Law school survival tips from a recent graduate: Simplify your life and warn your loved ones

Ashly BasgallFirst-year boot camp has ended, and regular classes have begun. Many of you are still a bit dizzy from all of the new responsibilities that law school has thrust upon you. Fresh out of law school, the Wheat Law Library’s new Faculty Services Senior Researcher, Ashly Basgall, has a few tips to help keep you on track and at least somewhat sane.

  • Make sure your friends and family know that you’ll be really busy for the next three years (and that you could use a lot of support).
  • Start scheduling every minute of every day right away. Time management is the key to success.
  • Talk to people! Ask advice about anything law-school related from law librarians, fellow law students, current attorneys and professors.
  • Find a healthy stress reliever that works for you and build it into your schedule.
  • Use the resources that the law library and the law school offer you.
  • Find a place to study that works for you. If you need quiet, study in the law library. If you like noise, study in the commons area.
  • Realize that law school is challenging for all students, even though some might not admit it.
  • Keep a positive attitude. Do your best and be satisfied with the results.
  • Cook big healthy meals over the weekend so you have leftovers during the week.
  • Consider each class period a media-free time. If you have trouble paying attention, try software like LeechBlock to limit your access to time-wasting websites.
  • Give your professor and your readings your full attention. Reward yourself with Internet time instead of multi-tasking.
  • Keeping your house clean and your laundry done will be difficult. Take advantage of offers from friends and relatives to help out.
  • Don’t lose sight of your priorities. If you don’t have time to visit your friends and family, at least send them emails or give them a call when you can.
  • Take classes in subjects that will be tested on the bar exam.
  • Remember that the bar exam is closed book. Start preparing now by not depending too much on your outlines in law school exams.
  • Schedule haircuts and dentist appointments ahead of time so they occur during breaks from school.
  • Take a day off when you can. Rest and relaxation will increase your productivity.
  • Take a non-law class if it interests you and relates to your career goals.
  • Spend some time each week with non-law students; it will help you keep perspective.
  • Do your banking and bill paying online. Automatic payments will keep you from bouncing checks while you’re studying for exams.
  • Simplify your life as much as possible. Have your prescriptions delivered, order your textbooks online, buy frozen meals, etc.

Feel free to stop by and welcome Ashly into our fold. Her office is on the main floor of the library, room 200F.

W. Blake Wilson, Head of Instructional and Research Services