You have made it to a law school, great! You probably feel anxious, ambitious and overwhelmed, all at once. You linger between excitement and the weight of challenges ahead. Just like it should.
But do not panic. Important endeavors are never easy. And if you have made it this far, you will succeed with the rest. The first week can be a hell of a long time when you are at a law school. The right time to put all your survival skills to practice.
But before we start, embrace a conquerer’s mindset. That is what you will need most as a lawyer along with high-class education. Good, now let’s begin.
Lots of them. Getting knowledge organized is crucial to all academic disciplines. But especially to law, where every detail matters. Read everything carefully and do not let important material fade away from your memory. Take notes while reading, take notes while in class.
This should become a habit. And believe, if you do not acquire it straight ahead, be ready to crack under pressure and headaches later. Notes will become your study guides, your saviors during exam weeks. So, give them the care they deserve. Meaning do not take them on scratches of paper with a handwriting you cannot later read! For a more structured approach, maybe try notetaking on a laptop.
Professors Are Not Monsters
Well, usually. Everything might seem a bit off to you when you are a newcomer. But professors are there to enrich you with knowledge and experience, so stop being paranoid and get the most out of them. Office hours are an awesome resource to clear confusion and ask tons of questions.
Do not be afraid to speak up in class as well. Not just for the sake of making an impression. Instead, if you have something to say, break that emotional barrier and do it as soon as you can. Do not go unnoticed. Come one, this is law school and you should do better than that!
Talk to People
And make friends afterward. Do not become a hopeless bookworm and do not miss your chance of meeting some awesome like minded people. There really are no downsides to studying together and exchanging notes. Being anti-social will create an awkward studying environment for you. While it is always nice having some good folks around.
Be Ready for Challenges
Since you already got in, you might be sure your knowledge is just fine for the beginning. But be ready for some challenges. It is not the usual college routine anymore.
You will go through reading and understanding cases, which is a tough task. Even if you have practiced it before you will be puzzled. You can be sure you know something to the bones but in a split of a second, an unexpected question or comment can turn your conviction upside down. Take it easy, put away your pride.
Make reading lists, set alarms for deadlines, and do not be late for classes, ever! If you start procrastinating during the first week, you are doomed. But at the same time focus on your present tasks. Do not worry about exams that are two months away. If you manage your current readings and assignments, exams will not be as stressful as you think. Deadlines are serious at a law school. Turning in something late will affect your grades and reputation.
Get Some Rest
Yes, give yourself a break when you feel like it is too much. And you will feel like it. Studying at law school is a fast paced experience. Falling behind is not a good idea, but turning into a robot is not a good idea either. You might be even super excited and decide to go ahead with readings. Do not do it. Meet your friend over a lunch or go for a walk. Being busy all the time is not cool while knowing how to balance everything is.
Studying in a law school is a challenge in itself and the first week will be a resilience test for you. Tips above will put you on a more organized and mindful path. But most importantly do not forget to work on your attitude. Be a positive thinker and never an overthinker!