Erica’s Survival Tips

By Erica ’19

2 weeks until first semester finals, and more than halfway through 1L year. If you asked me on August 29th of this year if I truly knew what I was getting myself into, I would have confidently said, “Law school has been the goal for years, so let’s go!” It’s still my dream to be here, but the realities of 1L year have settled in.

Everyone says taking your time to transition and taking care of yourself are the keys to surviving 1L year. If you’re like me, you’ve read countless blogs, Pinterest boards, tumblrs (if that still is cool?) on what law school is really like. Here’s a list of what worked for me this semester, but the biggest secret is finding what works for you when it comes to work-life balance.  Read on to find out how I’ve survived so far.

  1.  Coffee sometimes becomes my main source of nutrients. 

It’s true when they say that sleep and healthy eating habits are the first things to go during 1L year. My advice for this is to channel your inner event planner, and plan out your time wisely. I’m not saying don’t read those 5 cases for torts in the morning. I’m saying if you’re staying up so late to finish your readings that you won’t be able to retain that information when you’re being cold called, we have a time management problem.

After sleep, making time for efficient grocery shopping is key. The challenge: shop for the week in under an hour. I mean it, watch an episode of Guy’s Grocery Games on Netflix to study how they race down those aisles, and get to it. Coffee, while easy to replace meals with, is never a good idea.

  1. (On a more fun note) Try to find new places in the city to explore. 

Don’t be like me and take a month and a half to have your legally blonde moment in Harvard Yard! Other great adventures: Lawn on D, the North End, The Esplanade.

  1. Reach out to older students

As you can tell by now, I like to talk. But when it came to me connecting with older students, I was tongue tied. 2Ls and 3Ls are only intimidating if you make them out to be. In reality, they know how to save you time on outlines, which scanner in the library works best, and have great co-op stories to share.

  1. There are so many cool things to do at NUSL, practice quality not quantity.

NUSL is filled with so many passionate people doing stellar projects. My advice: pick 1-2 things to be involved in, like the Entertainment Law Society and the Domestic Violence Institute, and do them well. You’re going to want to be involved in everything, but remember 1L year is when you build the new skills that will carry you through the rest of law school.

  1. Marino is closer than you think 

Fun fact: the Marino Center is right across the street from the law school. Now I’m not a gym girl by any means, but with the proximity and the fact that it gives my mind a break from the difference between FRCP Rule 8 and 15, I make it a goal to go. If you don’t know how to use the fancy equipment, try a class. I got my legs tangled in TRX bands but got a killer work out.

  1. Find a core group of people to laugh with.

This should be obvious, but this will be your family away from home. You may find talking to people who don’t know why joint tortfeasors as a Halloween costume is hilarious somewhat painful, but that’s why having friends at school makes it worth it.

  1. Appreciate the random acts of kindness and try to give out some of your own! 

I once had a cashier at Whole Foods give me a free container of soup because I was so tired I knocked over a container of candies and forgot it was in my cart. Whether it’s that, or someone taking the time to explain a permissive joinder to you after class, remember how much a little joy can your day.

In the same respect, try not to get caught up in the busyness of 1L year and spread some kindness to others. It helps with the stress to know you helped someone out that day.

If you’ve made it through this blog post, congratulations! It’s really the first test to see if you can make it through the long readings you’ll have soon. Take this list with a grain a salt, and see what works for you. The end goal of making it through 1L year (and law school) is important, but the journey is the fun part.

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