GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 2L at the University of Arizona
Paying it Forward 2L Style
We’ve all been there… and now it is time to pay it back, by paying it forward by helping 1Ls. Often, I talk to my fellow 2Ls to find out what I should write about each week. My friend Katrina suggested this topic and also provided a meaningful quote that is the inspiration for this week’s blog. She said, “As a 1L I thought any advice or words of affirmation from 2Ls felt like a life raft. It is our duty to pay it forward.” She is so right!
I have already taken a few 1Ls “under my wing” by giving advice, and even going as far as getting some second-semester books off our free bookshelf for them. YES! UofA has a free bookshelf in the library that often has textbooks on it! There are a lot of ways you can pay it forward by helping 1Ls. You might already be doing this through your club, as a BARBRI rep (pssst…. check out the 1L Mastery package), or in some other way. I know I talk a lot about networking and forming relationships with class members, but recently I met with an attorney and they urged me to not only form relationships within my class but at a minimum with the class above and below me as well. For now, let’s just focus on the 1Ls.
Join the Mentor Program
Ok, this may seem obvious, but be on the lookout to see if your school has a formal mentoring program, if they do, sign up. But, if you don’t feel like you have the time to dedicate to the program, be a mentor in other ways. For instance…
2L – Just say hi!
At lunch, make the 1Ls feel welcome. You will likely see a few at the lunch events and if it is on a special topic, you might share similar interests. This is the perfect time to strike up a conversation.
Share your Wisdom
Think about how it felt last year, not really knowing anything about the classes or professors. Now, we’ve been there and done that. You are a wealth of information! For example, you could give:
- Advice on Professors
Share tips on preparing for class, surviving cold calls, or exam tips.
- Share Your Outlines
Have a great outline, or know a resource that can help a 1L out? Let them know and share!
- Recommend Clubs
Help a 1L navigate the plethora of student organizations and clubs. You know who has the best lunch offerings, which clubs have the best events, and provide the best support.
- Give tips on having a life outside of law school
Law school often seems life-consuming, but one of the tips I heard over and over again was to find something else to do as well. Sarah, a fellow 2L, recommended to “Get a hobby that isn’t law school-related. I did Yoga that helped me have friends outside of law school and that was so important!” Share your secrets…
Also, Share Your Struggles
No matter where you are ranked, we all shared struggles during our 1L. It could have been school-related, like the fear of the first cold call, or the impact of living in a new city. I remember seeing 2Ls and it seemed like they may have breezed through 1L, so it was great to hear about their struggles. It made me realize what I was going through was not unique, and that I was going to be ok!
Let me know how you’re paying it forward on Twitter or Instagram @The2LLife. I would love to hear from you!