Friday, May 17, 2019
Congratulations first-year students! You made it through a grueling year. Law school is a long and exhausting process. The semesters are draining, and everyone feels burned out at the end of each year. Many people could not make it through this intellectual, emotional, and sometimes even physical battle. You should congratulate yourself because making it through is an accomplishment. Optimism will help you successfully continue this journey through the next 2-3 years.
For now, FORGET YOUR FINALS. You turned in your answers, and at this point, you can’t change anything you wrote. Talking to other students will only stress you out, and many times, your classmates are wrong. No one writes perfect answers. You can miss issues and still receive reasonable grades. Even if you missed entire questions, you still can’t change it. Don’t worry, your grades will be out soon enough. Take this time to relax and hopefully gain experience.
The focus now should be on what to do during the summer. My suggestions for the summer are:
1. Gain Experience. If you can't find a paid internship, volunteer somewhere. No only do you gain valuable legal experience, you will also see the law in action. Learning science indicates that we remember information better and longer if we understand context. Helping litigate a personal injury case, working on a contract, and helping with a real estate transaction can provide context to solidify first year knowledge.
2. Make connections. I encourage everyone to make connections inside and outside the legal field. Spend time with friends and family. Make new friends, and enjoy time away from the law school. Also, make connections with practitioners. You should attend events with both new and experienced attorneys.
3. Read a book for pleasure. You probably didn't get to read for pleasure the past year, so read something fun during the summer.
4. Read a book for improvement. You made it through the first year and understand what law school requires. Spend a little time thinking about where you can improve. Grab a good book to help improve in that area. Your Academic Success professor at your law school can give you some ideas. I also suggest reading books about how we learn, make habits, and persevere. I love the books Grit, Make it Stick, and Atomic Habits.
5. Take a break. The most important piece of advice is to take a break and breath. The academic calendar is packed. August will be here fast, so take a moment to breathe. Rest will be invaluable.
Law school is tough, and not everyone can do it. Celebrate that you made it, and enjoy your summer.