As summer comes to a close, you might be wondering what you should do in your last bit of free time leading up to law school. While it may be tempting to try to get ahead on learning the law or read about how to take exams, there are probably some ways to better make use of your final few weeks of freedom. For many students, the most important thing will be to relax and get organized, so that you can start classes with a calm mindset. Below are a few things to consider doing in the month before law school.
Cultivate Healthy Habits
The time leading up to law school is a great time to get some healthy habits in place. Once school begins, it will be far more difficult to find the time to form new habits, so starting now is definitely something you should focus on! Healthy sleep, eating and exercise habits will be imperative to your success and happiness in law school. Do your best to try to form healthy sleep habits (at least 7 hours each night), and if you know you have problems sleeping see a doctor before classes begin. It is also not a bad idea to think about what you will eat. Once things get busy, it is really easy to fall into a takeout habit, which can be pricey and less healthy than a homemade alternative. Spend some time finding healthy and easy recipes now, and you will likely be much happier when classes begin.
Spend Time with Friends and Family
Not to be a downer here, but the time that you have before law school begins is probably the last period of truly free time you’ll have for a while. I am certainly not saying that you’ll never have free time again, but it is likely it will be awhile before you have truly free time again. Take advantage of this and spend it with your loved ones. Now is also a great time to explain to your family and friends what they can expect from you once classes start, so that no one is blindsided by the fact that you have very little free time.
Read for Leisure
Again, I’m not suggesting that you will never have time to read a book for fun again – but it might be awhile, depending on your own particular study schedule. These last few weeks before classes begin are a great time to pick up a book to read for pure enjoyment. Some students may be inclined to read books about law school, and if that is what will make you feel best about starting law school then by all means go for it. However, I don’t think I would call reading about law school a “must-do” item. It can be highly valuable to begin law school feeling refreshed and ready to tackle an intense workload, and doing some enjoyable reading may help you to relax and reset before school begins.
Get Yourself Settled in Your New City
Many students are probably shifting their living situation somehow, even if it isn’t anything too extreme. Taking some time before school begins to orient yourself to your new living situation or city can help make your first few weeks of law school much smoother. Make sure you know how you’ll get to school, and how long it will take. Also, make sure you know where things like grocery stores, gyms, and drugstores are located so that there is no confusion or added stress the first time you need to run an errand! If you’re new to an area, it also may not be a bad idea to try to meet a few people, classmates or not. Having some people around that you can reach out to with questions can help make your transition much easier.
Make a Schedule
While I don’t necessarily recommend trying to get ahead on classes before school starts, it wouldn’t hurt to map out an idea of what your schedule will look like ahead of time. Usually, you’ll have your class schedule a few weeks before classes start, so you can get an idea of how your days will be laid out. Take some time to map out when your classes are, and where you can block out chunks of time to do your reading. From there, try to identify times where you can cook dinner, exercise, and sleep. Being familiar with your schedule can help you make sure that you set aside time to study and take care of yourself.
Get Your Books and Supplies
This one may seem obvious, but try to get your books and supplies ahead of time so that you’re not scrambling once first-day assignments come out. Getting books ahead of time can often save you some money, as you will have time to compare prices at different retailers rather than just buying everything from the school bookstore. You also may find there are options to gain access to e-books and other online study tools that can be helpful as a new law student. As far as supplies go, consider what study methods work for you. If you prefer hand writing notes, go for notebooks. If you prefer to type notes, consider looking for a type of note-taking software that will help keep you organized.
Starting law school can be both an exciting and a nerve-wrecking experience. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make sure your last few weeks set you up for success.
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