If you’re headed to law school in the fall, you might be wondering what you can do this summer to put yourself in the best position possible for success. Contrary to what you may think, the best way to do that is probably not trying to learn the law ahead of time! Law school can be a real challenge, and the best thing that you can do ahead of time is to put a solid foundation in place that will allow you to easily adjust to, and navigate, your first semester.
Take Care of Life Details
For most people, starting law school will be a fairly large adjustment. Many people will need to make a major life change, such as moving or leaving a job, and those things usually come with a lot of details to sort out. If you need to move, it is really crucial that you are at least searching for a place to live early. Make sure you consider whether you need or want roommates, and how you are going to find those roommates. You will most certainly want a quiet, safe place to live during law school – so anything that you can do to make your living situation less stressful is worth doing ahead of time. Besides housing, make sure you know how you will be getting to and from school and other necessary places, like the grocery store. If you will be driving, make sure you know where you can park, both at school and at your home. You may also want to make sure that your car is in good shape – the last thing you want to be worried about during law school is something happening to your car! If you’re taking public transportation, be sure that you’re familiar with the schedules so that you can get where you need to go at the right time.
Spend Some Time Relaxing
Once law school begins, you likely won’t have time to truly relax again until winter break – so take advantage of these few months before school to spend some time doing what you enjoy. This is also a great time to spend as much time as possible with friends and family, as you may not have as much time to see them when school starts. These relationships will likely be a crucial part of your support system during school, so filling them in on what they can expect will likely make the transition easier for you, and for your loved ones.
Mentally Prepare Yourself
One of the biggest challenges of law school is managing your mindset. Law school is stressful, and the constant competition of the curve can easily leave students feeling discouraged. Taking some time before school starts to really understand what you’re getting into and how you can manage your mental health can be crucial to succeeding in law school. If you haven’t already read it, you may want to consider reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck before school begins. The book highlights the benefits of having a growth mindset – that is, a belief that your ability can be improved through hard work. Having a growth mindset is crucial to law school success, as law school is a brand new challenge for most people. Learning to cultivate a growth mindset early on can help you better deal with setbacks during school.
Take Care of Yourself
The last thing that you want is to begin law school and already be run down. Law school will be draining enough when it begins, so one of the best things you can do in the months leading up to the start is to make sure that you’re healthy. Make sure that you’re sleeping, eating right and getting some exercise – as a bonus, all of these things will help you stay healthy during school as well, as long as you continue to make time for them!
Understand What will be Expected of You
While we don’t really recommend trying to learn any substantive law before school begins (you don’t even know what your classes will cover yet), it may be helpful to put some effort into learning how law school works before you begin. The pedagogy of law school will be different than anything you’ve done before, and understanding how you should approach your work may help you feel more confident when school starts. If you want some practice ahead of time, consider checking out our Start Law School Right course! The course covers all of the most important skills that you’ll need to succeed during law school.
Beginning law school can be an overwhelming process. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for first semester success.
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