So You Fucked Up This Week... And Why It's Important To Not Look Back
Let me preface this post with the fact that a lot of 1Ls are just now having their very first "what the fuck did I get into" panic attack, and this post is mostly for them. But the advice stands whether you're in 2LHell, 3Lol'ing, or off in the real world as a baby lawyer.
You are going to fuck up. Everyone fucks up. You are not special; you cannot avoid this. Even the best of us fuck up.
The bigger responsibility you have is what you do after you fuck up. And the answer is you keep going. Let's say you shit the bed on your readings this week. Going back to try to catch up is just going to put you in a cycle of being behind on future readings, not being able to focus on the new materials in class because you're going to be constantly bombarded with the reminder that you're still behind in readings, and generally put you in a bad place mentally to start preparing for finals. I have seen people forgo beginning to study for finals because they haven't yet "caught up" on their readings, and it was one of the worst decisions they could have made about the situation.
You know what you do when you fuck up? You say "how can I fix this going forward?"
If you've missed a week of readings, skip 'em. Stay on track with the rest of the class and come back if you have time (spoiler alert: you never have time, and that's okay). You can glance back at the reading materials and read excerpts if necessary to supplement your notes from class, if you are so strongly inclined. You have taken control of the situation and created a constructive solution for going forward. Not a solution that has you feeling like a complete failure over and over and over again every single week for the remainder of the semester.
A bigger example of this is bombing a final. We've all done it. Everyone has one bad grade on their transcript (relatively speaking - I have a girlfriend who considered a B- bombing it, and, like, fuck her) that they feel could ruin their mojo. The absolute worst thing you can do is dwell on it. Law school is already such a cluster fuck of compounding stress that you do not want to put that on yourself.
Just because you fucked up before does not mean you are destined to fuck up again. You will fuck up again, but in a new, yet to be discovered way. And you'll deal with it then, too.
This is an important concept to get on board with now because why are you in law school in the first place? Because you want to be a lawyer. Well, guess what, lawyers fuck up too. And when we fuck up, it can have serious consequences. So being able to process "shit, I just did that" rather quickly, and proceed to "here's how I'm going to fix it" can make all the difference in both your professional standing, your client's case, and your own mental health.
So you fucked up this week? Own it.