1L year probably didn’t end the way you expected it to end. I’m sure there were many things out of your control, but regardless of whether the start of your 2L year is online or in-person, there are still a few things you can do to get ready.
Review your schedule
One main reason why 1L year is so difficult is because all your classes are bar exam classes. Once you become a 2L and 3L, you only need to take 1-3 bar classes a semester.
Check your schedule to see if you’ve overloaded yourself for the upcoming semester. Imagine doing 1L over again while also on a journal and as president of an organization—yeah, that would be pretty scary.
You also want to consider how your grades may be impacted by your schedule. As a 2L, you have more control over your schedule. You are likely to do better academically and enjoy your second year if you pick classes you’re genuinely interested that are taught by good professors. It’s not too late to change your schedule.
Organize your working space at home
This last semester was a blur for many law students—just trying to make do with what we had while it lasted. But with so much uncertainty about the upcoming semester, now is a great time to make sure your WFH space works for you.
Get a laptop stand. Clear a working space or buy a desk off Facebook Marketplace. Purchase a butt pad or cushion. If you have space in your budget, get a monitor to have a second screen. Maybe now is the time to splurge on those noise-cancelling headphones you managed to get by without.
Add family pictures or soft design pieces. Be more intentional about your home work space (even if it’s in a closet) so that you can create an environment that’s conducive to success, even under the circumstances.
Find attorneys to connect with
This tip is most especially for 1L students who feel excluded from the OCI and BigLaw recruiting process. Attorneys are more available now since they are all at home and most love talking with students.
Think about the industry you’d like to be in or a law practice that interests you. Reach out to attorneys via LinkedIn or email and ask for a 30-minute video chat to discuss their career journey. Not only do these conversations enrich your understanding of how to navigate law school, but they can also lead to great relationships.
2L year is easier to navigate when you have a better understanding of where you would like to take your law degree. Finding attorneys to connect with will give you more direction and clarity about law school.
Check your perspective
2020 has shown us that so much can be out of our control, but that doesn’t mean we can’t control the way we respond. 2L year will present its own set of challenges. You can get a head start on 2L year by checking your perspective.
Instead of thinking of all the things that could go wrong with another online semester, think about all the new opportunities you have to learn and connect with your peers. Instead of moping at the possibility of not hosting in person events, think of ways you could host an engaging and virtual panel.
Overall, 2L is what you make of it. Many 2Ls get swept up in the busyness of the year. They overcompensate for their grades by overcommitting and saying yes to too many things. Finding a balance is always easier said than done, but you can do it.
Survey your upcoming responsibilities and start looking for ways to manage yourself and your expectations. The best part about being a 2L is that you’re one step closer to graduation!
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