From an SMHA member with an eating disorder:
First, know that you are not the only one. HLS has a few resources for students battling eating disorders:
- Contact our Patient Advocate, Mallory Finne, to help you navigate the incredibly confusing system.
- Some counselors at HUHS have eating disorder experience. Contact Counseling and Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at 617-495-2042 to schedule an appointment.
- HUHS also has nutritionists who can help with planning.
- CAMHS’s workshops and groups have included an eating disorder group in the past. You can ask whether they might offer one again this year.
- ECHO (Eating Concerns Hotline & Outreach) is generally geared towards undergrads, but law students can call in as well.
In reality, however, it can be difficult to get the support you need through these sources. CAMHS is in high demand; students often cannot schedule appointments as quickly or as often as they need. I strongly suggest contacting the Patient Advocate and tapping into resources outside of HLS:
- Plan ahead. CAMHS does not provide long-term therapists and may suggest that you look off-campus, which can feel overwhelming in the midst of a semester. Ask for a referral(s) and look for a counselor before you need one.
- If you need a higher level of support, consider outpatient programs:
- Know your financial options. Off-campus treatment is more consistent, but it’s no longer free. Financial aid can help offset copays and unexpected medical costs, but you must request an adjustment within the academic year. Contact the Patient Advocate and Student Financial Services to learn more.
- Prioritize yourself. Schedule time for meals. Avoid settings that you know to be difficult (like evening receptions or snack-filled study breaks). Plan lunch with friends to keep yourself on track. Don’t hesitate to ask the Dean of Students office for an accommodation for classes or exams if you need it (you will not be the only one).
1L makes it easy to forget, but your health is far more important than your grades or your case briefs. Take care of you.
Q: People in my class always have an answer when they’re called on. When I’m called on, I always struggle. What can I do to stop feeling like my classmates are smarter than me?
You’ve got to try hard not to let your cold call performance affect how you see yourself. Despite what anyone says, school is not objective, tests are not objective. The only thing your answers in class and your grades will tell you is how well you played a game. Professors, parents, and your fellow students might dress it up to seem like the results of the game have a meaning. They might say it’s indicative of how well you know a subject, how good of a lawyer you’ll be, or even how smart you are. But it’s not.
Q: What will happen if I miss a class or don’t do all of my reading?
I did not do all my 1L readings. I did not go to every 1L class. Nothing bad happened. Sleep, mental health, and a happy life are way more important.
Q: How hard do I have to work to get good grades in law school?
Law school isn’t like undergrad, where there was some correlation between how hard you tried and how well you did. In law school, whatever grade you get is the grade you get, and honestly, it will probably be completely unreflective of how hard you tried. So, the only thing in your control about grades is your ability to do your personal best. Now, there’s a huge limitation to your best though: you can’t be at your best best all the time. Operating at 100% for 100% of the time is unsustainable, crazy, and inhuman. You have to be nice to yourself; you have to understand that your best varies. Some days your best might be closer to 50%. Occasionally, you have one of those 10% days. Whatever your best is on any given day, you can’t do better than your best. It’s impossible. So, do your best, but be nice to yourself about what that is.
As a supplementary answer to each question, we want to remind everyone feeling less than 100% that they should definitely be seeking help from a mental health professional to determine the best next steps for them, even if they don’t believe it is super serious yet. Start the process now, because it can be a long one.
Keep the questions coming by sending them by email or anonymously by filling out this form.
Please remember that we are not professionals giving medical advice. If you are in crisis contact
HUHS Urgent Care at (617) 495-5711.