The Stress of Law School Competition

Topics: Stress, Emotional Health

Competition is common in law school. And that can be a good thing. It encourages you to work harder, do better, be more creative and focus on your goals. But competition can cause stress and aggravate mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

So it’s important to recognize when competition-fueled stress has become too much. Knowing the signs helps you watch out for them and intervene to prevent them from escalating.

Signs of Excess Stress

Stress can manifest physically, cognitively, emotionally and behaviorally. These are some of the telltale signs of too much stress:

• Anxiety
• Anger
• Agitation
• Mood swings
• Physical aliments such as headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, frequent colds and insomnia
• Weight gain or weight loss
• Overeating or not eating enough
• Problems concentrating or making decisions
• Persistent worrying
• Forgetfulness
• Low self-esteem
• Sadness
• Loneliness

Seeking Help

Don’t let the competition of law school stop you from seeking help. You might worry that getting treatment makes you seem like a weaker candidate but the opposite is true. Being proactive about potential problems makes you stronger, healthier and more prepared for the challenges ahead. Stress can impact all areas of your life. It can interfere with your ability to focus and think clearly and interact with others. It can deplete your energy and even sink your mood. You might find that you’re spending more time trying to cope with these consequences than you are on school.

Competition may be steep. But your physical and emotional health is key to performing well. Seeking help doesn’t make you a weak candidate. It makes you a better one.