Med and law schools are notorious for being some of the most stressful learning environments. Rather than just worrying about passing a test or getting a decent GPA, law school is all about building the foundation of your professional education and getting ready to take the bar exam. The pressure can easily make anyone crack, and there is plenty of temptation to fall into toxic study habits that harm your mental health and generally make your law school experience drudgery.
Don’t worry, you’re not the only person worried about law school. No matter how cool and collected some students might seem, everyone experiences the stress from trying to learn so much in such a short period of time. Before you embark on this exciting new journey, it’s important to plan ahead and come up with some coping strategies.
Strategies to follow in law schools
Reflect on your current habits
Before you take anyone’s advice on how to survive your first year of law school, you need to do some introspection. How have you handled your greatest stressors in life thus far? Did you feel like you did a good job bouncing back from those challenges, or did you barely make it out and feel exhausted and defeated afterward? Think about what you did well and what you’d like to do differently. Bad coping skills like procrastination, avoidance, and even drinking or smoking won’t help you get ahead. They may offer temporary relief, but they only worsen anxiety in the long run.
Look at your values. Do you need a lot of personal time, or do you admire people who are diligent even though you struggle to initiate things yourself? Once you identify the gap between who you are and who you want to be as a law student, you’ll be able to build upon your strengths and use them to address any areas that need improvement.
Figure out your finances now
Don’t wait until you’re graduated with unsurmountable student debt to think about money management. It all starts now; how much will you be allocating to survive? What will your spending limit be each month? How are your student loans going to affect you post-grad? Look into different options for financing your education. This can save you money in the future that can equate to thousands of dollars in interest; a private lender can provide a graduate law degree that is flexible, personal, and, most importantly, manageable. You don’t need to worry about living debt-free right away; all you need to focus on right now is making smart choices about your law school loans and finances. Your future self will thank you.
Take care of yourself
Physical exercise helps you relieve stress, lower anxiety, and stay energized naturally. If you ever find yourself struggling more than you can comfortably handle, reach out to people you trust or even a counselor. There’s no shame in therapy, and it can be one of your greatest tools during a stressful experience. Counselors can also help you come up with practical ways to manage your workload and build better study habits. Don’t forget to stay social as well. You might feel like there’s no time to do anything but study, but one of your greatest resources is other students. Not only can they help take some of the stress off your shoulders, but you can support each other along the journey and learn from each other as well.