Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

1Ls: Ten Unsolicited Off-the-Cuff Pieces of Advice for the First Week of Law School

1. Meet people. You'll be there for 3 years. Even if you're shy. Even if you're not shy, but already have lots of friends and don't need any more, especially not law students. Meet people. Make friends. Go to lots of orientations and events and social stuff. Find people you like. Become their friend before they get too busy and everyone has friends and you're left to eat in the cafeteria alone. Just you and the mold spores and the festering bacteria in the food.

2. Buy your books. Don't get behind in the reading right at the start. You have plenty of time for that. Start out smart. You can be dumb later, once you know what you're doing. For now, at least give yourself a chance. Yeah, it's a lot of pages. But you can do it. I believe in you.

3. Buy one of those maps that tells you what all the restaurants and stores around are. Explore. Wander. Get a sense of where you're living. Now. Before it gets too cold*. (*students in warm-weather states can ignore that last part)

4. Don't be insane. That means don't feel like you need to "impress" your professor on the first day of class, whatever that means. Don't feel like you have to prove to your classmates that you belong there. You belong there because you're there. You'll be fine. Don't stay up all night briefing cases, outlining readings, or using your new high-speed Internet access to download all the free Playstation games you can find. Don't buy lots of little stuff you think you'll need but really won't, like 14 tubes of toothpaste or a pillow sham. Relax. Don't be insane. Please. Your fellow students will be insane enough for everyone.

5. Don't form a study group. You have time. Wait a little while, like until you have something to study. Don't be that guy forming a study group on the first day of school. It gets around.

6. Join stuff. Find some extracurriculars. On campus, off campus, wherever. But stuff you like to do. Get involved now, and make it part of your routine. Before things get hectic and you lose track of time and forget to be doing other stuff besides law school stuff. Go to meetings. Sign up. Talk about non-law stuff. Have a life. Really. You need one. It's good for you.

7. Don't forget about your non-law-school friends. They'll come in handy when you're tired of debating Rule 55 in the Civil Procedure Code. You'll need them after law school. You'll miss them. E-mail them. Call them. See them. They'll still like you even though you've gone over to the dark side. Maybe.

8. Don't look for a summer job yet. Please. Give it a few weeks. You'll still get one. It's not a contest. Well, maybe it's a contest. But you have time. Don't look yet. The Vault guide will still be there a month from now.

9. Get sleep, eat well, and exercise. Law school will make you sick enough. Don't exacerbate it. :) No, really, well-rested people are more fun to be around.

10. Take days off. Go somewhere. Even if it's just to the next town over. It gets very insular. You need to see new street corners. I don't necessarily mean big trips. But go somewhere. Weekends are fine to spend not working all day. Really. No one will know. You can lie to your classmates about it.