A Piece of Advice for Entering Law Students

Bronte Mehdian is an LLS student blogger.

My first year of law school was a bit of a blur. I remember thinking about what the first day would be like. Would I get cold called like Elle Woods on her first day of Harvard Law? Would everyone be super competitive? Would I still know how to study after two years of being in the working world? While I did end up being the first person to get cold called in my Property class that semester, I quickly realized that I had just begun the biggest challenge of my educational career.

Looking back, 1L year was probably the most significant year of law school. Not only are you transitioning into a new chapter of your life, but you are also developing skills that will be the foundation of your legal career. At times it was overwhelming, and I wondered how I would ever be able to absorb all the information that was being thrown my way. However, over the next two semesters I realized that I had underestimated myself.

Law school has a weird way of making you step up to the plate. Ready or not, it’s happening. As such, I quickly realized I had to come up with a game plan. By the time first semester midterms rolled around, I found myself spending countless hours in the library reading, outlining, and preparing for exams. By the end of the week, I was tired and burnt out. You can imagine my surprise then when I got my first midterm back and didn’t do as well as I had hoped. I had studied more than ever and still did not get the results I wanted.

I must have been doing something wrong. When I told my 3L friend about my midterm, she asked me how I was studying. When I told her about my study habits, she quickly informed me that I was approaching it the wrong way. She told me to “study smart.” At first, I was confused: of course, I was studying—a lot.

How does one “study smart,” you may ask? For me, studying smart meant organizing my time better and learning how to prioritize. I would no longer get hung up on every minute detail of every topic when reviewing material or waste time creating flashcards that I would never look at again. Instead I found that big picture mind maps made the most sense to me and started scheduling my day out to make sure I got my school work done while also having time to myself.

Three years later, here is my advice to 1Ls: study smart. While I can’t give you an exact road map of what this means, I can tell you that my 1L year was much more enjoyable after I made these changes. And as always, realize that you have made it this far for a reason and soon enough you’ll be a 3L ready to graduate from one of the best law schools in the country.

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