I think that overzealous 0L's have unrealistic expectations of law. That's what I think. After being in law school for a year, and with others on this board for longer than that, it is strange to us that you people act like law school and law practice is the best thing since sliced bread. Sure, it's pretty interesting and is a decent way to make a middle class living. But I think you are mistaking depression for realism.
I agree with you wholeheartedly, being an overzealous 0L myself and knowing many 0Ls that act just as you've described. However, I would break overzealous 0Ls down into two categories: those with considerable life/work experience and those straight from undergrad with none. I feel it is primarily the latter that come in with unrealistic expectations.
I am a member of the former group, knowing that jobs you really enjoy doing are very rare. All I'm asking for is an interesting occupation and a comfortable middle class living at worst. Too many students imho enter law school never having worked a *&^% job in their lives. *&^% jobs build character and nurture a valuable cynicism in life, keeping you aware of the possible negative side to things.
I like how Professor Dershowitz welcomes his Crim Law 1Ls every year: "Statistically, it is likely that more of you will become criminal defendants than criminal defense lawyers."