New Years Resolutions: Law School Edition 2018

New Years Resolutions: Law School Edition 2018Please welcome back 2L guest writer Jaclyn Wishnia to discuss her plans for the new year and making a fresh start for spring semester.

For law students, the holiday season is often a blur. By the time finals end, there is no recuperation period, the actual holidays have arrived, and family is knocking at your door. Moments later, the new year has begun and right around the corner is spring semester. This leaves law students no time to reflect on the past year to determine what parts of their life need improving; in other words, no formation of a “New Year’s Resolution.” While this phrase commonly connotes a pledge or promise to either commit or refrain from conducting a particular action, in essence, it is simply another synonym for the term, “goal.” Since law school plays such a dominant role throughout a typical law student’s year, aside from personal resolutions, law students should also strive to create one primary law school “goal” to focus on for the year as well.

The classic law student example is always “to receive better grades,” but because that notion is already engrained in a law student’s mind, it is not a true example of a personal goal. Also, grades are based on a curve, so they cannot be controlled entirely by an individual’s will. Thus, it may be surprisingly beneficial to make a law school resolution that you personally can both track and manage yourself. The following is a list of some ideas regarding more individualized resolutions that are tailored towards law students. In 2018, I will

Attend More Networking Events

Whether you are a 1L or 3L, networking is an invaluable skillset to consistently practice. Depending on your schedule, try to set a goal by attending at least one event per month. If you happen to have more time, then adjust accordingly, and attempt to attend two for the month or even one per week. Law schools tend to host many networking events on campus, so remain alert to ones that pertain to your interests and correspond well with your course schedule. If you prefer off-site activities and want to expand your range of connections, check out some more networking ideas here.

Allocate My Time Better

Committing to law school often means another part of your life is suffering. The majority of law students struggle with juggling two external factors: their well-being and relationships unaffiliated with law school, such as outside friends or family. Mastering time management and learning how to prioritize daily assignments not only helps to balance law school scheduling issues, but also provides an opportunity to incorporate more time for leisure and personal activities, i.e. exercising; socializing with old friends. If you feel like you have been neglecting your health or ostracizing people not under your law school umbrella, then this might be a great resolution to stick to this year. Remember, law school is only three years and though it is a difficult period, managing your time efficiently can alleviate the potential risk of jeopardizing a long-term friendship or more importantly, your health.

Periodically, Reflect on Personal Aspirations

Throughout the chaos, have you lost sight of your original reasons for enrolling in law school? Then you need to start setting aside time to reflect. It does not have to be a daily regimen, but it should be often enough to remind you why you initially registered for law school. Focusing on that determining factor, which drove you to apply in the first place, will provide both a sense of purpose and remind you that law school is only a temporary state to allow you to achieve your brighter, future career aspirations. Do not allow the woes of law school to cause you to lose track of those goals!

Find a Mentor

Regardless of whether you have a clear picture of your future legal career, a mentor can be an advantageous resource to consult about navigating law school in general, providing guidance for certain career paths, and some may even be willing to introduce you to key players within their own network. Not everyone finds or feels they require a mentor in law school, but if you are unsure and think you can benefit from some outside counsel, consider working with one. If you do not have anyone, such as a former supervisor or possibly a favorite professor, ask your law school. Most law schools usually keep a list of alumni who volunteer to become mentors to oversee law student mentees’ from their former institution. If you do secure a mentor, keep in mind that they are voluntarily assisting you, which means you should treat them as a professional and be respectful of their time as well.

Learn Something New (Apart from Class Material)

Living in a law school bubble sometimes weakens prior creative interests that you used to cherish. Instead of dismissing them completely, indulge yourself by partaking in an activity that you previously enjoyed. For instance, if you miss creative writing, then put aside time to write something for yourself. If you were in the middle of brushing up on a foreign language and law school overshadowed it, then schedule a day to continue practicing those language lessons. Ideally, learning something new or returning to an old passion should be somewhat relevant to building a portfolio for your future career, but having outside interests also makes you a well-rounded individual and can serve as an intriguing talking point during interviews.

Although improving in law school is an extremely crucial resolution to make, you should treat it as a necessary imperative, which will leave open the opportunity to pledge an alternative promise that can assist in bettering yourself as a multitalented individual. Remember, regardless of whether you choose to adopt a resolution or not, the beginning of a new semester means a fresh start.


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About Jaclyn Wishnia

Jaclyn Wishnia graduated from Fordham University with a double major in Journalism and the Classics. Upon graduation, she accepted a role as a paralegal. After several years of working for both criminal and entertainment law firms, she decided to pursue her passion, to become an attorney, and enrolled in law school. She is currently a 2L at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law located in New York, NY. Additionally, she serves as a staff editor for Cardozo's Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, Treasurer of Cardozo's Entertainment Law Society, and is a student liaison for the NYS Bar EASL committee.

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