We are basically half-way through which means that those of us in school are getting ready to go back to school! If you’re reading this, you may even be getting ready to start your first semester of law school in general (online, at that!) First of all, congratulations! Getting into law school is no easy feat, and you’ve made it this far! However, things are about to get really real so make sure you sit down, get comfortable, and read this post with some tips to help you succeed in your fist semester of virtual law school.
Set Alarms/Reminders for Your Classes
When you’re in a law school building, it’s kind of impossible to forget to go to class because you either know people who are in your class or everyone else is going to class so you know you probably have a class too. With virtual law school in the comfort of your own home, it’s soooo easy to forget you have class. This probably sounds ridiculous, but this happened to many of my friends last semester! I personally set a few reminders (30 mins and 5 mins before) so I can give myself enough time to remember to eat before class, fill up my water bottle, use the bathroom, and everything else I need to do before class begins. I try to mimic what I would do before my in-person classes as closely as possible.
Create A Schedule For Your Non-Class Responsibilities
It’s easy to set aside time for the classes that you have to be present for. The harder part of your first semester of law school is making time for everything else and making sure you don’t neglect anything else. I was guilty of this my first two months of law school. I barely had a schedule that didn’t consist of reading for class, writing case briefs, and attending those classes. It literally took over my life. Don’t be like me. You want to put in enough effort but not let it consume you. The semesters where I did better grade wise were definitely the semesters when I made time for my hobbies, family, friends, me-time, and whatever. If it’s scheduled, it will be easier to adhere to.
Go To Virtual Office Hours (and schedule other appointments after that)
It’s already hard enough to stand out to your professors when classes are in person. Virtual law school makes it even harder! One benefit of virtual law school is that some professors have made themselves even more available to talk to students at different times since they are at home. Your first semester of law school is super challenging and I distinctly remember doing better in the classes that I made an effort to attend office hours. Professors can answer questions and help you understand things you are having trouble grasping. They should want you to succeed so make sure you help them help you. Even if it’s not for grades, it’s also good for future letters of recommendation. They might not even write you one if they don’t feel like they know you well enough to vouch for you, so make them know who you are!
Use Google Calendar
I love a good google calendar. While I also love a good paper planner, google calendar gives you flexibility to move things around in case something comes up. You can still keep the time blocks and whatever else you put in the description. This one is pretty straight-forward and it will help you keep a google schedule. If you are a visual person like me, seeing everything laid out helps you do everything you need to do.
Plan Out Your Me Time (preferably unplugged)
I already mentioned this earlier but it’s so important it needs repeating. Plan your me-time. Plan your me-time. PLAN YOUR ME-TIME! It is so easy to neglect your own personal needs during your first semester of law school. Don’t do it! You will inevitably burn out at some point and it will be hard to bounce back once that happens. Since law school will be entirely online, I recommend your me-time include doing something that’s not related to technology at all. Take a walk. Read a book not related to law school. Maybe even listen to music (this is kinda technology but as long as you’re not also on your phone it’s okay.) Meditate. Whatever you need to do, do it! It will help with your preservation in the long run.
This list is by no means all-inclusive but it does consist of things I personally find really important going into your first semester of virtual law school. Talk to other 2Ls and 3Ls at your school to gain their insight on your specific school. Good luck this semester and if your school is still giving out grades, may the curve be ever in your favor!
Are there any other law school topics you want to learn more about? Let me know in the comments below!