So You’re Gonna Be a 1L: Advice for Incoming Law Students

1L students walk to Kimball Theater for Opening Day of Law Week!

1L students walk to Kimball Theater for Opening Day of Law Week!

If you’ve been following our Instagram this week, you may have noticed some pieces of advice from current students about starting law school. There has been some GREAT information, so if you don’t already follow us, make sure you do. But we did notice that a few pieces of information were missing, so here is our take:

5 Things Every Incoming 1L Should Know:

  1. No one else knows what they’re doing either. It doesn’t matter if you’re coming straight from undergrad or if you’ve been working as a paralegal for 5 years – for the most part, no one has been in law school before the day they step foot in the door. Which means that no one else knows exactly what to do, what to say, where to go, or what to expect. It’s totally normal to be both excited and terrified at the thought of starting law school. One of the reasons we ask current students to work with Legal Practice sections is to make sure that there is someone there to help who has been in your shoes before (and a bit more recently than some of the faculty). Don’t worry about making a mistake, because everyone else will, too.
  2. No one will remember your answer to a cold-call. Admittedly, someone did bring this up in our Instagram chat, but it’s worth reiterating. Cold-calls are the bane of most students’ existence in the first year if for no other reason than no one wants to be wrong or ill-prepared in a room full of your peers. Here’s the good news: no one will remember what you said. We always hear the horror stories of law schools across the country with vindictive faculty out to get students for being unprepared in their first few weeks – we can very confidently say that has never happened here. And your peers in class will be there with the information to back you up and help you out in those situations.
  3. Your faculty are your friends. Go. To. Office. Hours. Yes, they can be intimidating, but it will be one of the best things you can do for yourself in the first few weeks of class. Introduce yourself to your faculty, get to know them a bit, and help them get to know you. It’s much easier to build that relationship early on than wait until 2 weeks before finals to try and get help. This goes for research librarians, administrators, and housekeeping staff, too. Everyone in this building wants you to be successful and happy during your time here. Insiders tip: get to know Ms. Sherri in Zime Cafe – she is a legend among legends. 
  4. Librarys are for studying, not living. This is, and we can’t stress this enough, the most important tip. You will spend a lot of time in the library,  but there is no reason for you to live there. Go home. Sleep. Eat something. Go out with your friends. Do something you love that isn’t related to Con Law or Torts. The library will always be there, but one of the most important things to remember is that if you aren’t living well, you can’t study well. Mental health and wellness is a big focus here, and in a profession with a reputation for stress and anxiety, building a routine for wellness now will help you in your future career.
  5. It’s only 3 years. Whether you need to hear that at 3 AM when you’re writing your Property outline or savoring a moment with friends at Barrister’s Ball, law school is only three years. It’s hard, yes; it’s frustrating, definitely; it sometimes may feel like it’s not worth it, sure. But in the end, it will be three years of lifelong friendships, work experiences that seemed completely unobtainable, and opportunities that many law students won’t get the chance to take part in. You’ll be a law student for three years, but an alum for life.

Sneak Peek! The Incoming Class of 2018

In just 5 short days, the incoming Class of 2018 will be arriving on campus for Law Week! Until then, here’s a sneak peek at what the newest cohort of citizen lawyers look like!

sneak peek 2018