He did well on the LSAT, but not as well as he thought he should have, despite still having a score in the 90th percentile. Time passed and he still hadn't applied to schools. We found ourselves chatting last week and he admitted that he hadn't started the process yet because he hadn't come to terms with the fact that he won't get into a Top 10 school.
I know to some, this may seem like a ridiculous woe-is-me argument, but overachievers who have been in his shoes can identify with the gravitas of the situation. We've been conditioned our whole lives to feel that achievement is everything. It's no surprise that my friend feels like the law school he goes to is a representation of his self-worth. Especially after being out of the game for a while, I can see how the internal (and external) validation would mean a lot to someone who holds himself to the highest standards.
I don't typically give advice in my coaching sessions, but if his true goal is to graduate from a Top 10 law school, I suggested the possibility of transferring if he can ace his first year and get great recommendations. Of course the important thing is that he understands why he wants to go through law school and how the degree is only a tool for accomplishing what he really wants to do in life.
It's interesting, yet unfortunate that our prior successes can set us up mentally for disappointment in an otherwise good situation.
- Has this ever happened to you?