So you’re ready to start law school? You’re eager and willing to get ahead, but you don’t know what to do. You’re also a bit paranoid about what to do with your last few months of freedom. Well, I’m here to help.
It goes without saying that you should take time to go on vacation, spend time with family and friends, and simply do you. You’ll likely find yourself wishing for some free time once you’re in school and even your first years as a young lawyer. You won’t regret spending one too many days at the beach in the next few weeks. However, there are things outside of relaxation to help you start law school on the right foot.
1. How to get ahead
Most people will tell you not to bother trying to get ahead. I mostly agree, but with one big, giant exception.
You should do yourself a favor and read Getting to Maybe. GTM will give you a huge heads up on what to expect on law school exams. This is helpful both when you actually sit down for your exams and when you’re going through class wondering what the heck you should be noting down and how you should organize what you already have in your notes.
Reading GTM is especially important for those of you who have not had very writing intensive majors. You might be smart, you might know all the material, but if you can’t demonstrate that in a format your professor expects, you won’t get good grades.
Don’t bother reading supplements. You won’t learn anything that’ll help you in your classes, because your professors will have their own take on even the fundamental courses. You should also know that learning the law is the easy part; learning how to effectively write an exam answer is the much harder part—that’s what GTM is for though.
2. Go early, meet people
One of the smarter things you can do with your time is move to your law school’s city a month or so early to get started on making friends. There’ll be a solid group of folks who will do the same, and it’ll make the whole transition into law school much smoother for you.
You might also be able to meet upperclassmen who will sell you their books for next to free.
These are going to be the people in your network for the rest of your life. So be nice.
3. Adopt good habits early
Sleeping ‘till 4PM at your mom’s house feels awesome. But you should start waking up most of the time at a reasonable hour. You should also get into the habit of working out. These two little things will go very far come the Fall Semester when you’re stressed out and feeling overwhelmed.
That’s really all there is to it. Try to have fun, you don’t need instructions on that. And try not to go overboard prepping for law school.
A previous version of this article was published June 22, 2016.