how to survive first year of law school

Here are the bullet points I rattle off unsolicited advice to law school-bound acquaintances. Part 1 of something ? Who knows, this is mostly scattershot wisdom at its finest.

Never lose perspective. Though the law-school culture is one of the most poisonous academic environments in existence, try to keep your world in perspective. You’re just in school; no one’s life is on the line (read: it’s not med school); the minutiae of law school is surprisingly meaningless (“omg, you use what color highlighter?”).

Have a stress outlet. You need a regular activity that you can rely on to recharge your batteries. Pick something: chess, kickboxing, some bizarre amalgam of chess and boxing, squash, slashing orcs on the plains of Minalegaard, I don’t care. Carnal outlets are also absolutely acceptable, provided it’s not too rash or gives you a rash.

Covet your significant other. If you are dragging a serious girlfriend/boyfriend, wife/husband, or some post-modern analogue with you into your first-year of law school, treasure them, deare god. First year, you will not have much time for friends or family, so having a soothing voice in your ear in those 8.12 minutes of spare time at home is always good for morale. They might also bake warm brownies, or send packets of highlighters, or cook lunch everyday, or any of the other batshit insane tokens of affection I have envied from afar. If you are single, prepare for the emotion bio-dome.

Never ask what another student is doing. This is probably the most useful, novel piece of advice on this list, whereas the other items are just general, hippie bullshit. The truth is that every student has their own method of operation, rituals, and study habits. If you ask another student which assignment they are doing or how far along on their brief they are, their answer, combined with the competitive culture of law school, will make you feel like a slacker turd, incomplete, inadequate, a loser. “Me? Oh I’m just re-reading next week’s assignment because I think I missed something the first 3 times.” “This? Oh I always like to print my 20-page appellate briefs on eqyptian-cotton bond paper. I think the clear plastic cover adds the right touch of professionalism.” “Hm? I’m just outlining some extra sources the professor mentioned in his office hours this morning.” Just work at your own pace. If someone asks you what are you doing, of course, exaggerate through your teeth.

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