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A LEARNING EXPERIENCE LOOKING BACK ON MY SCHOOL DAYS
Before I shipped off to law school, the attorneys I knew loved to pile on the horror stories. “You’d better be ready,” they’d say,
If you knew the challenges I faced as a young guy in prep school, this statement would probably make more sense.
practically relishing your dread. “You’ll need to study every waking moment of your life, and even then, you’ll have no idea how well you’re doing until the sink-or-swim exams at the end of the semester.” They’d share tales of professors chewing students out for the most minor of offenses and friends who crashed and burned when it came time to take the bar exam. All in all, they’d paint a picture of law school as a nightmarish world of constant stress, a gauntlet designed to push even the most studious individuals to the limit. I was pretty nervous and afraid to face the challenge until one of my dad’s buddies — a guy named Lewis Lamb who’s now the district attorney for the Southwestern Judicial Circuit — told me while we were out fishing that he thought all that negative talk about law school was just hot air. “When people jump to tell you how hard law school is,” he said, “I think
Growing up, I was about as far from a natural student as a kid could be, but things turned around when I got to college and started buckling down. It felt like a clean slate, free of all the oppressive rules and overbearing teachers. From Day One in college, I felt invested in a way I hadn’t before — somehow, I pulled nearly straight A’s my first semester, an unheard-of feat in my earlier days. From then on, I kept my nose to the grindstone and dedicated myself to my studies. I may be skeptical when people go blue in the face talking about how difficult law school is, but I think that fear was a pretty good motivator. My first semester, I got the best grades of my life. And though there were some pretty steep learning curves to surmount, I did everything I could to stay competitive in the class and learn as much as possible about my new career. Passing the bar was one of the most exciting events of
My college days
they’re actually just interested in patting themselves on the back. ‘Oh, it was so difficult! But I was smart enough to make it through!’” Looking back, I think he was right. Make no mistake — law school is certainly a challenge. But by the time I arrived there, I’d learned to study effectively and mastered the art of reading and writing for hours on end. In many ways, I actually thought law school was easier than middle and high school had been. Chalk it up to my maturity level.
my life, and I never looked back after that. While it may have been a winding path to where I am today, I’m just grateful I figured it out before it was too late and managed to discover a rewarding, engaging career that keeps me eager to come into work each day.
-William F. “Trey” Underwood, III
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