The Best Mindset for Starting Law School
Law schools across the country are beginning the fall academic session within the next few weeks. For 1Ls just starting out, this is a nerve-wracking time! In this post, we discuss the best mindset for starting law school. Going in with the right frame of mind can make your transition easier and increase your chances of success in your first semester.
The Best Mindset for Starting Law School
Understand that law school and college are very different
If you’ve made it all the way to law school, you likely have a history of success at your various education stops along the way. You’ve also likely developed habits, mentalities, strategies, etc. that have helped you get to this point. However, in order to get into the right mindset for starting law school, you have to recognize that law school is a completely different experience than anything you’ve done before. (Be sure to check out this post on how law school is different than college!) What worked in college might not necessarily work going forward. Thus, don’t go into law school expecting to just carry on as you have been in school. Understand that things are very different and that you will have to adapt accordingly. Be willing to try new things, especially in relation to your study habits. Don’t just fall back on your status quo – embrace this new experience and the new things you will discover!
Don’t fear the competition
You’ve probably heard rumors about how competitive law school is. Your mindset for starting law school needs to be to not get caught up in that rumor! Don’t go into law school scared of your peers. Yes, law school is competitive. But that doesn’t make everyone around you your enemy. Your classmates are going to be your support system throughout this experience. They will understand what you are going through, as they are in this experience with you. Don’t be afraid of things like sabotage. Some of your greatest relationships, both personal and professional, will be forged in law school.
Know that it is never too early to start preparing for finals
One of the major ways law school is different from any other school experience is that the foundation of nearly your entire grade is your final exam. Scoring well on your finals is extremely important. And you’ve probably never experienced an exam like a law school final. Preparation can begin on the first day of class, and the best mindset for starting law school will recognize this. It is important to take great notes since it is your professor’s perspective of the law that is important. After all, that’s who is grading your final! If your professor emphasizes something, it is probably something you should remember. Further, set aside some time each week to work on your outline. The quality of your outline is going to directly relate to the strength of your scores. Be sure not to save all of your outlining for the end of the semester!
Put your best foot forward now – your first year is important!
Due to the difficulty of law school, there will be an adjustment period while you get used to the new expectations. However, make it your mindset for starting law school to do as well as possible in your first year. Fight to overcome the challenges of the new experience and strive to do the best that you can right now. Your grades in your first year are going to form the foundation of what firms evaluate when looking for summer associates, which can then lead to full-time positions after graduation.
Performance in first-year classes is also a very good predictor of how someone will do on the bar exam, which emphasizes the subjects you will learn this year. Your grades can get you into prestigious extra-curricular activities like moot court and law review. Thus, jump into law school with both feet as it will set yourself up for success moving forward!
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