How to Use Spring Break to Catch Up and Still Have Fun

How to Use Spring Break to Catch Up and Still Have FunPlease welcome back guest writer Alexandra Muskat to talk about some options for using spring break to your advantage.

First year of law school is a dramatic change from anything you’ve ever done before. For most students, the amount of work is overwhelming (I should have said “all students,” but there’s always the few that handle the workload like they’ve been asked to simply make their bed instead of clean the house, watch five kids, and make Scotch eggs in a fire pit with a flint rock and twig all at the same time). So, by the time spring break comes around, we’d like nothing more than to dive into our beds and resurface nine days later.

Unfortunately, most law schools, I think, anticipate this, and so give reading assignments over break, or schedule their midterms for just after break. During my first year of law school spring break, I was exhausted. I had been under the weather for what felt like a month and had been dealing with the death of a family member. I just wanted to sleep or fly home and see my family. Instead, I was faced with a constitutional law paper and midterm, and a torts midterm the day after break ended. So, what did I do? Well, I flew home with a seventy-pound suitcase, wrote the paper in the kitchen while everyone was at work, and studied before my Passover Seders and on the airplane to and fro.

This experience was very stressful, led to further exhaustion when school started back up again, and basically made me feel like I’d had no break at all. Which lead me to organizing all of my breaks into chunks of time I could easily manage.

Create a Schedule

Spring break is generally nine days long. Nine days is plenty of time to catch up on work and have down time to relax, but nothing makes this shift easier than having a schedule and sticking to it. Figure out which reading is due when, what tests are on which days following break, and/or who you want to see during break, the adventures you want to take, and how much sleep you think you need to feel rested at the end. Then take all this information, put it on a calendar and divvy it up.

Second year, I figured out that I study much better in the morning, needed at least eight hours of sleep a night, and wanted to visit my family and friends at least four times. I wanted to see two movies, and I wanted to spend one whole day loafing around not doing anything, ordering in, and binge-watching Parks and Rec. I made a schedule, and I stuck to it. If your work load feels overwhelming, break the tasks up into even smaller tasks, ones you can do in less than an hour, then take a break and reconvene. The point isn’t to overwhelm yourself, but to find a way to catch up on the work and feel like you had a break.

Have Fun

With your study schedule in hand, you should be able to find chunks of time to have fun. Make the most of this time. Spring break happens right before the last push for the semester, which is when teachers typically start to throw out extra reading, extra classes, and/or extra assignments.

If you like to watch movies, get tickets. If you want to see a friend, book it in advance. If you want to make time for your partner, do it. During my spring break that second year, I spent chunks of time with my godson, visited with the kids I used to nanny, and made sure to see every movie I could with my best friend.

Apply to Summer Positions

Spring break is a little late when it comes to applying to summer positions, but there is always that one firm or judge who decides they need an associate and puts up the application later in the year. Scour your law school job board and see if there is anything you’d like to apply to. Those nine days off are a great time to work on your resume, work with a recruiter for summer associate positions, or organize writing samples.

Sleep

I know that during the semester, all I thought about was sleeping. I tend to be an early bird, so getting up at 4:30/5:00 am every day was nothing new, but getting home at 6:00 pm and not wanting to, or not being able to, go to sleep until 11:00 pm, was difficult. I averaged about 5-6 hours of sleep on a daily basis, and usually spent Saturday morning studying so I could take all day Sunday off. This meant I tended to sleep in on Sunday mornings – but not too late because I wanted to be able to go to bed on time to wake up early on Monday.

By the time my breaks rolled around I was torn between sleeping 14 hours a night and not wanting to kill my early bird trend. I settled for eight to nine. I would try and go to bed earlier, or sleep in until 7:30/8:00 am. I wanted to feel rested, but I didn’t want to feel angry come Monday when I had to be up early and knew what real sleep felt like.

So, make the time to get a good night’s rest, but don’t sleep so much that you aren’t getting work done or are drastically throwing off your sleep schedule.

Spring breaks can be the most daunting time in law school. You don’t know when to study, how to study without having classes, and all you want to do is sleep and party. But, if you take the time to create a schedule that incorporates all of that, and stick to it, you’ll end up making the most of your break, catch up on assignments, and go into the end of semester push like a champ.

And honestly, depending on your course load, third-year you do what you want. I had one class and a huge judicial internship. I stacked my internship days and hours so I could take all of spring break off. I caught up on reading assignments for that one class, and I went to Iceland with my friends. The law school experience is about pivoting and making the most of your time.


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About Alexandra Muskat

Alexandra graduated from Suffolk University Law School in 2017 and passed the UBE in all 29 states, not that anyone’s counting. She has a bachelors from Florida International University in English Literature with concentrations in Psychology and Creative Writing. In edition to working on her first novel, she works part time consulting in laboratory compliance

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