Friday, July 7, 2017
The summer is speeding along. Many of our incoming first-year students have now had a few weeks of rest from the undergraduate academic slog, have settled into summer jobs, and are thinking about their upcoming start in law school. These pre-1Ls are wondering what they should be doing to prepare for law school. Here are some thoughts for their next 5-6 weeks:
- Practice critical reading every day. There will be prodigious amounts of reading in law school. By reading regularly throughout the summer, students can prepare themselves for that constant reading. Summer reading does not need to include any legal books or other laborious material, but it should be reading to understand rather than mere scanning of text. Ask questions about what you read. Summarize the key points as you read. Read a variety of things to strengthen your reading "muscles."
- Practice critical thinking every day. Lawyers are trained to look at both sides of an issue, to ask questions about material, and to delve beyond the surface. During the summer, critically think about the news stories you read/watch, the content you find on the Internet, the logic of what you hear/say. For example, listening to news programs with entirely different points of view will help you look at both sides of a story. (By the way, critical thinking is not the same as arguing or debating with everyone.)
- Get into a healthy exercise routine: walking, swimming, running, yoga, gym workouts. You want your body to be at its best when you start school. And you want to have an exercise routine that you can practice in moderation during the semester.
- Spend time with your family and friends. You will be very busy during law school. It will not be possible to go home every weekend and keep up with your studies. Spend quality time now with those who are important to you.
- Make a list of the reasons you are studying law and what you want to accomplish after law school with your degree. The list can come in handy during the semester to remind you of your goals when you are tired of reading cases, memorizing black letter law, and completing practice questions. Staying motivated will be important.
- Get excited about law school. The study of law is challenging, but also exhilarating. You will be surrounded by bright people who will encourage you to be at your intellectual best. You will learn concepts, policies, and intricacies that you never knew existed. You will stretch yourself mentally unlike in any other experience. You will look back at the end of your first year with astonishment at how much you learned and accomplished in just 10 months.
Best wishes for the remainder of summer! Soak up some sun. Laugh and have fun. Look forward to a new adventure. (Amy Jarmon)