law school has picked back up into full swing. walking through the hallway, i can pick out what class year people are just by their facial expression.
it’s kind of funny. in the most-law-students-are-assholes kind of way.
by now, it seems as though everyone has given advice on how to survive law school. i’ve avoided it because different things work for different people. but i think i’ll chime in now. you know what they say about opinions: just like assholes, everybody has one. so here’s mine (opinion, not asshole – i’m keeping my butt to myself).
gem #1: set a schedule.
in law school, it’s so easy to overstudy. there’s always more to read, outline, understand. you’ll drive yourself nuts (and to an early grave) if you can’t learn how to relax. so set a schedule.
rule of thumb: for each hour in class, study three hours. for your typical three credit course, that means 9 hours of study per week (plus time spent in class). read and outline and once the timer runs out, you’re done–walk away. it sucks at first because how long it takes to read. but if you’re disciplined about it, you’ll get better, faster, and have some free time.
i don’t follow a schedule like that anymore because i know how to get the grades i want now. but my schedule did me wonders as a 1L.
gem #2: have fun.
law school is, presumably, what you’ve wanted to do for a long time. welp, you’re here, so enjoy it. stop freaking out about the socratic method and outlining and everything you need to do and have fun. for goodness sake, the kid has hair growing out of his palm! if you can’t have fun with that, you’re just boring.
gem #3: be frugal.
this shit ain’t monopoly money. if you’re like most students, you’ll graduate in the 6-figure indebtedness range into a terrible job market. so maybe think about whether you really need these new shoes or whether it would be better to save it.
gem #4: read above the law.
and do so with a grain of salt. ATL is the legal profession. they post stories about biglaw, law schools, gossip, and all things law. 99% of the commenters are total douchetrucks, but this is your world now, get used to it.
gem #5: find your niche and grow with it.
law school is cynical, degrading, and frustrating. find a field that makes you happy. be it the federalist society, running club, international law society, or whatever, find something that intellectually fulfills you.
gem #6: do something completely unrelated to law school.
i joined junior league, one friend has a bible study, another friend helps coach the undergrad lax team. whatever it is, make sure you have something outside of law school.
gem #7: do what works for you.
Sheila Second Year says you must outline in arial with purple headings and orange tabs? screw her – do it your way. listen to everyone’s advice, think about what works, what is silly, and then make it work for you. i’m an early riser, but 5am wakeup calls aren’t for everyone.
gem #8: stop thinking about undergrad.
if you went straight from undergrad to law school like i did, you’re going to be tempted to compare. STOP. college was spectacular, law school is not. parties here won’t be like frat parties. thirsty thursdays will likely become a relic of the past. your grades and accomplishments there mean nothing here (you hear me Gunner Joe? no one gives a shit).
but remember, you get what you pay for. so take my advice (and anyone’s for that matter) for what it’s worth.