Comparison is Truly the Thief of Joy

By Chandler Bourgeois

The legal field inherently demands competitiveness and with that, comes an insurmountable amount of comparison. Growing up in a family of four girls, I’m no stranger to the comparison game. However, upon entering law school, I was slightly disturbed by the ways my classmates compared themselves to others. It was normal to overhear a conversation about what time a person went to the library that morning or how someone took handwritten notes in a class that allowed computers. Fortunately, most of these conversations dissolved after the first year, but I can’t say it’s completely eliminated 2L or 3L year as the job search begins. If I had to guess why humans compare in the first place, I’d assume it’s out of the fear of being inadequate. But, in my relatively short time in law school, I’ve found that one person’s “inadequate” standard may be another’s highest-achieving standard. And in this realization, I’ve started seeing my time here less as a competition, but rather as a chance to become a better version of myself, apart from academic achievement. None of us leave this place unchanged—for better or worse—and the friends and memories we make along the way are what we’ll hold onto after this time has passed. As cheesy as it seems, it’s a small reminder to be gentle with yourself and your efforts. You will pass and you will become an attorney. We will all impact the legal world in a way that’s unique to each of us. So, I urge you to not fall into the trap of comparison—it would be a disadvantage to this field and more importantly, yourself. I’ll leave you on the text I received from my best friend, now attorney, on the first day of law school. Read it and believe it because I promise what you have to offer this world is greater than any of your fears of inadequacy.

 

“Happy first day! My only advice is to be yourself and do your personal best, not someone else’s best. And try to remember (it’s hard) that “law school” is only one part of the many multitudes that is [insert your name] and you are so much more than a test score or GPA.”

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