I have been waiting to post about this subject for quite a bit. I wrote about this subject about halfway through my second semester in law school. However, I hesitated in publishing this post because I didn’t want to scare anyone away from law school. After mulling it over, I realized it is an important topic to address and it might be helpful to hear about how to deal with negativity and toxicity in your environment in general.
First, some background about this topic. While at lunch with my friends, many shared information on who is mean, who is a “gunner”, stereotyping the sections, and so on. I quickly realized that I had no idea who or what they were talking about. As they continued their conversation, I was glad to be ignorant about the subject. This brings me to my first piece of advice, IGNORANCE IS BLISS. Personally, I tend to assume that everybody is a nice person. Ignorance towards the gossip, stereotypes, and judgments will save you so much energy. Trust me.
This brings me to my next related point, FOCUS ON YOURSELF. This is especially important in the first semester of law school. The only academic gauge that people can judge you on is speaking in class, which indicates nothing! Some of the people who never spoke in class came out at the top in the first semester. If you’re only focusing on yourself, you can dedicate all your energy to doing your best academically and growing from your own experience. Focusing in this way can pay off with great grades.
DON’T FEED INTO THE TOXICITY OR NEGATIVITY. I strongly believe in the saying, “If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it at all”. I practice this throughout my life. Sometimes I get up and walk away, other times I say something nice about the person that may give negative people some perspective.
It wouldn’t be rare to run into law school friends years down the road, and YOU MIGHT REGRET HOW YOU TREATED OTHERS. Being a kind person has always been a trait that I value in others, so I try to make that a trait others value about myself.
Of course, it may be difficult to avoid certain situations where others are saying negative things about you. This is where you KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS. There are many reasons why people feel inclined to attack you. In these types of situations, I always try to GIVE THE PERSON THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. People always have their reasons as to why they act the way they do. If you put yourself in a place of understanding, then you’ll save yourself a lot of anger. Anger is such a waste of time anyway. We’ve got cases to study and lawyers to become! Here is a link to a lovely video I LOVE about anger. This simple video has helped me tremendously.
If all else fails, remember this little girl who speaks THE TRUTH!
Law school is over in three years. You can choose to make your experience the best possible experience for yourself, or not. We always have a choice.
Featured Image Credit: Hello Giggles
4 thoughts on “Dealing with Toxicity and Negativity in Law School”
Thanks for your guide, Kat!!
Thank you for your support and visit Elsa!
This is so good. Law school is full of temptations to be less than kind to others, and it’s so easy to give in. But we’re all in this together, and these are future colleagues! We ought to rise above the stress and treat each other well, despite the competitive nature of what we do.
Amen! I really do think that people don’t realize that.