How to Get Back into the Law Student Mindset

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 2L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Winter break is officially over.

Classes have begun, calendars are beginning to fill. My brain, however, has yet to register that it’s time to re-enter law student mode.

Remember the days when teachers would waste the first days of class reviewing the syllabus? The fast track nature of law school washes away any hope that you’ll spend your first week back on campus simply discussing the course. Instead, law students are immediately faced with hefty reading loads, assignments, and an inbox full of meeting requests.

Allowing your mind and body the time to slowly acclimate to the pressures of law school is not an option, so what are we law students to do?

Law Student

  1. Whip out your agenda

    Begin to schedule in everything you need to do from textbook shopping to course readings. Having concrete tasks and timelines allows you to stay on track.

  2. Adjust your alarms!

    If you’re anything like me it takes you a little while to get back into the habit of jumping right out of bed after winter break. Don’t run the risk that you’ll press snooze and miss your first class, instead, adjust your alarm to an earlier time to give yourself the snooze time while still ensuring you’ll be on time.

  3. A healthy life contributes to increased brain activity (or so science tells us).

    Head to the gym, stock up on healthy food, and drink lots of water to give your brain the fuel it needs to make it through that first week!

  4. Frequent campus if possible.

    It’s easy to take a cat nap or continue binge-watching Netflix if you’re at home in your bed. Just being in a library or on campus can serve as a reality check and bring you back into focus.

  5. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!

    The first week back is rough. You have all new classes, readings to complete, board meetings, event meetings, journal assignments, and possibly interviews. Everyone seems to want something from you, and since you may not be functioning at 100% it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. To ensure a smooth start to your semester prioritize your classes, interviews, and pressing group commitments over more routine meetings and events.

How are you getting back into the swing of things? What do you think the biggest challenge about returning from break is? I’d love to hear your input!