The dog days of summer are over, which means the dog days for first-year law students are just around the corner.

The first year of law school is unique and arduous experience. For many law students, adjusting to the rigors of law school during the first month is the hardest part. Here are some tips to ease the transition and put you on the path experiencing law school success.

Hang in there, it will get easier

I will never forget spending two hours trying to read a four-page property case during my first week. Because the case was old, real old, I spent most of that time trying to figure out what the heck was going on.

Fortunately, after the first week or so, you will not read many cases that originated on a different continent. On top of that, you will learn how to read cases and digest them much faster. Every student has their own study techniques, but you will become much more efficient in your readings and class prep.

Don’t believe the hype

I can remember thinking that everyone who talked in class was a genius and that I must be a complete moron. Don’t fall for the hype. Sure, some people make some great points in class. Others just like to hear themselves talk. Just because somebody nailed the reasoning of one case does not mean they are light years ahead of your understanding of that class.

In addition, design your studying around what works for you. Your classmates who go out and party every night, yet make seemingly brilliant comments in class or a study group are probably a bit behind in their studies. At the same time, don’t assume that the student who claims to have spent 12 hours at the library is guaranteed academic success—they probably spent half that time on Facebook.

In other words–have some faith in yourself and live in a little bubble. You are probably in better shape than you realize. Try not to freak yourself out by comparing your efforts to your classmates.

Remember the real world

Don’t forget that the world still exists: you still have friends from before law school, you still have a family, and exercise and social activities are good for you. You can still be successful in law school (and after) while maintaining a healthy balance.

I admit that my social life took a dive, but I still took time to go to the gym and relax after class everyday. Allowing yourself to get away from the rigors and drama of law school will pay dividends in the long run.

Hang in there–you will survive!

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshfassbind/4565556323/)