There is so much ambition and energy going into a new year. It is a clean slate to do things differently and for the better.
By now, you are seasoned! You have at least a semester under your belt, and you have undoubtedly learned a lot about yourself. The benefit of experience is that you can use that information to make improvements to your new year!
Some questions you can begin to ask yourself may be:
- What am I most proud of?
- Do I have areas I want to improve?
- What am I afraid of trying but want to try? What tools and resources can I draw on to help me get there?
- What are stressors that affect me and what can I do to make changes?
- Outside of law school, what are activities that make me feel good? How can I integrate this into my life?
- What is something I can do daily that my future self will thank me for?
Take Control of Your Well-being
Your health is not just another checkbox on your mounting to-do list. It is a critical foundation for success now and in the future. The best way we can set ourselves up for success in our school, career and in the long-term is to take steps today to ensure that your most basic and essential health needs are being met.
Establish and Prioritize a Healthy Routine
Here are some ways you can implement health and self-care into your routine:
- Sufficient sleep
- Exercise at least 3 times a week
- Take breaks to rest and recharge
- Eat nourishing meals
- Practice self-compassion
- Improve your environment with organization
- Minimize screen time and get outdoors more
- Use breathing techniques
- Set boundaries to protect your time and energy
The benefits are improved mood, happiness, focus, memory, problem-solving, productivity, better mind and body connection, and increased energy levels. Being a successful lawyer has much to do with your mindset, health, and overall wellbeing. Establishing and prioritizing healthy habits will help you to avoid the common health pitfalls in the legal profession such as substance abuse and diminishing mental health.
Are you fully present during your study sessions, meetings, and lectures? How about outside of school when you are having a meal with others or talking with family and friends?
Approaching your day with an awareness in all you do is what it means to be fully present. Easier said than done when you have deadlines and outlines looming over your head. Perhaps you are replaying an awful cold call scenario, or imagining the work pile up and zoning out of whatever is in front of you.
Mindfulness is worth putting the effort into because it can reduce stress, depression, anxiety, overwhelm and improve attention and focus.
One way you can simply begin is by adding a mindfulness app or podcast or playlist on your phone. This can be easily accessible whenever you need it. For example, on the way to a stressful class, or a presentation, meeting, or exam—just press play and take a breath!
Don’t be a Stranger!
In the new year, vow to utilize the resources at your fingertips such as the Academic Success Office and Career Services Office. Maybe you haven’t thought you’ve needed them or simply don’t think you have the time.
Get to know the career center staff! They are committed to helping you and making life a little easier in some of the following ways:
- Improve your résumé
- Tailor your cover letter to specific opportunities
- Address transcript issues
- Perfect your writing sample
- Practice interviewing
- Ask about opportunities as they actually come up randomly!
With respect to the last point, my school’s office would often get last minute openings due to students that could not take the opportunity. Sometimes just dropping by or saying hi in the hallway can lead to a position! And, if that doesn’t feel like enough, you can even seek outside resources to help you get a head start on your job search.
The Academic Success Office can help you get a head start with bar prep options, tips, and lessons learned from students that have utilized their assistance. You will also receive a wonderful support system of people rooting for you to succeed.
Some things you can do:
- Stop by and say hi
- Make an appointment
- Ask about opportunities such as review courses or presentations
- Bring copies of items you need help with, such as a job description, application, and your materials even if they are in rough draft form
- Questions and concerns no matter how silly they may seem
I will never forget visiting these offices for the first time and hearing from the staff that generally students do not utilize them until it is too late. Keep in mind that you don’t need a reason to develop a relationship and support system. When an opportunity arises, you will have people to call on that know you!
A confidence mindset for the new year can help you to go after the opportunities you didn’t think you were ready for. Come out of your shell if you struggle with that. Put yourself and your health first if you haven’t been able to do it as well before. This is your moment and chance to shine and be the best version of yourself!
Looking for some help to do your best in law school? Find out about our law school tutoring options.