Law school is an insular place. There’s something about spending three years with your head buried in 1,500 page casebooks that makes it tough to relate to the world outside of the law school bubble. You’re not acting very normal when someone asks you what you’ve been doing lately, and the only thing that comes to mind is footnote four of United States v. Carolene Products Co. That’s why it’s crucial to resist the bubble mentality and find ways to stay connected to the real world. After all, where are you going to go after those three brief years of your life are over (answer: back to the real world)? Here are some great ways to get involved in the outside world during law school:
Cling to Non-Law School Friends for Dear Life
Remember the friends you had before you started law school? Don’t forget about them. Try to see them as much as you can.
Study far Away from School
While it can be convenient to study in the law school library or the cafe on campus, try to find places to study that are far away from the school. Take a Saturday afternoon trip across town and set up at a local coffee shop: the more different the neighborhood the better.
Join a Non-Law School Gym
Yes, I understand that the school’s gym may be free, but you’re looking for ways to get off campus, right? Find an inexpensive gym as far as you can get from law school. Take a few exercise classes. Lift some weights. Run on the treadmill. Take comfort in the fact that there isn’t a single law student in the building.
Take a Fun Class (e.g. Cooking, Arts and Crafts, etc.)
It’s a good idea to take a study break a few times a week. Use one of these opportunities to learn something that you’ve always wanted to know how to do. Sign up for a cooking or pottery class. Visit a maker’s space and learn how to work with wood and metal. Do anything that gets you as far away from campus as possible. Just make sure you don’t bring a law school friend, so you’re forced to interact with others.
Attend a Religious Institution
If you’re religiously inclined, start (or keep) attending a church, synagogue, meeting house, mosque, temple, lodge, or any other place of worship. These can be great places to meet non-law students and get involved in the community. Try seeking out a place on your own instead of taking a tip from a fellow law student.
Volunteer on a Campaign
Working on a campaign can be a great way to meet like-minded people, while doing something meaningful to you. As with all the other recommendations, try to do this as far away from campus as possible. The last thing that you want to do is canvass with a gaggle of law students or (gasp) undergraduates.
Learn a Language
If you spoke another language before law school, it’s crucial to practice that language as much as you can. Find a language exchange on campus or through the internet. These exchanges will typically place you with a native speaker of your second language who needs to work on their English. You’ll chat for a half hour or so in English and then switch to the second language or vice-versa. If you don’t already speak a second language, don’t despair! There are plenty of language classes that you can take either on campus with non-law students or through private language centers.
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