Stress management for the first-year law student: a crash course

If you can count on one thing you’ll experience during law school, it’s stress. Don’t panic! While some level of stress is inevitable (and totally normal), there are ways you can mitigate that stress and make law school as painless as possible. We’ve compiled a list of methods and tools you can utilize during your law school career to ensure you’re keeping your stress levels at a minimum.

Practice self-care

Believe it or not, avoiding self-care can actually affect your grades. Studying non-stop without making time for yourself can quickly lead to burnout, which can result in poor academic performance.

Prioritize your health

Prioritizing health looks different for everyone but in general, you should be planning to do what works best for you and your body. This can include scheduling time to be active, making sure you’re getting a full night’s sleep, and planning your meals ahead of time. Scheduling a twenty-minute jog or bike ride after a long day of studying will help clear and reset your mind, which can help reduce study burnout and mental fatigue.

Make time to go outside

According to Insider, “…humans do need to spend time in natural environments if they want to improve their physical and mental health. That could mean taking advantage of hiking trails near your home, playing in the snow, swimming in the ocean, or just spending time every week in a local park.”

While law school might not allow much time to plan a trip to the beach or a hiking trail in the mountains, walking around a local park can be greatly beneficial to both your physical and mental health. Make sure when you’re planning your week ahead you’re including some outdoor time.

Schedule time for your hobbies

If you’re not into painting or crochet, don’t worry. Playing video games or picking up a new book count as perfectly acceptable hobbies! Whatever temporarily takes your focus away from your studies and into something creative and relaxing should definitely be scheduled into your weekly calendar.

Socialize (while staying focused)

It’s a pretty common myth that law school is too competitive to make friends. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your law school peers are not only your future network funnels and associates, they’re also the people who are going to make you feel less isolated during such a challenging and unique journey.

Your family and friends might not fully understand the time-consuming and all-encompassing focus that law school requires; your law school peers will. Having a group of peers during your law school career is not only a great resource to discuss complicated legal subjects with, but they also serve as a community of people who can help recharge your mental battery through coffee breaks and dinner dates.

Stay organized

An easy way to fall off the law school tracks is to be disorganized in law school. Your professors won’t be assigning homework and weekly quizzes; they’ll be discussing complicated readings that will culminate into an exam at the end of the course that determines your entire grade.

With this in mind, it is absolutely vital that you stay organized and stick to your daily readings and outlining. Scheduling your week ahead of time and having a designated study space at home are excellent ways to help stay organized.

Ask for help when you need it

Finding a mentor and meeting with your professors and study groups can be valuable resources when you’re struggling to understand complicated subjects. While you may not have needed to in undergrad, it’s important to get comfortable asking for help when you need it.

If you’re feeling nervous about law school, you can also schedule a free 30-minute strategy session with President of Law Preview, Don Macaulay, where he can answer any questions you might have about your upcoming journey.

Another important time to ask for help is if your mental health is being affected while in law school. Many law schools (or the college itself) have on-campus counselors you can utilize when you need to. You can also check out the ABA’s list of mental health resources for law students here.

Prepare for law school before you start

One of the best ways to minimize the stress surrounding 1L year is to make sure you’re prepared before day one. Law Preview law school prep course provides you with the tools you need to get to the top of the class. Simulating a real law school class room, you’ll learn how to get to the top of your class.

Law preview teaches you exam-taking strategies, how to outline cases, core 1L material, and more, all taught by some of the nation’s top law professor’s. Being prepared before you step foot in a law school classroom will help eliminate some of those 1L jitters, as well as the fear of the unknown.

Sign up today.

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