If you’re going to be a 1L this year, it won’t be long before you’re on campus and drowning in a pile of casebooks. Before you decided on a law school, you no doubt read all the literature about the places where you were accepted. You probably even toured a few schools (travel schedule permitting). You know how impressive your school’s law review is and you know how many books are in the library and you know what your faculty-to-student ratio is. But do you know the things about your school that are actually important?
Here are some things you’ll wish you asked about your law school:
1. How many coffee shops are within walking distance of your domicile?
If you weren’t living on caffeine as an undergraduate, you will as a law student. If coffee didn’t taste so damn good I’d have just hooked an IV up and delivered it to my heart and brain that much faster. Studying in the library and at home are great, but one certainly gets stir crazy after a while. Getting out around people, even if you’re wearing ear buds to tune them out, can be quite therapeutic. You’re going to want to know where the closest coffee shops are and how many undergrads you’re going to have to wrestle for a table when it comes time to caffeinate.
2. What are the on-campus food options?
You may be telling yourself you’re going to bring your lunch to school with you every day. You know what they say: the path to the food court is paved with good intentions. There will come a time when your time and patience wear thin and you decide to get some sleep rather than prep a sandwich for the following day. It is then that you will wish you had more closely examined the dining options at your school of choice. You need that magical combination of not ridiculously expensive, not disgusting and not completely terrible for you. Happy hunting.
3. Is there Wi-Fi in the classrooms?
Welcome to your boredom remedy. Where better than the middle of Contracts lecture to check on your fantasy football team? Why not work on a crossword during Torts? Just about any school will have Wi-Fi available to its students around campus, but not all will have it turned on in the classroom. You’ll want to find out whether or not they do. If not, you’ll have to plan ahead and open that Grantland article before you head to class.
4. Is the library open 24 hours during finals?
There will be lots and lots and lots of last-minute outlining and memorizing come finals time. Some professors will allow you a single page of notes, some won’t allow you anything at all and other will allow you anything you like. You’ll need all the time you can get to prepare. While I didn’t do most of my studying on campus, it was certainly nice to know I could spend as long there as I liked during finals week. Those precious minutes going from campus to my apartment were spent at the end of the night, rather than in the middle of the day (when they were far more useful). Whatever your study preferences, it’s always good to have a security blanket.
All the best to the matriculating 1Ls out there!