Deciding Where to Go > General board for soon-to-be 1Ls

Anyone deal with family death prior or during law school?

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lionheart901:
Hi everyone my name is Brian and I am new to these forums. Long story short, my father was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin's Lymphoma three and half years ago and recently has been in the hospital for two weeks due to complications. My father has talked to me about not continuing his chemotherapy treatments because it has been ineffective thus far and has been suffering. I am starting law school next month and my mind is all over the place. There is a high probability due to the aggressiveness of the lymphoma, that my father could pass away at any given moment. I talked with my family about deferring for year and I also contemplated it. My father did not want to hear anything about me putting off law school and he made me promise him that I would start and finish as soon as possible. It simply is a crappy situation. I love my father, he is honestly my role model and best friend so I will do everything to honor his wishes and confidence in me. Has anyone ever been in this situation before, know of someone who has, or something similar? If so I would appreciate any advice. Sorry if this came off as a rant, I am just trying to get my head in the right place so I do not fall behind.

Maintain FL 350:
That's an incredibly tough situation to deal with, no matter what. I really feel for you and your family. My father died of bone cancer when I was 18, just as I was starting college, so I have some notion as to what you've got on your plate.

I don't know enough about your situation to feel competent to offer advice, but here are a few things to think about.

1) The first year of law school is very tough, tougher than you think it's going to be. You will have to be able to dedicate yourself to it 100% in order to pass. Law school is nothing like undergrad. You will be expected to digest voluminous amounts of very dense material every day, then turn right around and apply it to legal problems. That first year is difficult, confusing, and stressful.

2) As exams get closer you will be required to invest even more time into preparation. Unlike undergrad (where you can get away with cramming the night before), law school exams require practice to master. You will need lots of time.

3) Just based on what you've written, I think it would be tough to dedicate yourself 100% to law school and 100% to your family. Something is going to suffer. If you decide to wait a year, that's not the end of the world.

Lastly, don't take anonymous internet advice from me or anyone else too seriously. You know your capabilities better than anyone. Good luck!

lionheart901:

--- Quote from: Maintain FL 350 on July 20, 2013, 05:29:13 PM ---That's an incredibly tough situation to deal with, no matter what. I really feel for you and your family. My father died of bone cancer when I was 18, just as I was starting college, so I have some notion as to what you've got on your plate.

I don't know enough about your situation to feel competent to offer advice, but here are a few things to think about.

1) The first year of law school is very tough, tougher than you think it's going to be. You will have to be able to dedicate yourself to it 100% in order to pass. Law school is nothing like undergrad. You will be expected to digest voluminous amounts of very dense material every day, then turn right around and apply it to legal problems. That first year is difficult, confusing, and stressful.

2) As exams get closer you will be required to invest even more time into preparation. Unlike undergrad (where you can get away with cramming the night before), law school exams require practice to master. You will need lots of time.

3) Just based on what you've written, I think it would be tough to dedicate yourself 100% to law school and 100% to your family. Something is going to suffer. If you decide to wait a year, that's not the end of the world.

Lastly, don't take anonymous internet advice from me or anyone else too seriously. You know your capabilities better than anyone. Good luck!

--- End quote ---

Thanks for the quick reply. You make a lot of sense. I know holding off for a year is not the worst thing ever. I feel if I hold off a year and sit home & work that it will allow me too much free time to think. I fear that I will keep thinking about the last few years and fall into depression. Part of me feels that if I start school next month it will keep my mind busy and active. I know I was able to deal with living on the edge with my father's situation throughout 3/4 of my undergraduate year. But like you said law school is a whole different animal, especially the first year. You're also right about not taking anonymous internet advice too seriously. My goal here is to get some ideas and maybe some inspiration.  Thanks again and sorry about your father as well.

Maintain FL 350:
Thanks for the kind words.

I don't know where you're located, but maybe one option would be attending a local law school. That way you could still be around your family, stop by and visit, maybe even live at home. It could allow you to attend school and maintain a connection with your dad.

lionheart901:

--- Quote from: Maintain FL 350 on July 20, 2013, 10:14:18 PM ---Thanks for the kind words.

I don't know where you're located, but maybe one option would be attending a local law school. That way you could still be around your family, stop by and visit, maybe even live at home. It could allow you to attend school and maintain a connection with your dad.

--- End quote ---

Sorry I should've been more concise. I live it at home with my parents here in Michigan and I am attending Detroit Mercy School of Law. My drive is approximately forty-five minutes. I will be commuting back and fourth each day.  So I guess I will at least get to see my dad often. I was just worried with the whole grieving process and keeping my mind in the right place. Sometimes in my case, when I hear bad news it really throws me into a dark place. I guess that is something I will have to work on mentally and make myself stronger. Do you think the fact that I am going to school close to home and living with my parents makes my situation a bit more optimistic?  Thanks again for taking the time to respond. I also contacted my school to inform them of my situation so I can prepare myself if I need to miss a class or two. I feel I need to plan everything so I am not left scrambling and falling behind.

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