How to Stay Sane as a First-Year Law Student

The closer you get to law school, the more anxious you get. It’s okay! It happens. Your 1L year is all about getting to the top, and not losing your mind while trying. After that, it’s smooth sailing (or at least smoother sailing).

The truth is, starting law school is an adjustment. It takes a lot of time, trial, and error. That’s why it’s important to try to create a balance between life and law school, by forming a strong routine early on.

Check out the five tips below to help keep you sane throughout your 1L year.

Choose to Have a Life

You’ve probably heard the horror stories of first-year law students. Tired and lonely overachievers, laying in fetal position on the floor surrounded by old boxes of pizza and casebooks.

It’s true. They’re out there. But that doesn’t have to be you! And you shouldn’t let it be, either.

Making time to have a life in law school makes a difference. Law school is stressful, and giving yourself time to decompress with actual human interaction is a great way to avoid totally losing it by the end of your first semester. But keep in mind, whether you have a life or not in a choice.

Sometimes you just have to force yourself to do it for your well-being. Future you will thank you for it.

Find or Form a Study Group

Joining a study group is a great way to socialize, empathize, and learn with like-minded students. Study groups give you a great chance to exchange notes, outlines, and ideas from class.

Study groups also keep you accountable and teach you how to lean on people when you need to. Which is a pretty important thing to know as a lawyer (and human being).

Sharing is caring, guys. Plus, it’s never too early to start networking. So talk to people in class, socialize, and form a study group that you can rely on.

Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Like life, law school is filled with ups and downs. Some steeper than others. There will be moments of celebration, and moments of disappointment. But at the end of the day, if you spend the next three years beating yourself up, you will most likely fall behind.

When it comes to law school, choose Team You. Go with the flow, learn from your mistakes, and move forward.

Focus on Your Health

There will be times where choosing a few extra hours of sleep over a 6:00 am run seems like a total no-brainer. And sometimes, it’ll be worth it to choose sleep over exercise. But for the most part, you should probably suck it up and hit the pavement.

Releasing endorphins will help tame the Stress Beast throughout what will be an incredibly overwhelming year. Start creating your workout routine over the summer, so slipping it into your 1L schedule won’t be as painful.

If you can’t manage to find the time, strap on your FitBit and get creative. Lug your books to the treadmill. Jog in place at the library. Create a Crossfit-inspired law student boot camp where you use your backpacks as weights and stack casebooks on your back while doing pushups. (Okay, maybe not that last idea.) But you get where I’m going here.

Another tip: toss the ramen. I know, you’re probably strapped for cash or just feeling the whiplash from learning how much law school is going to cost you. But choosing salad over ramen is just a better idea. Food turns into energy, and energy is essential (and dire) throughout law school.

Be Proactive, Take a Law School Prep Course

I take it by now you know that law school is hard. You also probably know that it’s very competitive, and getting to the top means being as prepared as possible.

By taking a Law Preview summer prep course the summer before your 1L year, you’ll hit the ground running while the rest of your peers are just trying to keep up. In only 6 days this summer you’ll learn core 1L material, exam taking strategies, academic success skills and so much more. All from the nation’s top law school professors.

So start your year off right, and smoke the competition.