This image is after my team placed first in the Regional Mock Trial Competition. It was an incredible experience since our school had not gone to the State Competition in 10 years. We went on to place top 16 in the State.
Continuing off of my last post about “The Secrets to Public Speaking”, this post is about the life lessons I learned while participating in Mock Trial. While these lessons impacted me as a mock attorney, I found they also can be used to be more successful in life.
How to continue despite the odds: As someone who went from a JV witness my junior year to varsity attorney my senior year, I found at times there was an overwhelming amount of information I needed to learn in order to be strong for my team. I found the key to learning a lot of information quickly was to tackle any new information or mistake early so the same thing did not happen again. Throughout Mock Trial, I learned to do this by writing everything down. (and I mean everything!) From notes to presentation materials to the tips and tricks quickly mentioned in conversation with our legal advisor. By writing it down, and making time to learn everything possible, I was able to continue moving forward.
How to think quickly: Battling objections, and doing so spontaneous, was one of the most challenging skills to learn. However, by the end of the season, they became another moment to shine! For, as much as one can prepare potential objection material, the only way to be successful at objections is to rely on prior knowledge and act accordingly in the moment. By taking the time to thoroughly prepare, I was able to battle any objection that I confronted due to knowing the overall case information. This quick thinking and ability to understand a topic deeply can apply to all other aspects of life when one is trying to prove a point. Being able to think logically and quickly allows you to open your mind up to a higher level of thinking and makes both Mock Trial battles and everyday discussions more interesting.
How to be assertive: As someone who goes about life never wanting to hurt a soul, I often found it easier to not stand up for myself instead of causing conflict. However, Mock Trial taught me that sometimes it can be necessary to stand up in order to solve a problem. By learning how to politely state an opposing opinion, I learned that being assertive is a way for both my team and myself to end with a win-win situation. I also discovered that sometimes it takes the “nice girl” standing up against wrongdoing for someone to realize the error of their ways. For example, throughout the season I was constantly told I was “too nice”, but when one of my teammates deliberately neglected to put in the work in order to be successful, I found it took the girl who was always “too nice” to be the voice of reason. Learning to stand up and be assertive in a professional and polite manner is another skill that not only helps you advance but can help those around you be more successful.
Positive people are key: Who you surround yourself with can make or break an experience. Throughout the Mock Trial season, our group of nine became a second family. Furthermore, I found that surrounding myself with people who believed in me and pushed me to be my very best helped me achieve success faster. Our group was able to mix having fun and working hard together so that our work became enjoyable, and I found that by mixing the two we were able to work harder and longer because we were enjoying ourselves.
Trust in yourself:
In the end, all the points above helped me learn to trust in myself. By our final competitions I became fearless and recalled no longer worrying about messing up, but instead enjoyed the moments when I could perform, argue, and shine. My head was clear, my mind was ticking, and sense of passion had taken hold of my entire being. Learning to rely on my experience and the knowledge I gained allowed me to trust my mind in and out of the courtroom. Remembering to trust yourself can give you the courage to act in the moment and make the right decision quickly.
For anyone working to be successful at a new task, know that the effort is worth the result. Even if you have to put in a couple (or many) extra hours, it is all worth it when you get to live out your passion. Be it a career, extracurricular, or class, the old saying “hard work pays off” holds true.