You’ve heard the jokes. You’ve seen the exhaustion on the faces of senior students. But what happens when it’s your first day at law school? Whether you’re headed to USC or somewhere else entirely, here are just a few suggestions for surviving the most intense academic experience of your life.
Be Meticulously Organized for Law School
You can’t afford to slack off in law school, so forget about the days when you just stuffed your notes in your bag or haphazardly saved files across a bunch of different flash drives. You’ll need to be much more organized to make it through the kind of course load that’s coming your way!
Study Every Day
Studies have shown that cramming isn’t good for long-term memory retention. If you’re serious about beating dates and facts into your brain, you’ll need a more consistent study schedule. Try to look at your notes every single day, even if it’s just to glance through them as a kind of revision technique. You’ll absorb more information that way.
Focus on Your Specialty
You’ll need more than a vague goal like “get an LLM” to succeed at law school. Focus on specific classes, clubs and internships that will get you ahead in your field of choice. For example, if you plan on becoming a judge, your course load should look different than a prospective personal injury attorney’s.
Talk to Your Professors
Don’t be afraid to stay after class if you have questions for your professors. Not only will this ensure that you always understand the material, but it can also serve as a potential networking opportunity. Your professor might remember your name and face the next time that they need an intern.
Consider Online Courses
If you’re unable or unwilling to learn in a traditional classroom environment, think about supplementing your degree with online courses. They’ll teach you the same material that you’d learn during your lecture, but you’ll be able to absorb it at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home.
Improve Your Test-Taking Abilities
Law school has a lot of tests, so if you’re not great at them, you’ll find the next few years very difficult indeed. Learn how to handle the pressure of exams so that you can face them confidently and efficiently. Take up meditation. Get some practice with sample exams.
Hermits who hide in the library all day don’t turn into well-adjusted legal professionals. Get out of the classroom; join a student association or study group; hit the bar with your new friends after a particularly grueling test. Reach out to other law students to give and offer support as you all struggle towards a degree together.
Take a Break
Last but certainly not least, don’t be afraid to take an afternoon off every now and then. Your brain is a muscle just like your biceps, and it should be rested after strenuous activity in the same way. Besides, you’ll feel calmer and more focused after you’ve had a break, and that will lead to a better overall academic performance.
Law school is no joke, especially if you’re aiming for good grades and plentiful employment opportunities when you graduate. Use these tips to help you survive all of your late-night study sessions!
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