Dear My 1L Self- Get some fresh air

The GSU College of Law Library is excited to post this 3rd installment of our all new Blackacre Times Series – “Dear My 1L Self.” Check out the first two here and here. In this series, Librarians, Law Library GRAs, Students, and other interesting folks write actual letters to their 1L selves giving them advice and telling them what to expect from law school and the practice of law. We hope that some of this advice will be transferable to our readers, and show that even the most experienced of us have made a lot of mistakes. So, without further ado, here’s 3L/Reference GRA Luke Smith…

Dear My 1L Self,

This may sound shocking, but the world is more than just those 6 floors on the corner of Park Place NE and John Wesley Dobbs Ave.  Don’t get me wrong the College of Law is an important and fascinating place, but if you take some time to go outside the walls of the building, it can do wonders for your mental health.

As great as the professors and your fellow students are here at GSU COL, you’ll still feel stressed if you spend all your time here. You may believe that another half hour on your Lawyering Foundations memo will make it perfect, but it won’t, and you’ve already spent too much time on it. If you want to avoid burning out and feeling trapped and hopeless, you need to get out, explore, and find something you enjoy doing outside of Law School.

If you don’t know where to begin start by getting some fresh air. Go up to the 6th floor patio, sit on the balcony, and just breathe (editor’s note: unfortunately, the balcony is currently closed for repairs). You’d be surprised what 5 minutes not thinking about personal jurisdiction or restitution damages will do for you. The next step is to get moving. Go out the doors on the first floor and just start walking and don’t stop. You don’t have to go anywhere just explore and feel the sun on your face.

The hard part is over now. The law school is behind you and you can feel its grasp loosening on you. The next part is up to you now. Find something you enjoy and do it. I don’t mean binge watch The Office so you can turn your brain off between study sessions.

Me, happy once I finally decided to get out of the law school and explore the beltline with my girlfriend.

Instead, find something that rejuvenates you outside of Law School. You know that student activity fee you see in your bill every semester? Well that helps pay for all the student organizations that the main university hosts and you can try finding one you might enjoy on the Panther Involvement Network. My personal favorite is the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Club. It’s a great way to stay active, relieve some stress, it’s hosted just a few blocks away at the Student Recreation Center, and best of all its free to students.  

Or maybe you’re thinking to yourself “I really liked that part about going outside and just walking,” well there’s lots of great public parks in and around Atlanta to explore. The Beltline is a series of walking paths around Atlanta and their Website also has a bunch of great information about things to do around Atlanta and how to get there via public transportation. If you’re still thinking to yourself that by just being in Atlanta you can still feel the stress of the law school creeping up behind you, then take the red or gold Marta line South bound to the airport and leave. There’s no rule against taking a backpacking weekend to Bozeman or a romantic weekend getaway to Salt Lake City. Law School can be stressful and leave you feeling utterly defeated at times, but you can do things to help. Take some time to go outside, find a hobby, and explore the world outside of the Law School.

Yours truly,

Luke Smith