I apologize to the avid fans of my blog that I have been MIA. Law school is hard.
I thought now would be a good time for me to give advice, but I don't really feel qualified to give advice to 0Ls just yet. Alternatively, I can attest to learning some valuable lessons and what's been working for me so far.
Let me preface all of this by saying that I still feel behind. I think everyone has their outlines/notes all in order except for me. Classmates make you feel bad about those kinds of things. I'm blowing them off and their silly comments. My place as the stupid girl in glass has clearly solidified, but we will see who's laughing in January come grades.
Anyways, on to the lessons:
- Law school is for learning and not for making friends. There are tons of events 1Ls are invited to with their section and other law school events in general. If one were to do all these events, I can't see how any studying could get done. Add to that the expense - going out every weekend and drinking will cost ya. I believe I've found a good balance between social events and studying. There are some people, however, that are known for their hard-partying ways. I realize that law school is likened to high school a lot, however it really isn't high school and thus one should choose the events they attend wisely.
- I like briefing. Well, I don't like it as in I wake up every day urging to brief a case, but I like it as a way to synthesize the material and compare rules. Many of my classmates have stopped briefing. I am sure that I am one of the last few briefers, but I am still doing it. Book briefing doesn't cut it for me, either. I'd rather go back through my own notes on a case then search the book and re-read a case when I'm studying. Briefs work well with that. Also, I think the best way to take notes is to take notes on your briefs - whether you print them out and handwrite or just leave a section for class notes in your document on your computer. I also have a designated "concept" note document for general ideas that shouldn't be attributed to just one case.
- Stay organized. I am horribly unorganized and it's showing. There is hardly any room for me to have one book open on my 5 foot long desk. I have a box full of papers that need to be filed from when I moved here early in the summer. It's becoming overwhelming to think that I have to do all of this organizing, and I just don't have time. If I would have taken the time earlier in the year to get a good organization system going, everything would be fine. I did not. I recommend that you do.
- Find out if you are a morning or a night person. If your brain works better at night, study late and sleep in longer. If your brain works better in the morning, wake up early if possible and try and study then, and go to bed earlier. I study much better early in the morning and I end up with a much better understanding of the material than I would if I stayed up late to finish it.
- Take practice exams early. Take your answers to your professor and find out what they think. Find out what format they want your answers in. Not all professors can be treated equally - not all of them want IRAC.
- Budget and stick to your budget. Lenders give you your money either in one or two lump sums - don't spend it all in the first couple of months! Set up a recurring transfer from a high interest savings account or something similar so that it isn't easy for you to transfer more and more money over. Keep track of what you spend on and adjust your budget accordingly.
This is all I can think of for now. Much of this is what I wish I would have done, but some is what I am doing and what is working.