Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Before Orientation Starts

There are only a few weeks left before orientation. Students are understandably anxious about what they can do to “get ready” for law school.  One thing for students to think about is to take care of all the things they can which would be an inconvenience or a distraction once school starts.  Here are some activities to consider:

• Get your oil changed.  Make sure you have reliable transportation.  Get that bus pass.  Have your car in good working condition.

• Get your teeth cleaned.  Make sure you are in good health and that your health insurance is in order.  Law school literally makes some people sick.  Get your check-ups.  Fill your prescriptions.  Have a supply of a good multivitamin.

• Make sure you have a good study space prepared in your house.  Nothing is more distracting than trying to study in the TV room while your spouse and kids are watching America’s Got Talent.  Have a place that you can retreat to which is quiet and private.  Have a space for your books and study materials. 

• Buy a thumb drive that is exclusively dedicated to law school use.  Set up files and folders for each class.  Calendar a weekly backup. Students have suffered a poor grade in class because of some IT disaster, and had no back up of important paper drafts or assignments.

• Activate your university net id account.  Get your email account set up if possible.

• Get your student photo id if possible. 

• Make sure your FASFA is in order.  Have your finances in order. 

• Read a book for pleasure. 

• See a movie. 

• Take some time to talk to your loved ones about what your life in law school will be like.  Negotiate household chores.  Stay connected to your family by contributing but have a plan for when you are extra busy with studying or a deadline.

• Read a book about law school study tips and success such as Herb Ramy’s book, Succeeding in Law School.

• Look up your school’s honor code online and read it. 

• Buy your school supplies. 

• Have lunch with a close friend.  Ask them to promise to email or call you every two weeks to check in and see how you are doing once school starts.

• Make sure your laptop is in good shape. If you don’t have one, buy one now and get it set up before school starts.  Run the antivirus program.  Buy an extra ream of copy paper and printer ink jet cartridge. 

• Update your resume. 

• Find a mentor. 

• Call your Mom. 

• Evaluate your distractors and eliminate them now– Facebook is not your friend. 

• Meet the librarians in your law library. 

• Connect with your classmates.

• Make a plan for self-care.  What will be your exercise plan?  What are your meal plans? Will you cook for yourself or do you negotiate with your partner about healthy meals?

• Buy your books, if possible.

• Know your learning style. Take the VARK.

• Meet your Academic Support Professional. Introduce yourself.  Pledge that you will attend their workshops and visit during office hours.

Hopefully, taking care of some of these items will enable students to get off to the best start possible.  (Bonnie Stepleton)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/academic_support/2014/07/before-orientation-starts.html

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