Moving to a new city to attend law school can be intimidating whether it’s just a three-hour drive or a five-hour plane ride. I only moved three hours away, but it was still a huge transition. Here are some things to take into account when making the big move:
As I’m sure you’ve been told, networking is a huge part of finding a job but it can also be a big part in expanding your social life. Law school can be isolating and it’ll be nice to have non-law school friends to help you make the area feel a little less foreign. Try to reach out to friends, acquaintances or friends of friends to make your transition a little easier.
You can even make friends with strangers (with caution)! For example, I was visiting my school during the summer when I met a recent graduate studying for the bar walking to the library. She gave me her business card and soon after became my mentor in the area. Not every encounter will work out so serendipitously but don’t be afraid to make new friends – they could help you in the future or just be a friendly face in the area to grab coffee with once in a while.
Keeping Up Your Hobbies
Where you’re moving will be your home for the next three years so try to keep up your hobbies. I had a friend who loved to rock climb and found a local rock-climbing center where she could release stress and make friends outside of the law program. I encourage you to find an endorphin releasing activity to keep yourself sane- especially when the most intense part of the semester hits and you can forget what a normal day feels like.
Finding an Apartment
As someone attending law school in northern California, apartment hunting wasn’t too easy. To minimize stress, start the search as soon as you select the school you’re attending. Here was my step-by-step process:
- Decide whether you want to live on or off campus.
- On campus housing tends to go fast because it’s likely cheaper, more convenient and a lot of international students jump on the opportunity.
- If you choose to live off campus, contact your school to see what they recommend but don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path. It’s all about what works best for you.
- When looking at apartments, try to go on a weekend if you can to see what the atmosphere is really like and visit it multiple times if you have the chance.
- Finally, try to give yourself as much time to adjust to your living environment as your schedule allows because once school starts it’s hard to focus on much else.
Scouting the Area
If you’re anything like me, finding a Costco in a five-minute proximity to my apartment was like waking up on Christmas day. Look into all the different hot spots you frequent in your current town whether they’re running trails, coffee shops or malls. You’ll need breaks in law school and will want something to look forward to. Besides suggestions from friends or locals, look into Google Maps, City Search and Yelp.
When I went abroad, the best advice given to me was to pack everything you think you’ll absolutely need and then take half out. This is also fantastic advice for law school. You do not need 25 mugs, I promise.
I’m not encouraging you to break up with your girlfriend or boyfriend because I know you’re super in love but you’re making a huge (and expensive) commitment and you owe it to yourself to really think about this. From experience, I caution trying to make a long distance relationship work unless you’re 110% invested in it already.
Remembering Why You’re There
Like any big move, it’ll take time to adjust socially and economically and the pressure of your first year of law school will add a whole different dimension that’s hard to prepare for. If everything doesn’t work out exactly the way you want – don’t worry and remember the number one reason why you’re there- to be a law student.
— – —
Want more law school tips? Sign up for our free mailing list today.
Other helpful pre-1L posts:
- Pre-1L Summer Checklist
- The People You Will Meet in Law School
- 5 Strategies for Surviving the First Week of Law School
- How to Think Like a Successful Law Student
Photo Credit: Vitaly Korovin / Shutterstock
Looking for some help to do your best in law school? Find out about our law school tutoring options.