Law Student Roundtable: Jo Gbujama, Washington University School of Law

If you’ve gained admission to law school, you’re starting to realize the hardest part isn’t just getting in — it’s excelling once classes start in next fall.

We’ve asked seven Law Preview alums to reflect back apply 20/20 hindsight to some of your burning questions, like: “Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to students who are about to begin their 1L year?”, “What are the biggest mistakes that you saw classmates make during the 1L fall semester?” and “What were your favorite study aids during 1L and what made them so helpful?”… and, our personal favorite, “What is the one thing you wished you did NOT stress out about during the law school application process?”

Check out the article below to read their objective suggestions for navigating law school and, in some cases, learn what they wished they had done differently.

Jo Gbujama
Washington University School of Law

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to students who are about to begin their 1L year?

I recommend that all people entering 1L have a good study schedule. A lot of law students don’t follow a schedule, which can lead to people feeling overwhelmed during the semester. Personally, I stayed read and briefed my cases for all my classes two days in advance. I read for Wednesday on Monday, Thursday for Tuesday, etc. I did my legal reading and writing homework on Friday and Saturday and compiled my class notes into an outline of the course on Sunday. I went to office hours after we finished big sections and did practice tests to make sure I grasped the material. Because I followed this schedule, I had a lot of time to play intramural basketball, go out, and I had a lot less to do than my classmates at the end of the semester.

I also recommend staying involved in student organizations for several reasons. Some student organizations have outline banks, which can be helpful for finding resources to study for finals throughout the semester. Additionally, student organizations are a great way to make friends with common interests. If you don‚Äôt have friends in law school, you aren’t going to enjoy it. Join a student org, make connections, and have some fun. They generally aren’t a big time commitment because the board recognizes that 1L year is important.

Finally — and I cannot stress this enough — chill. Most law students are stress out unnecessarily about everything. Don’t let that be you. Every second you spend stressing about grades, classes, and other things 1Ls generally stress out about could be better spent either studying or sleeping. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. If you make a schedule and follow it, get outlines from your older friends in student organizations, and chill out every now and then, you will be fine.

What are the biggest mistakes that you saw classmates make during the 1L fall semester?

It’s amazing how few people go to office hours. Professors will literally tell you everything you need to know. I went to office hours whenever I had a question and after every chapter to review. Then I went over practice tests with professors to get feedback. Go to office hours.

Did you purchase new/used casebooks, or rent them? What advantages/disadvantages did you experience — and do you plan to do it differently in coming semesters/years?

I bought new casebooks for all classes. Some friends complained that people highlighted in their used books and that messed with how they wanted to highlight. I will probably still buy new books. Law school is an investment. Spending money for new books now will probably pay off later.

How did you handle the competition/stress of 1L? What tactics did you use to avoid the stress that many 1L students experience?

If you do what you are supposed to do, you don’t have anything to stress out about. Go to class, read and brief cases, ask questions in office hours when you have them, outline and study throughout the semester, and take practice tests and you have nothing to stress about. There is nothing you can do about other people, so worry about yourself and make sure you know what you are supposed to.

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