So you’re starting your journey in law school. When you receive your JD, you will be able to look back and appreciate the challenges, good times and triumphant you spent in law school. Just like starting your first day of college as an undergrad, things can get a little chaotic. Here are some tips to help you survive your first month and beyond of law school:
Being overwhelmed is normal. You may feel like the only one who is having a frantic episode in your head as you walk from class to class, but everyone else is feeling the same way. Law school is not like undergrad, and you will need to learn new ways how to study, read and work effectively. Even if you believe you are overly prepared for classes, going to law school is an overarching learning process to develop you to be an outstanding lawyer.
Avoid thinking about the future. The present is already enough on your plate, so no need to add on extra. Don’t think about exams, deadlines, or graduation. Work on building yourself as an efficient law student little by little so when the time comes for exams, deadlines, and graduation, you will be ready.
Make new friends. You might have some friends you knew beforehand attending the same law school as you, but finding new peers is always beneficial. Alienating yourself may be something you are used to, but finding new friends can open doors and opportunities for you. For example, they may run across an internship that perfectly fits your interests. So go out there and mingle with your peers.
Also, become friends with the library. The library has all the information you need to fill in any gaps in your knowledge. And the library staff is always ready to help you with whatever questions you may have. They are also there to teach you how to do better research and use their catalog system to find what you need for your papers and exams. Use the library. You will thank yourself in the future
Don’t be afraid of your professor. Some law professors are inviting while others are very intimidating. Don’t be afraid to ask questions after class if you don’t understand something. Also, trying to become a professor’s friend will not help boost your grade. Most exams require you to put a number on the front, so he or she is not likely to know who you are and grade you easier.
Become an excellent note taker. You might have gotten by with your undergrad degree with sufficient notes, but the more efficiently you learn how to take notes, the easier it will be for you to study for your exams. Each person is different; ask your friends how they take notes, research options and find what works best for you now so you will be on top of it by midterms.
Finally, don’t forget to have some relaxation and fun. Go to social events with your classmates, take a little vacation on the weekend, sleep in on a Saturday and binge on Netflix. It’s very important to remember to relax at some points throughout the semester. This way, you will not overextend yourself and add unnecessary stress.
Law school can be a big transition in your life, and your first year does not have to be an overwhelming experience. By pacing yourself with your work and finding what works best for you, you will realize that law school isn’t as intimidating as many people think.
Do you have any other first year law student tips?