Starting law school ahead of the curve means being prepared before day one. As an incoming law student, I have a feeling you know a thing or two about preparation. If you want to start law school on the right foot, try building positive habits and skills that will set you up for success.
As a 1L it’s easy to become overwhelmed and give into negative habits, but think twice. Your first year of law school is the most important and dictates your future career opportunities. Here are the negative habits you should avoid as a law student.
Don’t miss class or reading assignments
This one’s simple. Don’t skip out on class or reading assignments. Law school goes by quickly, especially in your first year. Your professors are paying attention to your attendance, and it may even affect your overall grade.
When it comes to reading, missing one reading assignment can easily snowball into a big headache come final exams. Stay on top of your reading assignments, it’s even a good idea to get ahead if you want a competitive advantage or extra time to understand the curriculum.
Don’t mess with your routine
Having a solid routine is imperative to law school success. Why? Because your day will be filled with either attending class or briefing cases. Honing strong time management skills will allow you to strike a healthy work/life balance.
Your routine should block off time for attending class, reading cases, outlining, going to the gym and spending time with friends and family. Yes, you’ll have to pencil in time for your friends and family. If you don’t, it’s easy to completely lose track of any semblance of a personal life.
Don’t fall victim to procrastination
The dreaded “P” word — yikes. It’s easy to fall victim to procrastination as a law student because, let’s face it, nobody wants to read boring cases for hours. And you’re not just reading. You’re rereading, taking meticulous notes, creating comprehensive outlines, etc. Yes, it can get boring. Especially if it’s about a subject you’re not particularly interested in.
So, how do you not fall victim to procrastination? Stick to your routine, and make time for fun stuff and physical activity. Maintaining a healthy social life and lifestyle can help keep you sane when things really get stressful.
Another note on procrastination: try not to study in your room. At times this will be inevitable but try to pick a regular study spot that’s distraction-free with bright lighting. If you study in your room, you have a high chance of falling victim to curling up under the blankets and binge-watching The Office until the sun comes up. (I’m speaking from personal experience.)
Don’t forget the importance of rest
When you’re in law student mode (especially at the end of the semester) it’s easy to forget that you’re a human being that needs rest and human interaction. Try not to stay up all night working. Getting at least eight hours of sleep a night will have a positive impact on your law school experience and your health.
In a few months, the thought of getting eight hours of sleep a night may sound laughable. But it’s worth a try!
Don’t skip out on your health
We talk a lot about being active as a law student, but it bears repeating. Staying healthy affects your overall energy and mental outlook throughout law school.
When you have a ton of reading assignments ahead of you, that packet of ramen noodles will look really appealing. We know. But that packet is filled with sodium and carbs that will put you right to sleep. Try upgrading your diet to include fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, and protein. This healthy diet will help you stay focused and alert throughout the day.
Make sure to include time to exercise in your weekly routine. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain. This helps sharpen your awareness and keeps you energized, making it easy to tackle that lengthy reading assignment. Exercising also produces endorphins, which help combat feelings of anxiety or depression.
Don’t be shy
Law school is not the time to be shy. As a law student, you should constantly be asking questions to your professors and your peers. Cases are dense and the law can be difficult to understand. Consider visiting your professor’s office hours regularly and never be afraid to ask questions in class.
We also recommend starting or joining a study group. Study groups give you a chance to exchange notes and outlines, discuss any questions you may have, and keeps you social. It’s hard to maintain a social life as a law student, and study groups are a great way to help you do so while also getting some work done.
Don’t start 1L unprepared
Most students assume if they performed well in undergrad, they’ll be good students in law school. That’s simply not true. Law school is unlike any other academic experience. Study methods and note-taking methods that worked for you in undergrad may not work in law school.
In fact, it’s not until one month into their 1L year that most students realize they have to rewire their entire approach to school.
Don’t risk falling behind in the most crucial year of law school. Attend a Law Preview 1L summer prep course and learn everything from core 1L material to exam taking strategies from the nation’s best law school professors. Attend from the comfort of your home or at a live location near you.
It only takes six days to learn how to become a top law student. Sign up for Law Preview today.