How to Survive Your First Year of Law School

survive law school

The first year of law school is the most brutal year of school any law school student has ever experienced. Period. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and that you’re going to die. Just keep these three tips in mind as you make your way through that first year.

Survival Tip #1: Don’t Lose your Head

The hardest thing about law school is that it’s completely different from any other school you’ve ever participated in. You’re going to be forced to look at the whole world differently. To put it another way, just about everything you’ve learned in college up to this point gets thrown out the window.

You’ll be forced to analyze problems differently. Shoot, you’re even going to watch movies and read fiction differently. That’s just part of life at law school, and, frankly, it can get kind of stressful. So, while it’s all going to be at least a little bit overwhelming and stressful, remember, you signed up for it and it gets way easier after that first year is over.

Survival Tip #2: Don’t Study Every Day

You’re going to need to take some time off every week. There are going to be one or two, maybe even three, students that decide they are never going to take time off. Some people call those guys gunners. I call them dummies.

Studying at every spare moment is a recipe for disaster. You’re asking to get burned out. Trust me when I say you don’t want to be burned out. Remember, law school is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re going to have three years of law school, which means you’ll have three years of studying. Don’t try and do all of it at once. You’ll hate yourself for it later.

Instead, you need to pick a day of the week where you get some down time. It could be a morning, night, or even a complete day. You just need to consistently have that break. Calendar it if you need to.

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Survival Tip #3: Remember … Everyone is in the Same Boat

Before you start comparing yourself to everyone else in your class, remember this one thing: they are in the same boat as you. They’ve never been to law school before and they are struggling with the same issues that you are. So, when you have that moment when you feel like the whole world is caving in, and that everyone else is getting it except you, remember that’s not true!

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  • Randall

    Randall earned his JD from the University of Denver in 2013. He received his BA in Communications and Social Science from the University of Washington in 2010. Randall took the LSAT twice, and managed to improve his score by 14 points the second time around. He paid the price of learning to score high on the LSAT and hopes to help other potential law students avoid similar pain.

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