Law School is not like undergrad, or really any other educational experience. Therefore, it is important to change your mindset and adopt new strategies in order to be successful as a law student. Here are some tips that will help on this journey:
- Schedule in enough time to complete assignments: Especially in the beginning of your first semester, reading and understanding the assigned cases will take longer than you expect. So, plan for it. Give yourself double the time you think it may take.
- Get involved, but do not take on too much: It is easy to get distracted by all the bright, shiny clubs and organizations in the first few weeks of law school. There’s no reason not to attend the events and meetings that really pique your interest. However, do not take on more than you can handle, especially in the beginning. Become involved, but do not overly commit yourself until you know what your new normal looks like as a law student. Your coursework should remain your focus.
- Experiment with different ways of studying: Law school is a new experience, and studying is going to be different than how you approached it as an undergrad. Try out new techniques, and determine what works best for you. The first few weeks are a good time to go back and forth between methods to see what really works for you.
- Take studying seriously, but remember to maintain balance: Studying is important, there is no doubt about it. You need to make sure you stay on top of your coursework throughout the semester, and be serious about it. But there is such a thing as overkill. When you get to the point where things are not sinking in, take a break. Planned breaks will help your studying, not hinder it.
- Practice, practice, practice!: Practice exam questions throughout the semester so that you can get a feel for how you are going to answer the question during the real exam. Being able to do so will help you learn the rules and be able to apply them more quickly on the real test – which you will find out is definitely useful!
- Do NOT be afraid to ask for help: Professors are there to help you. They are there to educate you, your TAs are there to aid your classroom learning, and advisers are there to help guide you in the right direction during law school and beyond. Ask for help when you need it!
- Remember that you are not your grade: You have already accomplished so much up to this point. You have succeeded in your elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education. Some of you have also been successful with careers in the real world. Your grades do not reflect what kind of person you are or how successful you may be once you graduate.
- Remember the real world: Now that you have started law school, it may seem like everything else in your life halts. This does not need to be the case. Remember to take a breather to connect with your friends and family and to do the things that bring you joy. This will help provide balance.