• Claire

More than Law: Keep Your Non-Law Hobbies


Law school can seem like a cognisant, ravenous vacuum intent on consuming its students. The pressure is on from enrolment day to become one with law school, but this is not a Zen-like balance.

You'll hear some students say that if you don't moot, network, become active in the LSS, and do work experience with certain organisations that you'll lose a job opportunity to someone who did, thus wasting years of your life to become unemployable with an enormous debt, a crippling caffeine addiction and probably a few too many cats. Hey, a girl’s gotta get comfort somewhere.

But for those of us who don't wish to completely give ourselves over to the law, all is not lost. Keeping your identity outside of law is vital, for both your sanity and your career. If you're not interested in law school activities, don't force yourself to participate for the sake of a sentence on your resume.

Time is a precious commodity when you study, particularly when you also need to work to be able to buy meals (and cheap chardonnay). Filling that time with activities that don’t interest you will only make you (more) tired and stressed.

If you want to get extra-curricular, find something you enjoy. It may be that some of the must-dos of law school are up your alley, but if not there are plenty of alternatives to choose from. Community Legal Centres usually need student volunteers, and this type of work is rewarding and takes you into diverse practice areas. If you just want to see some professionals in action, go and spend a couple of hours in an open court and watch the lawyers do their thing. It mightn't be CV material but the experience for a lawyer-to-be is invaluable.

Employers are really looking for candidates who are well rounded and comfortable in themselves. If you love playing in your hair-metal band, adore your fantasy basketball league or you're a closet cryptozoologist, don't give it up because you feel it's going to impinge on your studies; you'll only end up impinging on your happiness.

Remember that your studies, stress inducing as they may be, form a part of your life – they shouldn't be all of it. Your time at uni is a stage of self-definition. It's ok to eschew an activity at law school to do something else, and it's ok to (occasionally) skip readings in favour of some sun and an evening of ten-pin bowling.

While your degree and extra-curricular activities will make up a significant part of your employability, you – with all your breadth of experience beyond the law – make up the rest. The latter is vital. You are not your degree.

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