Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Mother Hen Does Her Thing

It’s the last week of classes at law schools all over the country. Since some of my readers are law students, I offer you the same advice I always give my own students. For whatever it’s worth.

As you head into finals, I know that you are facing a lot of pressure: pressure to study, pressure to get good grades, pressure to handle schoolwork and career and family, pressure to know everything!

Now, I’m not about to tell you to blow off your exams. But please keep things in perspective. Your grades are important, but they are not nearly as important as holding a child, watching a sunset, or counting your blessings. By the time the Hale-Bopp Comet comes around again (in about 2,400 years), no one will care if you got a C in Torts, or if you ranked last instead of first. Indeed, in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter whether you graduate at all.

What does matter – and what actually might matter in 2,400 years – is how you live your life. Not after you finish with law school, but today. Did you treat yourself and others with dignity? Did you play fair? Did you hug your kids? Did you take time out to listen to the people you care about? When things got so rough you couldn’t help yourself, did you give others the honor of helping you? Did you pass that favor on when things eased up? Did you do your reasonable best?

Last year I lost one of my students to suicide. Melissa was so loved that if she had just said one word – help – dozens of friends and family members would have been at her side instantly. Sadly, she never said a word to anyone.

Please don’t let life get so hard that it seems unbearable. And if it does, please – please – tell someone you need help.

Let law school take your time and your energy. But don’t let it take your heart.


  1. Touching but unreal, the lives we live matter today, not what they will become for the future. We get lot of pressure from society. I think it matters for my unborn kids, my wife to be which I haven't met yet. Your right sometimes I wonder if this is enough for them, but I can't let go of the fact that I can be something meaningfull in this lifetime.

  2. I sent this to my brother, in law school at age 43 with a new baby.