When I overheard my classmates talking about their plans for spring break my 1L year, I remember being very confused. My peers were exchanging info on what hotels they’d be staying at when they vacationed or what time their flights left to go home. I, on the other hand, had it cemented in my brain that spring break was a lot like any other holiday in school, where all my time should be spent in the library or I’d risk falling behind.
While, as stated in many blogs before, how you spend your time in law school is directly correlated to your success, you deserve a break (even a small one). I’m a big advocate of taking a few days off for spring break, but I also think there is no wrong way to spend your week. Just in case you’re conflicted by choosing between a sandy beach and a dark corner of the library, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.
Set Aside Time to Relax
Even if you are planning on sticking around campus for the week, make sure to take at least a day off to relax and recharge. I promise the reading can wait and the weeks following spring break are all down hill until you finish finals so this is likely your last chance to really take time for yourself until the end of May. So go see a movie, head to the beach or just sleep in until noon. Do something that helps you relax because not only do you deserve it, but also you will be so glad you did once the break ends.
Check to See What Your School Offers
Many schools offer alternatives to spring break that give you the chance to relax and still get some legal experience. For example, last year my school offered students the chance to meet alumni in Los Angeles where they catered lunch, dinner and alumni set aside time where they gave students valuable insight in the entertainment law industry. On the other hand, my college friend’s law school offers spring break pro bono trips to places like Costa Rica. Opportunities like this are great because they’re providing you a chance to do something outside of the classroom while simultaneously exposing you to an aspect of the legal world.
Tie Any Loose Ends
I already have it set that this year my spring break will consist of me going to the dentist, getting my car serviced and filing paperwork to get three of my exam dates changed since they all fall on the same day in May. While these plans aren’t the most exciting, knowing I have set aside time during spring break to handle these administrative details make it much easier to not worry about them during school. If you have any appointments you need to get done or home improvements that you keep putting off, spring break is a great time to do them.
Evaluate How Your Semester is Going
Have you been keeping up with your readings? Attending your professor’s office hours? Outlining after each section? Now is the time to check in with yourself and figure out if you need to make any adjustments going forward. Even though spring break means you are likely half way through the semester, making even subtle changes now – like typing up your written notes after class – will pay off later.
Designate a Plan Going Forward
After evaluating your performance so far this semester, you can take spring break to decide how you are going to approach your final months of the school year. Ask yourself what you don’t need to commit to anymore and or what you could do more. For example, after spring break last year, I decided that study groups weren’t an effective way to spend my time and I needed to set aside more time to attend my professor’s office hours.
Besides school, you can also consider planning out over spring break what you’ll be doing for the summer. If you haven’t locked in a job yet, spring break is not only a great time to apply but also a good time to outline your approach for the job search – whether it’s setting up informational interviews or researching networking events you can attend.
If You Choose to Study — Set Reasonable Goals
If you do decide to commit yourself to a week with your books, make sure you’re realistic of all you can accomplish. For example, do not wait until spring break to start and finish all your outlines or catch up on all your readings. You won’t be able to meet these goals and not being able to accomplish them by class Monday will only stress you out more.
How you spend your spring break is completely up to you. Whether it’s spent in the library or in Hawaii, keep in mind when you come back, you’re going to be hitting the ground running.
Looking for some help to do your best in law school? Find out about our law school tutoring options.