It’s soon going to be the start of a new semester! You’re either filled with anticipation or dreading it. If you fall into the latter category, don’t fret. Here are some tips to get you successfully through the next semester and right the ship if you are struggling in law school.
Set Realistic and Achievable Goals
If your grades weren’t what you hoped they would be last semester, reevaluate everything you did. From study schedules and study groups (or lack thereof) to relaxation methods, all play a role in your success. After some self-reflection, determine what you hope to achieve. Want to improve in a specific class? Talk with your professor to see what you can do early in the semester to get ahead. Is improving your overall GPA your goal? Try a new study method. Maybe try a study group if you’ve usually studied solo. Are you waiting until final exam time to begin reviewing a semester’s worth of material? Setting a review schedule for every week may help you retain what you’ve learned in class and help you identify your weaknesses before the end of the semester.
Get Out of the Law School Bubble
A former tutor once told me “law school is a guilty mistress.” If you are not reading, studying, or writing, you will feel guilty. You must break this mindset. Law students tend to isolate themselves by spending all of their time learning the law, reading the law, and socializing with others who are doing the same. This is what I call the “law school bubble.” As a law school graduate, I understand this because I am guilty of being in the bubble. Yet, every law school student needs to decompress and take a break away from anything and everything law-related. Watch a comedy. Get some fresh air and go for a walk/run/hike. Get a massage. Do something that will help you clear your head and reenergize you.
Also, it’s important to not lose your connection to your friends and loved ones, i.e. the people who were around and supported you before law school. You don’t want to look around during graduation and realize that the only ones congratulating you are your (now former) classmates. Nurture your relationships and make time for them. It doesn’t take much to let someone know you’re thinking about them. A brief call goes a long way in maintaining relationships.
Visualize the Future
While law school feels like it will never end, it will. You will graduate and likely take the bar exam. Believe it or not, there is life after law school. Stop for a few minutes and think about where you want to be one year after graduation. Then envision where you’d like to be five, ten, or 15 years after the end of law school. Think about the countless professional options there are for you with your JD. Don’t limit yourself to a narrow mindset of what can happen once you get your degree. A law degree is the most versatile degree you can earn. Not only is visualization relaxing, but it will help you see that today’s struggles will help you fulfill tomorrow’s dreams.
A new semester provides the perfect opportunity to make a new start. Remember that law school is temporary. There is an end, and life will return to normal.
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