Finals are officially over and that means another semester of law school is officially finished! Many people plan on focusing on getting jobs, internships, summer classes, etc. However, I believe it is VERY important to find a way to de-stress during this time in between semesters as well. Law school will test your mentality every single day, whether it is the one class you find yourself struggling in, an internship or clerkship that takes away time from studying for classes, or any other time consuming activity that takes away the little time in the day you have to focus on reading cases and writing briefs. But when do you have time to focus on yourself? I love to find time right before a new semester to give myself a physical, emotional, and mental cleansing, and this is personally how I do it, by making lists and following through with them!
My first new habit is to update my planner and check my email every single day, if not multiple times a day. Staying on top of emails was a problem for me this semester because I took a gap year after graduating from my undergraduate, so checking emails was not very important. Even during undergraduate, it was not the end of the world if you missed an email. Law school on the other hand, if you miss an email, you may have missed an assignment, a deadline, an interview, etc. Missing an email and not updating your planner could have you miss out on many important opportunities and in law school taking every opportunity you can get to gain experience and make connections is very important. Keeping up with all of the clubs you join during 1L is tough between fundraisers, general meetings, community service, it may be just as time consuming as class itself.
My next new habit is sticking to a study schedule. Each semester, after the first two weeks, I sat down and made a study schedule based on how much time I spent on preparing for class, starting an outline, and writing case briefs. After I get a sense of how much time I spend, I make a study schedule so I’m not stuck procrastinating on homework and having to skim through a reading causing me to be be unprepared for class. I found a study schedule on Pinterest and have stuck to it ever since (the following schedule below). Other than sticking to the schedule, I plan on keeping a running list of questions for office hours with professors or teaching assistants.
Monday: Complete Tuesday class reading.
Tuesday: Complete Wednesday class reading.
Wednesday: Complete Thursday class reading.
Thursday: Complete Friday class reading.
Friday: Fill in outlines.
Saturday: Relax! (ME DAY!)
Sunday: Complete Monday class reading.
My worst habit I have learned to work with was procrastination. I have learned to make mini deadlines for big projects, so that I no longer procrastinate. As long as I meet every mini-deadline, my project/paper will be done days before the deadline. I not only work on procrastinating on school work, but also on life itself. The thing I procrastinate on the most is laundry. Instead of letting it pile up, I do laundry every Saturday. The way I fixed this bad habit, was by making one big to do list and breaking it down into little tasks. Every Sunday I update my planner and work on the mini tasks throughout the week. Therefore, if I have any downtime, I am able to work on future tasks for the week!
Lastly, and I find the most important is keeping a habit of keeping in touch with all of the relationships I have made. When I first started law school, I stopped talking to family and friends as much, and even though my boyfriend and I live together, I feel like I was basically glued to a computer screen (Thanks to the University of Zoom). I was always too tired to grab lunch or go out for a drink after a long week of class, and a few relationships were damaged and one was even damaged beyond the ability of repair. However, this brought me to realize that I am now an adult and this is not just college anymore. This is law school, a professional graduate school, and it was time to grow up, build relationships, and maintain the one’s worth keeping. I actually have set up to have a “going out” night every other week during the school year to go on a date night or to go out with friends. I also like to set up two days a week to reach out to immediate family to update them with school and life. Sometimes it is tough to maintain relationships when you are so focused on school work and being the best student you can. However, your friends and family are your backbone and your support system and will understand when times get tough and you need your space. However, don’t shut them in the closet and leave them in the dark. Update them, even if it is a simple text!
I believe that law school is tough mentally and emotionally. But, if you take the steps to stay organized and create healthy and productive habits, every semester can be exactly how you want it to be!
Happy Summer All! Relax, Take a Deep Breath, and Sleep In!