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Breaking Up with Law School

Man sobbing in the shower

The results are in. Four years of paper cuts, sweat, tears, highlighters and sticky tabs later, your law degree is complete.

So…now what?

For those of us lucky enough to have time off before embarking on our next adventure (read: a boring full-time job), the holidays are a perfect opportunity to start the personal growth process commonly associated with a relationship breakdown. And let’s face it – you and law school have been way more than friends with benefits.

Get some sleep

Some students manage to finish their exams and fall into a 14-hour coma, only roused by the smell of coffee and that anxiety-inducing nightmare where you find out that you’ve slept through your exam. Others – like me – are incapable of relaxing until you are definitely, absolutely sure that supplementary exams aren’t in the picture.

Either way, there has never been a better time to catch up on 4 years of sleep deprivation after your degree is done and dusted. Learn some good habits that don’t involve all nighters (Netflix-related or otherwise) and you’re already halfway to a less coffee-dependent lifestyle. This is all the more important for those about to enter the workforce – full-time work redefines the word ‘tired’, so taking action now will save you a huge headache down the track.

Read a book (that’s not a textbook)

I don’t know about you, but whenever I picked up a novel to read on the bus, I felt intensely guilty that I wasn’t reading my corporate law textbook instead. For the first time in a long time, you can now read whatever you please guilt-free, whether that be John Grisham’s latest or the rom-com you stealthily ordered online. Learn to read again - really read and not skim – and put down that highlighter!


If you have the time and the budget, the break between finishing university and starting a graduate position is the perfect time to see the world. Even if you’re already clerking, I would definitely recommend negotiating some time off to travel – most firms are comfortable with this at the start of your career, especially during the quieter seasons. You’re not likely to get this much time off again until you switch jobs or take long-service leave, so use it well.

Break your bad habits

I’d like to say that I graduated law school a picture of health, but one thing’s for sure – 4 years of too-frequent coffee breaks, post-tutorial glasses of wine and a penchant for croissants left my body a little worse for wear. Summer body jokes aside, the holidays are a great time to bin the bad habits you picked up during law school (Red Bull vending machine, I’m looking at you). The other great benefit of your imminent introduction to full-time work is the stable pay – it’s time to leave the mi goreng where it belongs, and learn what it means to be healthy again.

Good luck!

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