I won't lie, guys and gals. The transition into law school was really, really rough.
I fumbled my way from Texas to Oklahoma in a Penske truck, my brother in tow with my Toyota for me (thanks, man!) and no clue why I wanted to do this.
Fortunately, the settling in happened, and I remembered why. To help people.
I've been taught by my music background to pursue things you feel strongly about. I've been taught by my library science background to resist the urge to censor yourself for fear of offending others. Incendiary books (and their authors) generally don't care who they offend. Why should I?
So for any and all law students that encounter my frosh sage wisdom (another oxymoron), hear this - in a field like this where the stakes are very high for so many clients (imprisonment, divorce, child custody, bankruptcy, death), we owe it to ourselves to learn the law, learn how to assess it, and to not lose ourselves in the process.
I care about the law. I think it's the best thing we have to hold ourselves off from a very destructive, violent, unpredictable country. But I care about lots of other things, too.
Quite frankly, I really want to catch up on a number of video games. And the thirty to forty books in my closet. None of those things have to do with the law or law study.
A mentor of mine once asked me, regarding my persistent interest in video games, "what's the problem?"
I severely doubt the legal community has only one passionate video gamer (myself).
The ABA Journal weighed in as recently as May 2018 in a short piece that "lawyers are 3.6 times as likely to be depressed as people in other jobs" while summarizing previous data gathered by the organization (Port, 2018).
I'm no mental health professional, and I doubt I ever will be. But it's really bothering me that so much sadness and melancholy are inherent in our profession.
So, fellow 1Ls - play some video games. Or whatever works for you. Your notes from last week's contracts seminar will still be there 30 minutes from now. Exhaust every resource available to you for your personal mental health/wellness. You are worth it and what you are trying to accomplish in this program is hard.
Port, D. (2018). Lawyers weigh in: why is there a depression epidemic in the profession? ABA Journal: Your Voice. Retrieved from http://www.abajournal.com/voice/article/lawyers_weigh_in_why_is_there_a_depression_epidemic_in_the_profession
It’s Never too Early to Archive your Creative Work: Why Young Performers and Composers Must Go to the Cloud Now
We must all come to the conclusion at some point that life is finite. At some point, the potential exists for your creative work to outlast your physical presence on this Earth. Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, it would be very hard fought and perhaps impossible to prove that you are always going to be around to do as you please.
Once you are gone, your creative work is subject to the whims of our vast and complex information world. It’s true that you have a great hand in how present or absent your work is from the wider world, and that is most certainly your prerogative while you are living. It is your creative work, after all.
But imagine if a sudden accident renders your typical efforts to archive and preserve your work obsolete. Will your online accounts be accessible by others so that your work can be cared about in the ways that you would want? Will files stored locally be accessible at all if they are on an encrypted hard drive? For example, FileVault is a common feature found on recent Macintosh hardware and is an industry-standard 256-bit form of encryption. The likelihood that your colleague, spouse, partner, co-worker, or family member will ever recover this information without the password, which may or may not have followed you to the grave, is dramatically low.
Consider the following questions that might enhance the likelihood of your creative work enduring beyond your life and in the way that you want:
§ Do you have an online presence at all? Physical copies of objects, as well as individual computers, can be damaged, lost, destroyed, or forgotten.
§ Does a trusted colleague or loved one have the digital credentials necessary to access your work? Do they know what your ultimate intentions would be if you were suddenly unable to continue your activities? Assumptions will go awry; consider writing up something to describe your wishes.
§ Do you intend to make your pieces widely available upon your death, and in what capacity? Does the copyright pass on to your next of kin? Do you intend for Creative Commons licensing to prevail? Do you want your creative work to pass into the public domain and to be used by anybody?
Each of these questions are critical points when it comes to saving the work of a lost creator in the modern digital age. Instead of risking your disappearance upon death, consider doing what needs to be done, now, to prepare the legacy of your time and energy for future listeners and lovers of culture.