Crunch Time

We are down to the wire here at BU Law, and as a 1L facing the end of my second semester, I’m finding myself spread pretty thin. Reading for class, outlining, networking, extracurriculars. I’ve been finalizing and submitting my full Appellate Brief and prepping for oral arguments in front of a panel of judges scheduled in a few weeks. Throw in real life on top of that (Grocery shopping? Literally just breathing?) and things can get a little hectic. It’s times like these that it’s important to take a deep breath and a step back, before facing your challenges head on.

This is obviously going to look a little different for everyone. To that point, I think it’s important that you know a thing or two about your own personality and habits so that you can figure out the best way to proceed in stressful times. For me, I know that I am so incredibly type B that I shouldn’t bother with a whole slew of activities people normally suggest for busy students. I could make a to-do list, but I know that in about 15 minutes it’s very likely that I will not know where that list is. Which is assuming that I’m able to finish it in the first place, which would already be doubtful. I also know that setting specific study schedules doesn’t work for me because I don’t usually end up sticking to them. What I do know about my personality is that I work very well when I give myself the freedom to breaks, when I am around other people and am able to talk about the material out loud, and when I am away from home. I find motivation in thinking about the work I’ll be doing over the summer, and the exciting opportunities that await me during 2L year. You’ll notice that none of those things suggest much structure to my thought processes. That’s what works for me, so I know going into a weekend then spending 24 hours a day studying is just unrealistic for me. I find that I am much more productive (and have much less stress and anxiety) when I am able to identify those facets of my personality and let myself take at least half a day off to completely ignore my status as a law student. That being said, if you are a list person, make lists! Make color coded tabbed out handwritten calendars to help you stay on track. I fully advocate doing whatever works for you, and not getting psyched out if that doesn’t line up with what your peers are doing.

Once you have done some soul searching, you should hopefully feel a little more well equipped to handle what’s to come. In case you find yourself identifying with my approach to study and a hectic schedule, I’ve decided to list a few resources, academic and non-academic, that are extremely valuable to me in navigating the 1L chaos.

1. Starbucks
This is a given. I am waiting for the day where we as a society have advanced to the point where I can just walk around with some device that provides a constant flow of coffee, preferably directly into my blood stream. There’s not much I can say here that you probably don’t already know, but I do have one piece of advice. Lexis, one of the major legal research engines, has a pretty fantastic rewards program where you can exchange points for prizes. It has really proven to be a win-win for me, because I’ve learned a lot from the trainings and other opportunities, and they have also nearly single-handedly funded my coffee addiction. No, they did not pay me to say any of this.

2. My mentors
I will keep this brief, since I have recently written a blog post all about how great my mentors have been. I encourage you to check it out if you are more interested in this topic. Having mentors to rely on has been helpful not only academically, but to help put my mind at ease regarding all the background stuff, like planning 2L year and job search/career planning.

3. My Family
This is a big one for me. I live with my partner here in Boston, and its so great to go home and talk to someone about something other than the reasonable person standard or whether legislation is rationally related to a permissible governmental objective. Cuddling on the couch with my cocker spaniel gives me life in a way that property law never will. I cherish those moments. While this might look a little different for each person, find those people in your life that you can decompress with and forget that you’re in law school, if only just for a little while.

4. Beer
I could have titled this section “hobbies,” but you might be losing interest right about now and this is a student blog so I’m allowed to be a little snappy. That being said, I do love beer, craft and otherwise (and I know I’m not alone on this). Having hobbies and exploring them within the city is a really nice escape from academia. Whether you’re like me and enjoy finding and tasting new beers (Go to Boston Beer Works, Yard House, or Harpoon), or if you are an outdoorsy nature lover (Go walk around the common, or go skiing in the surrounding areas), there are plenty of things in and around Boston for you to do. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s okay to take a break! Go, get out, and enjoy what the city has to offer.

5. Extra-Curriculars
Finally, one way I escape from mountains of case reading is by participating in extra-curriculars. This is great because it’s mostly guilt free, since I’m still working on legal activities and building my skills in the meantime. From negotiation, to client counseling, to mock trial and more, there are plenty of ways to gain practical experience in your first year that are also tons of fun.

These are just some of the things that work for me. Try them out, or go find some of your own!

Post a Comment

Your email address is never shared. Required fields are marked *