for help, but also so difficult to do so. In law school, there can be so many different things we need help with, including class material, the job hunt, handling new work responsibilities and just the law school process itself. I think because law school has so many “A type” personalities, we are used to figuring things out ourselves, but it is important to recognize when you just need to push yourself a little further and when you need to ask for help. Once you know you need extra assistance, the next difficult part can be determining where to go to ask for it.  Here is my advice on whom to turn to when you need assistance.

A Trusted Professor

For me, I think this has been one of my greatest sources of support, assistance, and encouragement. I have a few professors that have been very helpful in my journey through law school, who have offered job hunting and overall career advice, but one professor, in particular, has been helpful in so many areas. They are often my “go-to person” for issues or when I need to talk about law school and career-related issues. Because they are at school, it is both easy and convenient to arrange a time to chat. I am sure if you look back on your previous classes, there is likely a professor who could also help you in this way. If you do not, consider trying to develop a relationship. Perhaps it is the person that you asked for a recommendation letter from, or maybe they specialize in an area of interest, or it is the person who will supervise your note.

A Designated Mentor

A Designated Mentor

Some schools have a designated mentor program that pairs you up with an upper-level student or perhaps you have joined your local bar association and have been assigned a mentor there. For me, I have an assigned mentor from a local bar association who is amazing and has been extremely helpful with career advice. I should utilize her more, but because of our busy schedules, it can be easy to forget to check-in, but we are a good match so I absolutely feel like I can reach out to her at any time.  Student assigned mentors can be great to turn to as well, since just like professors, you see them on a daily or weekly basis, and they have been in your shoes the year before.

A School Administrator

Sometimes you need help related to dropping classes, planning your class load, and the registrar is the person to head to. At my schools, ours is extremely useful and always available to help us plan and adjust our semesters when we have taken on too much. And the Career Office can help with the job search. At my school we also have a Dean of Student Affairs, that is always there to talk confidentially. I am sure your school has a similar position. The person in this role can help with everything from classes and tutoring to helping you connect to school-wide resources like counseling, housing and addressing medical needs.

A Fellow 2L or 3L Friend

This seems like it might be the easiest place to start, but I have seen that sometimes people struggle to talk to friends about more than the basics of law school. Perhaps it is because we know we are all struggling in different ways or that we do not want to burden each other with our problems, but a close friend in law school can often be an excellent source of advice. For this reason, sometimes the best advice comes from our circle of friends or those we have networked with at school. This past week I needed to reach out to a 3L friend for some advice not only about classes but also about the workplace as well. I was also able to help out a few 1Ls this week too, as they were asking for advice about grades, classes and taking on the new semester. Try to be a friendly ear to those in need. Sure, we might not have all of the answers, but at least we can listen and that is sometimes all a person needs.

Who do you like to reach out to for help? Let me know over at the @The2LLife on Instagram or Twitter, or if you need some help, feel free to reach out!