Hey, everyone! I’m so excited to be writing this guest post for you guys today. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Bailey, and I run Caffeine and Case Briefs, a blog about my law school experience and tips for others going through the same thing.

Right now, I am in my third year and final semester of law school! I can finally see the end of the tunnel – thankfully! With my law school experience coming to a close, I thought I would write to you about the differences between 2L and 3L year. About a year ago, I wrote a post about how 2L is better than 1L. And now, I’m of the opinion that 3L is better than 2L. So, the good news is that it keeps getting better and easier as you go on. I wish I could’ve told my 1L self that, because I went through quite the mental and emotional struggle my first year of law school. However, I am here to tell you all about that now! So, without further ado, here is my guide to how 2L is different than 3L.

There is WAY less work.

Have you ever heard the saying “1L scares you to death, 2L works you to death, and 3L bores you to death”? Well. It’s not all that far from the truth. If you plan right, hopefully 3L will be the easiest year you have. I planned my classes so that I would get as many of my graduation requirements done as possibile during my second year of law school. Which means for 3L, I am simply taking wahtever classes I feel like. And of course, I took as many easy classes as I can. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still learning valuable stuff. But I don’t feel completely and totally overwhelmed with reading and writing assignments like I have for the last two years. On top of that, this semester I only needed twelve more credits to graduate, meaning that I am only taking four classes instead of five. This was a definite win for me.

The pressure to find a job is REAL.

Well since I told you something good first, I thought I’d throw in something scary next. The job pressure is insane. I started out 3L by not getting my dream job. And yeah, it sucked. But what was worse than that was the pressure to get a post-grad position. You see, during 1L and 2L, if you don’t get a job, or don’t get one you like, the stakes are low. It’s only a summer. But if you don’t get a job after graduation? Well. That’s a problem. I’m not going to lie, the first couple of months of school was super stressful while I was in the middle of my job search. Luckily, by the end of October I landed my first big kid job – a judicial clerkship! So, if you don’t have a job going into 3L, be prepared for a little bit of extra presure and stress while you search.

You are finally comfortable in your school.

Remember during the first year of law school when you thought your professors might actually eat you alive? And then during 2L where you were way less nervous, but your heart might start to race when you get called on? Well as far as my experience goes, that is completely gone. At this point, I’ve been through all the embarrassing things that can happen. Got something wrong when I was called on? Check. Fumbled over words in front of a professor? Check. At this point, you know it’s not the end of the world. On top of that, most of the people in your classes are your friends. And truth be told, you’re on your way out, so you barely care anyway.

You care way less.

On that point – not caring isn’t always the best. Sure, it’s nice to be comfortable, but you might start to feel complacent in your work. Putting off readings, blowing off a class or two. These things aren’t all that uncommon. Unfortunately, senioritis is real for law school too. You should try to combat this as much as possible by getting ahead on readings early, or setting a study schedule. You’re still probably going to have some days where you struggle to find motivation, but at least the consequences won’t be as dire.

Your pile of debt has grown – like a lot.

Listen, I will be the first to preach about the importance of making a budget in law school. And honestly, I am pretty damn good about budgeting and knowing where to spend my money and where to save. Unfortunately, it’s pretty unlikely that you will escape law school without any debt at all. The truth is, most students receive financial aid in law school at some point. And if you’re like me at all, your debt has grown by the time you get to your final year. Now, this is normal, and usually necessary to getting an education. But looking at the massive amount of money you owe while you are likely very poor can be devastating. So prepare for that emotional blow. And panic about paying it back.

You are almost done with school FOREVER!

And to end on a happy note – 3L means you are finally almost done with school. Unless you plan on going back to get an LLM or a JSD, 3L is likely your final year of formal education. And yes, people  will say things like “You are never done learning!” and all that sentimental stuff. But truth be told, it feels pretty damn good to be about done. So, while there are some definite benefits and detriments to 3L, the biggest benefit is being almost done with school forever.

So as you can see, there are a few differences between 2L and 3L. But no matter whether it gets better or worse for you, if you’ve made it this far, you can surely finish. If you liked this post, be sure to head on over to www.caffeineandcasebriefs.com for more similar content. And if you’re looking for the difference between 1L and 2L, check out my site for a guest post from Law School Study Guide!