I actually had no idea that spring break existed in law school until after the first semester was over, and I finally looked at the academic calendar for the spring. When I realized that we had an entire week off, I felt a complete wave of relief come over me because I knew how valuable it would be to have that time to re-charge and catch up on school, and on my life. Whether you have a vacation planned or want to utilize the time to study, balancing some time to relax with preparing for the remainder of the semester can help you re-charge before the last few weeks of the semester.
Schedule Plenty of Down Time
For those of you who have some sort of trip planned, this part should hopefully be easy as you’ll be far removed from the reality of school for the week. For those of you who don’t have any travel plans, it can be tempting to think that you should just take advantage of the time off and spend the week studying. However, this probably isn’t the best idea. For whatever reason, the spring semester can feel even harder than the fall. Many people may feel a bit burned out, and oftentimes you will have more work to do on a day-to-day basis. For example, your professors may be assigning slightly more reading because they figure you’re more familiar with how to read cases at this point. At some schools you may even have an entire extra class in your schedule. As a result, most people are probably feeling tired or burned out by now, so scheduling in at least a couple of days of rest can really help you re-charge so that you can carry some momentum through the end of the semester.
Catch up on Outlining and Other Work
While having some time off to rest over spring break is most definitely crucial, you should also be realistic about the things that do still need to get done. Because the spring semester can be generally a bit busier on a daily basis than the fall semester, it’s very easy to wind up slightly behind on things like outlining and doing practice questions. Fortunately, spring break gives you a bit of a reprieve from the daily grind so that you have some time to catch up on these things. There usually isn’t a whole lot of time left in the semester after the break, so taking some time to get your outlines up-to-date will probably greatly reduce your stress later in the semester. This way, the first half of the semester is taken care of and you can continue to update them as you complete the remainder of your topics, saving you a ton of stress later. In addition, this is definitely a good time to do some practice questions. This is a great way to test your outlines and identify any areas that you may need to get some additional help with well before exams.
Look Ahead to the Rest of Your Semester
At most schools, there really isn’t all that much time left until the end of the semester after you get back from break (which is exciting and terrifying at the same time). If you haven’t already, now is a great time to sit down with a calendar and see where any major assignments or exams fall in the second half of your semester. Having a visual representation of where your major tasks fall can really help you focus on where you need to spend your time in the coming weeks to make sure everything gets done, and that you’re ready for exams. Make sure you consider things like when you have legal writing assignments due, and work backwards from the due date, as those will typically take a lot of your time. Of course, be sure to include exams so that you can see how many days you have for reading period, and how many days you have between exams. It may also be helpful to identify when you need to have your outlines done for each class so that you can move on to practice questions leading up to the exam.
Take Care of Lingering Life Tasks
Once the semester starts, the volume of work and lack of free time can easily lead to neglect of other areas of life that don’t involve law school. With a week off mid-semester, you might be able to take care of some of those necessary errands or tasks that get neglected during the semester. For example, now is probably a good time to schedule doctors appointments, file your taxes or clean out your apartment. Things will pick up momentum pretty quickly after spring break, so taking care of some of these things during your time off will help prevent them from being put off until the summer.
Using your spring break to re-charge and catch up on things can help the end of your semester be far less stressful than it would otherwise be. Taking some time to relax is incredibly important, but also be sure to keep in mind what needs to be done to keep your work on track heading into the last few weeks of classes.
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