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Getting Acclimated to Law School

Getting Acclimated to Law School
By: Antonia B. Harbin
Managing Editor, Auburn Hills
Starting law school can be the most exciting and yet the most daunting time in a law student’s life. In one since, you have decided to enter one of the most creative, strategic and rewarding professions there is and on the other hand, there is a very detailed and comprehensive road that you must take to get there.There are so many unanswered questions. What is the law school experience going to be like? How will I manage to learn such a significant amount of material for one exam? Not to mention how many times will I be subjected to the Socratic Method in my first term?  But, there is good news … those questions get answered and your mind is put at ease very quickly. As each term passes, you learn there is a way through it. Many have done it before you and someday you will be the one giving the advice on how you made it through. 
In the meantime, as you are still trying to relieve your apprehension of what lies ahead here are six practical tips outside of briefing cases for class and good old-fashioned studying that will help you get acclimated to law school and off to a strong start:
  • Pace Yourself - Week 6 definitely comes up quickly and midterms will be here before you know it, therefore it is best to pace yourself and learn the concepts as they are introduced so that you don’t find yourself cramming near week 15. Understanding the concepts as you go along will also put you ahead and allow you to get started on practice exams early.
  • Visit Your Professor - Don’t wait till you are too far behind. Make an appointment with your professor and get extra help if you need it. All of the Professors I have met at Cooley are happy to help students succeed and become great lawyers.
  • Use the ARC - The ARC is a great resource that should be utilized. It is located in room 292 on the second floor of the Auburn Hills campus. The ARC offers several supplements, CDs, and Law Flashcards.
  • Find a Study Group or Partner - Studying with another person is eye-opening. Getting a different perspective is always a good idea. Groups help you think outside your own box. You may also grasp a concept better from a colleague rather than your professor and if nothing else, studying with a group is another chance for repetition.
  • Get Your Feet Wet - Although, you should definitely focus on getting acclimated to law school and on your studies, don’t be afraid to get involved in some of the many organizations Cooley has to offer or activities like “mock trial’ in your first year. Near the beginning of the term, make sure to attend the ‘student orgs fair” where most of the organizations on campus will be represented.
  • Begin Networking - It is never too early to begin networking. As soon as you begin law school opportunities will present themselves to network. Get started early- you never know who you will meet and where that relationship will take you.
Getting acclimated can be difficult. But, with the right approach you can do it effectively. Although, you are a 1L and are at the beginning of your law school journey; the end is in sight if you start out on the right foot.