(Photo Source: Scott Ableman)

So, you made it to the infamous summer before law school. Before you start panicking about what is next on your ever-growing list before classes begin, take a moment to congratulate yourself on getting this far. You have most likely graduated from your undergraduate institution and committed to a law school which has both accepted you and offers a program that interests you in some way. Therefore, allow me to offer my sincerest congratulations! You are about to enter a professional school, filled with (mostly) professional people. It is an exciting and nerve-racking time, but for now, my advice to you is to take it all in. The summer before law school should be spent preparing your mind, while taking care of pre-orientation tasks that your school will undoubtedly require. Oh, and don’t forget to relax! It is summer, after all.

In order to help you along the way, I have narrowed down two Do’s and two Don’ts when it comes to the summer before law school that will be sure to ease the tension and reduce the risk of being overwhelmed a week before orientation.

Do Complete All Pre-Orientation Tasks.

Your school will most likely publish a list of various tasks to complete before orientation in August. Get in the practice of getting these assignments done when they are given to you. Not only will you feel relieved, but you will also get in this habit for your law school assignments as well. Some tasks that you will want to get done quickly include setting up your e-mail account, paying your bill, and applying for financial aid (if applicable). Information about your class schedule, textbooks, and first class assignments (Gasp!) will also most likely be included in their orientation list.

Do Connect With People in Your Class.

Let’s not kid ourselves. You have a Facebook account and you most likely check it very often. If you don’t have one, make one, especially to meet people that could be sharing the same classroom with you for the next year. There will be someone who will start the “XYZ Law School Class of __ Group.” Don’t be afraid to join it. As an advisory, don’t create that group either, unless you want to have the label of the “person who made that Facebook group” pasted to your forehead for three years.

Use this Facebook group to attend or even initiate social gatherings with your classmates before the semester begins. As a future blog post will explain, networking is very important in law school. My closest friendships were formed in these initial days of law school. My friends have been absolutely critical to my success in law school—they came to my rescue on countless occasions during intense Socratic-method assaults, they studied with me until the early hours of the morning during finals, and most importantly, they are the sole reason why I was able to keep my sanity through it all.

If you are a shy person, focus all of your energy on becoming more outgoing. Remember that “a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”—Tim Ferriss.

Don’t Read Anything Resembling a Judicial Opinion

Yes, you read that correctly. There will be plenty of cases to read when school starts and you will be happy that you didn’t inundate yourself with cases before school starts. Don’t take this advice as a free license to goof off all summer, through. Please read as much as you can, but read something you actually like reading. Stay away from gossip magazines and focus on your favorite novelist or a newspaper (New York Times; Wall Street Journal) as substantive ways to stimulate your mind.

Don’t Force Yourself to Live Close to School

Law school is demanding. It requires strict concentration to your classes at all times. The last thing you need is someone to get on your nerves outside the classroom too. There are too many people who rush to live close to the school when they can easily commute. Avoid immersing yourself into a situation with another incoming 1L unless you absolutely have to. This is not undergraduate school, where your roommate can stink (literally and figuratively) and your grades will not be adversely affected. Don’t be caught in the situation where you suddenly hate your roommate and your true feelings come out around exam time. No one needs that on their plate.

Bonus Do: Have fun. It is still summer. Enjoy it as much as you can. If you can afford to, quit your job now. You are about to embark on a three-year mental marathon; as such, you need to reach a state of equilibrium before law school begins.

Looking Toward the Future: Once law school begins, you should hit the ground running and take things seriously. My next blog post, however, will describe an unorthodox way of approaching law school—a way that helps you work smarter, not harder, so that you can still enjoy your life and pursue your goals. Enjoy your summer and stay tuned.

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