No need to wait until officially enrolled in law school to endure "crushing stress" about academic performance - and much else about yourself. Damn it, right from the get-go in your elite college you will begin coming undone.
In Bloomberg Business Akane Olani captures that ethos of perfection at the University of Pennsylvania. That standard of performance is unrealistic.
After all, top graduates from secondary schools are the ones admitted to elite colleges. Many of those anticipating remaining in the top tier, and also being cool and a star athlete, are bound to fall apart. The only other option is to adjust to not being among the alpha dogs.
Here is the report a task force at Penn did on that organizational culture and its consequences. It was prompted in part by the string of suicides on campus. In response, Penn has beefed up mental health services. There are more clinicians and the wait time has been reduced.
But it will take more than that for a paradigm shift of total self-acceptance to take place. And, good luck with that. Extraordinary success is America's unofficial religion. If you can't cut it at that high level, you will likely assume you have let down parents, high school teachers, sports coaches and even your dog which stood by you when you are rattled by insecurity.
That is not new. It is not a consequence of the myriad changes in traditional career paths.
In 1959, I entered Henry Snyder High School, located amidst the mean streets of Jersey City, New Jersey. My mother was a cleaning lady, later to be transferred to that very high school.
The homeroom was for the big brains. In the morning our homeroom teacher told us that it was expected that the group would produce the editor of the newspaper and yearbook, lead in the senior-class play, school president, captain of the tennis team, number one through ten in grade point averages and much more. You bet, we made that happen.
It is 2015 and I am probably still an emotional mess from overachieving.