Today we Celebrate our (Law School) Independence Day!

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For many, going to law school will be the first real taste of independence. Gone will be the days of driving home on the weekend with laundry for mom or leaning on one’s sorority or fraternity mates for support. With our nation’s independence day coming tomorrow, it seems appropriate to show you future law students how you can truly declare your independence as a law student.

1. Don’t get taken in by every offer of free food you see.

As a law student, there will be plenty of opportunities to accept free pizza (or burgers, or burritos, or donuts, etc.) for attending a brief seminar put on by Lexis or Westlaw. You have to learn to use these research programs anyway, right? So why not get some free food from the deal? While these opportunities sound great in theory, they are, in reality, your ticket to the freshman fifteen redux. Cook at home. Pack a lunch. Grab a Subway sandwich on your way to class. Declare your independence from free food.

2. Remember how you study best.

You’re going to hear a lot of advice about the proper way to study in law school. A lot of it will be valid. There are certainly better ways to do certain things. That said, you needn’t adhere to every piece of advice. If you’re going to law school, you presumably did at least alright as an undergrad and got a halfway decent LSAT score. You did so studying in a way that was effective for you. If you used study groups before, feel free to form one now. If you didn’t as an undergrad, it’s probably best to stick to your guns and fly solo once more. If you were a library denizen as an undergrad, then the law library should become your haven. If you preferred to spend your time in cafes as an undergrad, then continue sipping those lattes. Declare your independence from those who would have you change your studying habits merely because you’re now a law student.

3. Maintain your good nature.

Most law schools in the world grade on a forced curve. In other words, there is a proportion of your class guaranteed to get lower grades than others. This grading system can stoke the competitive fire in some folks, to the detriment of their attitude towards others. While this attitude is far less prevalent than some stories would have you believe, it still rears its ugly head more often than it ought to. Declare your independence from this negative attitude and help your fellow students when you can. They’ll no doubt return the favor in short order and you’ll both be better for having helped each other.

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