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Visiting Law Schools

Pitfalls and problems in law school

by Rachel Bangser (1L)

Law school is the beginning of a remarkable journey into a new world of academic challenges and scholarly pursuits. However, every adventure has pitfalls and problems. Having an idea of what to expect from your first year of law school will ensure that you have a strong grip on your work, your social life, and your sanity.

It’s common knowledge that law school, especially your first year, is a lot of work. If you’re anything like me however, you brush off these warnings and believe that you can march forward into the academic onslaught with your head held high. While some are able to do that, the rest of us (myself included) will need to adjust to spending a much larger amount of time devoted to reading and learn to keep on top of everything. A twenty-page reading assignment no longer takes a mere fifteen minutes to complete, and adapting your homework schedule to accommodate this is a vital skill. Learning to manage your time and stay ahead in your class readings is an asset that will set you apart during your first year.

I loved undergrad and honestly didn’t want it to end when I graduated this past May.  While I knew law school would be different from the college experience, law school is most certainly not undergrad. Law school is essentially a full-time job, and it’s vital that you treat it as such. There are a wide array of clubs and organizations to join, but it’s necessary to place your work as your first priority. That isn’t to say you can’t have fun here, though! It’s great to burn off some steam on Friday nights at a social, but realize that you’ll be back in the library on Saturday afternoon. Managing a social life in law school is a delicate balance, but once you find something that works for you – and you will – it’s an amazing feeling!

Law school is a stressful place during your first year. You’re in a new environment, with new people, while learning what is basically a new language. It’s easy to get swept away in everything, but making sure that you’re kind to yourself is one of the most important things you can do. While it’s vital to stay on top of your work, you won’t do the work well if you aren’t getting adequate sleep. Set aside a little time every week to do something you love that has nothing to do with law school ; whether it’s going for a run around the SU campus, watching a new movie, or signing up for a weekly yoga class. There’s only so much time you can spend in the library, so make sure that you get outside of the law school and find a study spot off-campus. Maintaining a healthy outlook and realistic perspective will help you mitigate stress, and getting out of the building into the fresh air can refresh your whole day. 

There’s nothing easy about law school, and even the best -prepared students will run into a few bumps during their first year. If you take things a day at a time and keep on top of your work, you’ll be able to get right back up and running.

Questions?  Find me on the Law Ambassador website.

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