At Concurring Opinions Jason Mazzone asks recent graduates what advice they'd give to their 1L selves.
Well, some flippant things come to mind, like don't move in with the evil roommate!!! More substantively, I think recommend to myself taking some pre-law school courses just to have given myself an edge. (I'd heard mixed things about them, and I didn't need them to get through school, but I do tend to perform better when I am not encountering something for the first time so for me it might have been worth it.) I also would recommend to myself to have been more disciplined with my note-taking and outlining.
Beyond that I don't have too many regrets. Except perhaps for my third year. I'm not reflecting favorably on it, and I think that's a large source of my lingering (though slightly lifting) crankiness.
To be clear, I don't regret Germany. I do vaguely regret not taking German Law as P/NP, but that's neither here nor there… I also don't regret not traveling more, for the most part, since I've traveled so much and already seen most of Europe, yet I do regret not making it to Greece, as well as a particular circumstance that interfered with my ability to travel a bit more, but that's neither here nor there either.
I also don't regret any of my US classes. Well, I wish I could have taken a few more of them, but there were only so many that could be squeezed into the schedule. I do vaguely wish I had taken Wills and Trusts or Consumer Law instead of Tax, given the relative utility value, but it's not really because there's a problem with having done Tax (it's just that I didn't get to do the others too).
The problem is mostly with extracurriculars. Every year I liked to accomplish more things beyond just school. That was key to my being satisfied with my life choice to become a student. And to a certain extent I did do other things this year. For instance, I'm very glad about the moot courts. The bigger problem is the journal, because it sucked up a lot of cycles with very little to show for it. The biggest part of that was the colloquium. A lot of effort was dumped into making it happen, and then it didn't happen, so I had nothing to show for all that effort. Looking back I wish I could have reclaimed it for something else that would have resulted in something tangible. Plus there are other frustrations too (e.g., I'm not sure being an article editor is all that it's cracked up to be). On the upside… well, I'll save that for when it comes to fruition. But I do find when I think back on the year that the journal took more than its fair share of my life, and I'm not sure I'm ok with that. Too many other things I wanted to do got sacrificed, and that's a lot of why at this moment I have the sense of regret that I do. (Especially since my obligations for it have not yet ended and I'm worried about what else it will cut into.)
Anyway, I realize as I write this that I've used the word "regret" quite a bit. Granted lots of those occasions was in the context of "don't regret," but still it's a little weird for me to throw that term around because I'm not normally someone who sits around wallowing in regret. I kind of don't believe in it. And for the most part, I've not had to experience it. A lot of that is because I'm usually good at making important decisions. Like coming to law school. It was a decision carefully and thoughtfully made, and thus there's no regret about it. But my decision-making process is a necessary defense mechanism. While my choices usually work out, I hate it when they don't. It's not that I expect everything to work out perfectly, but I try to minimize the risk or at least be able to anticipate the possible costs so I can accept it when things don't work out optimally. The problem here is that I really hate making bad bets. I so rarely do, but when it happens I don't like it at all.