« on: December 26, 2005, 12:54:59 AM »
I haven't been to law school yet, but allow me to venture this question. Could the stress of law school, particuarly 1L, have less to do with the volume or rigour of the material and more to do with the lack of feedback through homework assignments, quizes, and midterms that students are used to from their undergraduate days, and that helped them adapt and modify their study habits and techniques? I imagine having to suddenly plunge into a totally new field with tons of reading material and without knowing much about how well you're doing until the final would be incredibly stressful even on people who aren't "whiny", "lazy", or "cowardly", as well as on people who do not need to be "spoon-fed" the material during lecture by their professors. I don't know if 1L really is like that, but that's what I've gathered from reading these boards so far.
I also want to add something to the debate over whether these statistics are due to law school itself or due to the type of students who are attracted to law school. The study posted by the OP says law students come into law school happier and healthier psychologically than other students entering other graduate or professional schools, and concludes from that the subsequent decline in happiness and well-being is due to the law school experience. I think, though, that the "above-average happiness" they experience prior to entering law school is possibly due to the excitement and boost in their self-esteem that they get from being accepted at highly selective institutions after a terribly competitive application process. These students may still very well be more prone to panic, competitiveness, and depression than the average.