Right now it doesn’t feel real. It hasn’t sunk in that in just about a month, you will begin your first year as a law student. By now you’ve received your information on orientation or Fundamentals week, and you likely attended a new student event (or two). Before classes begin, take some time to set your priorities.

I honestly only completed these six tasks before enjoying the rest of my summer. It was hugely important to me to make sure I was ready for law school. But I didn’t go nuts trying to read everything on the suggested reading list, or dive straight into city ordinances. I mean, come on! You have time to dive into research later, for now – cover the essentials.

  1. Apply for Financial Aid + Scholarships
    • Many of you may not know this, but you may qualify for a Direct PLUS loan. It’s government Financial Aid, and comes in handy! If you need extra aid to help pay for tuition or books – check to see if you are eligible!
    • Scholarships are fewer at this level of education, but they certainly exist. Check your institution’s financial aid page for updated scholarship applications and opportunities. Looking around online isn’t a bad option either. Free money is out there, and many times scholarships go un-used. Take advantage of these opportunities!FSA-Eligibility-11.16.12
  2. Buy/Organize a Desk or Study Space
    • You need a designated place to study or get work done. This is a fact. You may not always feel like trudging up to the library to study, and your kitchen table doesn’t usually allow you the flexibility of leaving your books flayed about. This means you need a DESK! There are many affordable options, and I strongly recommend you get yourself one – quick!
    • I purchased a desk, chair, and plastic chair mat for less than $400 at Nebraska Furniture Mart. The products came mostly assembled, and were not difficult to set-up. My desk area is bright, quiet, and perfect for holding many of my study materials at a time. That said, I had to purchase an additional book shelf and wall shelf to accommodate my 1L books and supplies.
    • I also recommend you get a desk lamp. My boyfriend surprised me with a wonderful one, which I mentioned  HERE.IMG_9686IMG_9763
  3. Set a Schedule
    • If you already know your class schedule (and, you should) – then take a few minutes to organize your planner. If you don’t have a planner, use your computer/phone/google to get your digital calendar prepared.
    • Block off time for class, then block off study time. Next, block off time for meals, family, and grocery runs.
    • I suggest you add your family members to your calendar, this way they are aware of what you’re tasks are and know when it’s ok to try and call or steal you away for a movie night.
  4. Rent Textbooks
    • Why buy books when you can rent them? I considered purchasing them for my first semester, but opted to rent (when the rental was cheaper). My favorite site for comparing book prices is BIGWORDS.
      • Type in the ISBN of the book you need, and then select the best option for your wallet. Read the reviews from the seller before choosing an option. I’ve had great luck with timely and affordable rental options, always delivered to my door. 🙂
  5. Buy School Supplies
    • oh.my.GOSH.bestday
    • Buying new school supplies is one of my all-time fave things!
    • Pens, pencils, highliters, post-its….you’ll use them ALL! Everything’s on sale, and you (most definitely) will run through multiple packs of each item. Stock up now, while you have time!
  6. Relax + Meet Incoming Students (Your New Friends!)
    • You will gain nothing from reading ahead. I repeat, NOTHING.
    • Even though you think you know how to read and write well – the fact is, you have no clue how to brief a case or wade through legal concepts. Which means there’s no point in using up your precious down time, before the mayhem begins, trying to get ahead of your classmates.
      • By all means, read cases your professors ASSIGN. But, do not go beyond that scope. This year is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself, young padawan – “burnout” is real.
    • Meet up with some newbies for coffee, or dinner! I felt much more confident walking into orientation week knowing I had a few friends in the mix. We met for sushi a few weeks before class, and asked each other all kinds of “baby questions” like – where’d you find the class schedule? Or, what are you thinking of wearing for day 1? Are you actually going to brief any cases?
      • You’ll love having this built-in support system, so reach out and meet people! It’ll make orientation week much more memorable. <3



Trust me when I say that you need to enjoy this time. Your 1L is coming up fast, and it will be stressful. Get yourself in the proper mindset for classes, with this list. You’ll thank me for it later.