I want to tell you all the secrets. Law school will create moments in your daily life where your soul is crushed. Everything may suck, and you’ll remember this advice (which you skimmed, but really should have read in great detail.
Here’s the advice that counts, matters, and may quite possibly save you a load of heartache.
No one likes a know it all.
Especially when you’re the type to rub someone’s face in it.
Don’t be the jerkwad gunner (law school term for ass-hat), continuously answering questions in class, and adding in your two cents everywhere. No one cares how smart you seem. So, when you’re interacting with your peers, behave like you’ve got some manners. Be kind. Work hard. You won’t have anything to worry about.
Check your ego on day one.
No one gives a damn about what you did in undergrad or your masters programs. I actually met a guy at school who said this to me, after I shook his hand to introduce myself: “Yeah, I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to be the best.”
Law school is a new ball game. If you go into it with an ego, law school will check that ego for you. It will hurt. Do yourself a favor, and lend advice to others when your experiences might be useful. Once you get to know your peers, feel free to let your ego into more conversations (at your own risk, of course). But, don’t you dare tell people how great you are all the time. Let your work speak for itself.
Don’t live off coffee, pizza, and chili cheese fries.
You’re about to spend a butt-load of time studying, talking yourself into studying, and reviewing the notes you made while studying. Truly, it’s a crazy amount of studying. There will be many breaks (usually sponsored by the law school) where free food is provided. Law school is expensive, which means we pinch pennies and fall prey to the free food…so we can afford happy hour drinks.😅 With that in mind, make sure to maintain a workout plan. Adding alcohol to the free food will result in an increased waistline. [You’ve been warned.]
Everyone will stress this to you, and you won’t listen. But the fact is – outlining as you go, SAVES TIME! Studying for finals with your own outline is comforting, particularly since you’ll have put the time in reading and briefing. In the same vein as prepping for class, hold off on study groups. You might find that you mesh with people in conversation, but not in study groups It may sound harsh, but no one will take it personally [if you’re not a jerk about it]. I have some great friends that are perfect brunch-buddies, but we don’t learn the same way at all! Therefore, we don’t study together. We’d drive each other crazy!
Pro-tip: You can always share study materials with your peers, but I’d recommend only sharing with those you trust. It’s a small number of those who get the materials I work on, and a small number of those who share their materials with me. Don’t be upset if someone doesn’t offer their study materials – you need to earn that privilege.
Take care of yourself.
Trust me when I say, it’s easier said than done. Be sure to take days off, maintain relationships, work out, and keep doing the things that bring you joy. These are essential to surviving and thriving in law school. You can definitely make it to spin class, or go rock climbing, without needing to worry about slacking.Those books will still be there after an hour yoga class. They kind of apparate to wherever you are. Studying follows you everywhere. But, it’s of utmost importance to remember the reason you decided to attend law school. It’s a consuming process, and it will attempt to define how spectacular you are based on numbers, clubs, and awards. It’s stressful. Make the freak out a bit easier on yourself by knowing the best ways to unwind.
Avoid Taking Summer Classes.
One of my favorite professors said that it’s important to take breaks, and that any 1L would be stupid to take summer classes. Several of my peers ignored her. They regret it. Trying to intern and attend a full load of classes is madness. Avoid adding unnecessary stress to your life, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. There’s plenty of time in your legal career to experience burn-out, no need to encourage the feeling in law school.
Your 1L year is important. Take it seriously, but not so serious that you’re the Boo Radley of the 1L class. You need friends to make it through, and there’s not a long, novel-length of time for them to develop a deep love for your presence. First impressions count!
Work Hard + Be Kind. You’ve got three years ahead of you – make the best of it, friends.