How To Have A Social Life That Doesn’t Interfere With Your Studies

How To Have A Social Life That Doesn’t Interfere With Your StudiesWe’re welcoming back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to discuss keeping a social life going, even when you’re busy in law school.

While getting to know your law school classmates is not only socially beneficial but also good for networking, socializing can easily and quickly get out of hand.

My first year of law school, I had just turned 21, and I was enjoying being legally able to join friends at local bars. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was spending too much time out on the town and not nearly enough time in the library.

I also joined study groups that spent an abundance of time chit chatting. When I was ready to get down to business, my study partners were rehashing school gossip or discussing other personal matters.

It can be challenging to find a balance between hanging out with your new law school friends while also ensuring you’re getting the most out of your tuition.

Here are a few tips to help you find that balance.

Schedule Your Time

Having a clear schedule with time designated just for studying and time for socializing can help to keep the two from interfering with each other. When you’re studying, study. When you’re having fun, have fun.

By assigning tasks in this way, you can be engrossed in studying knowing exactly when you’ll be able to kick back and relax. You’ll also be able to relax knowing exactly when you need to get serious again.

Socializing in law school really is important. Make sure to schedule your time so you can socialize without neglecting your studies.

Find Friends Who Enjoy The Same Hobbies

The older I get, the more I feel like there’s not enough time for everything I want to do. I have a marriage, two small children and a business to run. I also like to run, do yoga, and bake cakes. Not to mention laundry, lawn care, and all the other chores of maintaining a home. And, oh yeah, I’m not supposed to neglect self care. How in the world am I able to also find time for friends?

After my first semester of law school, when I realized I was socializing too much, I swung to the other extreme and hardly socialized at all. It wasn’t until my second year of law school, when I met my best friend, that I found a good balance. Part of why I found that balance was because my new friend shared a passion for running. We could socialize and run at the same time.

If you enjoy crafting, knitting, playing basketball, treasure hunting, whatever the case may be, finding friends who enjoy the same hobby allows you to enjoy a bit of down time while also connecting with friends. It maximizes your time and helps you get back to your studies refreshed and energized.

Set Boundaries

Just as combining socializing with your hobbies can be an effective way to make your time, it’s important to not let socializing creep in on your study time.

When I realized I was socializing too much, I also had to accept that staying up late doesn’t work for me. I can easily wake up at 5am to work and prefer to work early, but after a night out, getting up early to study was miserable, even for a morning person like me.

I finally decided to give up going out at night. I met my best friend for a morning run or planned lunches with friends, but I did not indulge in nights out for the majority of my law school career after my first semester. It was simply a boundary I needed to keep me balanced.

Besides going out, occasionally, you may find yourself in the library studying when a friend tries to bend your ear. Time can quickly get away from you and next thing you know, your study time is over and you haven’t finished that negligence outline or that practice exam on civil procedure.

Do what you have to do to protect your study time. If your phone is a distraction for you, put it on “do not disturb” mode. If friends dropping by your table at the library becomes a time-suck, reserve a private room and close the door or wear headphones. If all else fails, put up a sign that says anyone interrupting will be billed at your hourly rate.

This is your time and your future. It’s okay to set boundaries to protect the precious time you have set aside to study.

Remember Why You’re In Law School

There are so many fun things that can distract you from your goals in law school. Having a detailed schedule, proper boundaries and friends with similar interests can help you stay on track, but it also helps to remember why you’re in law school.

It is possible to have a balanced social life. It’s easier to balance and make the occasional sacrifice when you’re clear on why you’re working so hard in law school to begin with. Stay focused on your goals, set boundaries, and it is possible to still enjoy a social life while in law school.


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About Hillary Vaillancourt

Hillary Vaillancourt is a lawyer and writer at The Vaillancourt Law Firm, LLC. She has experience in a wide variety of matters including food law, education law, real estate law, family law, criminal law, contracts, and estate planning. She earned her JD from New England Law|Boston and is licensed in Virginia.

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