At the beginning of the semester, I introduced you to my new student editor, Anna Jirschele. The following post reflects her thoughts on awesomeness.
Chicago-Kent students have completed about one-third of the semester and we are all feeling the pressures of law school in full force. Perhaps that new semester glow has faded, the case briefing is getting monotonous, and outlining has begun. So this post is dedicated to encouraging my fellow classmates to take a step back, acknowledge your goals and plans, and tap into your inner-awesomeness.
Awesomeness isn’t always easy to see in ourselves when the harsh stress of the semester kicks in. Last semester, Professor Walters and I would meet every few weeks and brainstorm ways to overcome stress and have confidence in the future. He pointed me to a presentation by Professor Frank Snyder from Texas A&M called “Innovations in Teaching and Mentoring.” In order to encourage you the way I felt encouraged by his presentation, I want to share some of Professor Snyder’s main points.
Professor Snyder starts his presentation by saying law school is unintentionally a “toxic environment.” He doesn’t focus on who is to blame for the nature of this environment. He instead dives right into how to change it. He challenges the professors he is speaking to, to “harness students’ total freaking inner awesomeness to increase happiness and improve school performance.” I think us students should be tasked with this challenge ourselves!
But where does one even begin to harness her awesomeness? Snyder discusses the power of starting with a vision for your future. He says “students always want reasons why they can’t.” But he says it is a “disservice” to talk about what we can’t do. So when a student gives him a vision for her future he says, “somebody’s going to be that and is there any real reason why it can’t be you?” The answer is no, it can be you – so make it you!
After you have a vision and hopefully feel encouraged to pursue it, create a plan. Long-term plans are important, but I would argue short-term challenges are more effective in gaining immediate confidence. Last semester, Professor Walters would give me a few challenges to meet in the following week. Good challenges for me included asking a teacher I admire out to coffee, or applying to a job I think I can’t get. With each completed challenge, I inched towards the person, student, and professional I envisioned myself to be. The challenges will be different for everyone; the important thing is taking the time to make them for yourself and follow through. Visions, goals, and plans equal confidence and awesomeness, and I learned that from both Professor Snyder’s presentation and Professor Walters.
Today, my challenge to my fellow classmates is this: set aside a half hour one day this week, and ask yourself what your vision of the future looks like. Remember Professor Snyder’s fundamental question: “somebody’s going to be that and is there any real reason why it can’t be you?” Then create just two small challenges to complete in the next week that will inch you toward your vision. Make the “somebody [who’s] going to be that,” you!