Approaching the 1L finish line

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Stephanie Baldwin, 1L at the University of Arizona

Yesterday I attended my last day of scheduled classes. My 1L year is over… well, almost… actually not even close. There is still so much to do. I still have 5 finals, and the law review write on to complete. I am sure you are in a similar situation. Here are some tips to make the most of our final weeks as 1Ls.

Take Advantage of Wellness Week Offerings

At my school, the SBA had many fun events to help us relax a bit before reading work began. We had a ping pong tournament (yes, we have a ping pong room at my school), yoga classes, and more. At my friend’s school they brought in puppies and kittens, and they will have breakfast provided for them each day next week! Whatever your school does, enjoy it! Also, beyond that…

Take Care of Yourself

It’s time for some serious self-care too. You need to be ready for finals and have the energy to make it all the way to the end. Last semester, I only had 3 finals; this semester, I have 5. Yes, 5! I have finals for Legal Writing, where I have to write a closed research memo in 8 hours, an 8 hour take-home final for Criminal Procedure, with strict word count limits, an open note exam for Constitutional Law, an open universe multiple choice test for Business Organizations, and I finish with an open universe Property exam. Whew. Some self-care is essential right now, I went to a concert with some friends on Monday and to be honest, that was the BEST thing I could have done. I left feeling great and ready for finals. Do whatever makes you happy. Go for a hike, cook, get out your coloring book, knit, listen to music, or go for a run. Whatever it is, whatever you do for self-care, make time for it.

Make the Most of the Reading Period

Some people like to schedule their study time according to the credit value of the class, and others want to work on classes they feel they struggle in the most, and some focus on their best subject matter. You know what works best for you. Don’t get distracted or think that because you are doing things differently than others you have to make a change. If you had great results last semester, stick to that plan. If you decided to change things up, have confidence in your choice and stick to it! For me, one thing I did NOT do a good job of was memorizing my outline and creating an attack outline. This semester my outlines are done, and as I do practice problem, I am making a note of the items I use most AND missed to create a good attack outline. Take advantage of office hours and any review sessions being offered too.

Appreciate How Far You’ve Come

I know, I know, super cliché, but seriously. We all need to give ourselves a round of applause. We’ve nearly made it to the end, just a few more steps and we are 2Ls. Think not only about everything we have learned but also about how we perceive things differently now. I can say that before starting law school there were some topics I thought of as very black and white, and now all I can see is the full spectrum of options. I have moved entirely from “Yes” or “No” to fully embracing “it depends” because it is true! It’s incredible to think about how much we have changed already!

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