First Week of Law School? Take a Deep Breath

Walking into your first law school class can be an exciting and daunting experience (hopefully more of the former). If you are starting classes this fall, buckle your seatbelt, and take a deep breath.

Law school is a different animal

Whether you took five years off to become the next Steven Spielberg after law school or juts finished undergrad three months ago, law school will be an adjustment. Reading and preparing for law school class is much different than preparing for an undergrad class.

The reading takes longer, makes no sense 50% of the time, and professors tend to ask questions that have nothing to do with the reading. I can still remember spending 45 minutes trying to read two pages of my property law book first week (frankly, I still have no idea what the case was about).

You will adjust and it will get easier

The good news is that you adjust and it will get easier. It will not always take 20 minutes per page of reading. You will find ways to get summaries of the cases before you read them (hint: look online or ask elder law students for outlines). Professors will always ask strange questions, but you will learn to always start an answer with “it depends.”

Give it some time

Having a rough first week does not mean you should drop out. Find a study group, talk to academic advisers, ask your professors for help. For the most part, the key to academic success in law school is developing a study method that works for you, which takes time to get right.

If you like to study by yourself–do it. If a study group helps–go for it. If you read summaries on Wikipedia, skim the reading, and take awesome class notes–stick to that.

Whatever your method, compare the end of your second week to the end of your first week, and you will almost undoubtedly feel better.

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