What I Wish I Thought of a Month Before Law School

What I Wish I Thought of a Month Before Law SchoolThis week we welcome back guest writer Zoila Sanchez to discuss what she would have done the month before she started law school, if she had known then what she knows now!

Congratulations on committing to a law school program that you will start very soon! It may feel like a crazy time, with many logistics that need to get done before you begin school.

Aside from the to-do list, here are some potential things to consider—which I personally wish I knew—before law school officially begins:

1. You can have fun before school starts

Take a break before law school begins! I remember asking a law graduate for advice on how to productively spend my summer before law school. He said to take a vacation. That was not what I expected to hear. Looking back and after graduating from law school, I truly believe that taking a vacation was the best law school advice I have ever heard because you will be working very hard for three years followed by bar exam preparation. You deserve an advance vacation, even if it is a stay-cation where you can get sun, get a clear head, and go into the experience well-rested. If you are anything like me and have trouble relaxing because you are anxiously feeling unproductive, then try bringing a law-school related book with you. I highly recommend a relaxing read on the “Zen of Law School Success” written by an awesome law professor, Chad Noreuil.

2. You can have a life during law school

In fact, it is highly recommended! There is no doubt that law school is a major commitment of your time and focus. As soon as classes begin, you may find yourself trying to keep up. I remember a good friend during law school saying she felt guilty taking free time to get fresh air or look outside of a window.

Believe it or not, law school can be an enjoyable experience. There is time to laugh and sometimes it’s your professors’ making jokes. It’s possible to love the Socratic method used throughout law school courses.

One of the things you can do before school starts is find a way to embrace the law school journey with an outlet such as a blog, TikTok, or Instagram. One of the things I wish I had done was discover my interests outside of law school before law school officially started. For example: working out, solving puzzles, drawing, dancing, cooking, or picking up a new language. One of the ways I would have fun during free time was trying new workout classes like kickboxing.

3. Make friends that help you stay sane

You can meet others by attending student-led events and becoming involved in your community.

You can start by attending any pre-law events, planning to be social at the orientation, and looking into your law school’s events and law student organizations. Approach law school social life as a means of getting to know the cohort of students you will be seeing daily and ultimately graduating with, and with the hopes of making meaningful friendships along the way. No matter what you confront, your group of friends can make it easier and provide you with a much-needed sense of community, and possibility.

Admissions and even social media can help to put you in touch with second- and third-year law student mentors. Making friends with current students is so helpful because they can show you the ropes. Being bold and brave can lead you to get your hands on important materials such as outlines passed down from former 1L students like you!

4. Prepare to eat a lot of pizza

Just kidding, but not really kidding! You will find that law student events and programs almost always serve pizza – which can be fun! However, you may grow tired of it and find it can really slow down your studies. Pizza is great in moderation but be sure to find your sustainable law student fuel.

You can try out new foods before school starts. One great recommendation I learned from medical students who also shared the lack of time to prepare balanced meals is to sign up for a meal preparation company. Try looking for promotions so you can see which meal prep options may work for you.

5. You are starting a full-time job

Minus the pay of course! Attending law school full-time is a lot like a full-time job because you will likely be up early to prepare for and attend classes, learning a ton, taking breaks, and sometimes staying up late.

Before law school, think about your law school schedule and structure it in a way that is efficient and works for you. This involves considering time and energy management. This advice also applies to students juggling work and school. For example, there are ways to take advantage of time commuting in order to make progress with school work. Another idea is treating school like a job by assigning hours for study and sticking to them. Importantly, be sure to take necessary breaks including a day of the week.

6. Professors are your future mentors and references

Plan to go to office hours, and welcome or other campus events where you may have a chance to meet your professors outside of the classroom.

Enjoy this pre-law school period. Remember that you have the support of the Girl’s Guide to Law School and the Law School Toolbox throughout your path. This community of support is here to root you on and keep you on the right track!


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About Zoila Sanchez

During law school, she served as a Legal Clerk with the federal government at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Counsel to the Inspector General in Washington, DC. Currently, she works for a health and business law firm. She enjoys spending down time mentoring students sitting for the bar exam through the American Bar Association Council on Legal Education Opportunity program and taking it easy with her three poodles.

Ms. Sanchez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stony Brook University, a Master of Public Health from the University of Arizona and Juris Doctor from Hofstra University.

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