What does time management look like to you? Do you usually get 8 hours of sleep? Do you frequently speak with your loved ones? Do you exercise daily? If your answer was yes, then this is the perfect read for you! Things you may have easily managed time for before starting law school can quickly change. Therefore, it may be helpful to begin finding ways to stay balanced throughout your law school journey.
The Law School Way: “If you have time to do anything else besides study then you’re doing something wrong.” I’ve heard this saying multiple times throughout my first year of law school and honey, it is wrong! Here are a few “My way Tips” I’ve put together to help ease the stress throughout your 1L journey:
- Create a weekly schedule for yourself and stick to it!
My way: If you’re a perfectionist like myself then you can understand that not hitting your daily goals can be stressful! During my first semester of law school, I struggled with managing my time. There were days where I would spend the majority of my time on one subject, and I barely had enough time to glance through the next. Over a conversation with my mentor she advised me to make a study schedule and set strict stop times. Eventually, things that felt impossible to do before creating my schedule were easily becoming a part of my daily routine. I was exercising more, speaking with my family back home and well prepared for class each day. Overall, maintaining a weekly schedule and truly sticking to your cut off times can go a long way. It helped me to feel much more organized and less overwhelmed.
- Set realistic study goals.
My way: Admit it, sometimes we can set unrealistic goals for ourselves. Don’t be ashamed! My guilty pleasure during my 1L year happened to be cramming massive amounts of information in one single study session. During the end of my sessions I would feel drained, and I knew there had to be a better route than the one I was taking. I began setting realistic study goals for myself by breaking down units into smaller sections. This helped to ease my stress and helped me retain information much more quickly and productively.
- Preparation is key.
My way: My dad once told me “prepared people don’t get nervous.” I recall days where I would walk into class feeling as if my heart would burst through my chest due to the fear of being called on that day. I hated this feeling and it didn’t take me long to figure out. I noticed that the days where I would feel the most anxious were when I didn’t feel the most prepared. Preparation is key in law school. For some, the anxiety will always exist however, making sure that you’re prepared each day will definitely relieve some stress. And boost your confidence.
- Set time aside to do something that you enjoy.
My way: I can’t stress it enough how important it is to find the time to do something that you enjoy. Before you know it, you’ll realize that your daily life consists of going to class and studying. If you do something you enjoy at least once a week it can help to relieve some of the stress that comes with being a law student. For example, every Friday night I would stay in the library no later than 10:30 pm, and then I would meet my friend to grab our favorite wings and a drink. Although our outings were always limited to an hour or two, it was refreshing to get out and have a laugh.
- Find time to talk to your loved ones.
My way: Whether it’s family, a friend or significant other, find the time to talk to your loved ones! Let’s face it, after several hours of studying most of us crave alone time. However, it’s easy for these “me time” moments to slip into weeks. Don’t neglect those who care about you and were a part of the journey that helped you get where you are today. Also, hearing the voice of a loved one and speaking about things other than law school can do more good for your mind than you think!
- Exercise, exercise, exercise.
My way: 1L year AKA freshman 15 all over again! As a law student you will find that the majority of your day is spent sitting in a chair crouched over your books. It is very important to find time to exercise daily which can also aid in clearing your mind and relieving stress. Whatever your preference of exercising may be, Just Do It!
- Repeat daily affirmations.
My way: You are kind, you are smart, you are important!! Speak highly of yourself and to yourself each and every day. Whether it’s morning, midday or nighttime affirmations repeat them daily! Uplifting yourself with encouraging words will boost your confidence and give you the push you may need to keep going throughout the day.
- Run your own race.
My way: I repeat, RUN YOUR OWN RACE! One of the biggest struggles many people face in law school can be comparing yourself to your peers. Doing so can knock you off track and more than likely cause stress because you’ll spend time worrying about what you’re “doing wrong” compared to your classmates. Don’t waste time envying someone else’s lawn when you could be watering yours!
- Remember your “WHY”.
My way: The stress as a law school student may sometimes make you wonder why you chose the path you did. In this moment, which you will more than likely face, it is important to remember your WHY. This should be the motivating force that pushed you into wanting to go to law school in the first place. For example, the neighborhood that I grew up in is my motivating force. Any time that I am experiencing a blow of defeat I remember how much I want to give back and all of the changes I wish to see one day in my community. Figure out your why and don’t ever lose sight of that!
- Do not allow defeat to count you out!
My way: If you have never experienced defeat prior to law school I advise you to buckle up for the ride. Law school can be a time when you experience many defeats. Allow these setbacks to push you forward. I urge you to welcome them because it is just the start of what the future may hold throughout your career as an attorney.