Law school can be an overwhelming jumble of convoluted readings, hard-to-find ratios, computer crashes and late nights, but there are heaps of things you can do to ensure that your law school experience is awesome, and not awful. Here are my top ten tips for how to survive law school…
1. Go to Classes
That means every lecture and every tutorial. It might sound obvious, but after week three, you’ll find yourself wanting to skip a few tutorials and lectures. Try to avoid this for as long as you can. You will engage more and learn better as a result, which means better grades.
Also, don’t miss the last class before assessments/exams – hints about how to approach the assignment or what topics are on the exam are often shared in these lectures and tutorials.
2. Write your notes on a weekly basis
Make the time to do your notes after each class before you lose motivation and your scrawls about director’s duties lose their meaning. By writing up all your notes each week, your revision notes will be ready to go by the end of semester. You’ll be the smug student calmly studying while your peers rush around you in the library trying to prepare their notes in time for exams.
3. Get to know your teachers
Take the time to introduce yourself to your lecturers and tutors. Have a chat with them and build a rapport. Once they know you’re name you’ll probably get called on in class a lot more regularly, but you’ll find it so much easier to approach them when you’re grappling with a tricky concept.
4. Be involved
Join the cultural clubs, sporting teams and student associations at your university. It’s a great escape from study and you’ll also meet tons of new friends along the way. (Extra-curricular activities don’t look too bad on your CV, either).
5. Go to law events
Whether it’s a legal careers info session, a guest speaker/panel discussion or an industry event, these are great opportunities to learn what working in the profession is about. Go forth and network!
6. Watch your budget
Take a packed lunch and try and have at least your first coffee of the day at home. All those ‘little’ daily expenditures add up. If you pay $4 for a coffee each day you’re at uni, you would probably spend more than if you bought your own coffee machine!
7. Student discounts
Your student card is the key to a world of discounts. It’s not just cheap movie tickets and public transport discounts – plenty of businesses offer cheaper prices for students. If you’re not sure, just ask!
8. Don’t neglect your friends and family
They want to see you and spend time with you, and by taking a break to spend time with your loved ones, you’ll reduce your stress levels and come back to your constitutional law readings feeling motivated and refreshed. Plus, being a law school hermit is no fun.
9. Find what you enjoy and do it
Figure out how to balance your work/study/other commitments/life early in the semester. Exercising, reading a book, going to the beach, playing with your pet, watching a movie – always set aside some time for yourself to do something that you enjoy.
10. Be yourself!
Law school is hectic enough without worrying about projecting an image. Just be yourself and the rest becomes easier.
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