It's often difficult to adjust to days spent inside air-conditioned classrooms when you're used to sunning yourself on warm, sandy beaches, but it is possible. While it may be difficult at first, it's important to take these first few weeks of law school seriously, whether you are a new student or a returning student, because it is during these weeks that you will make first impressions on your professors and fellow law students.
First, because you probably spent your summer watching Real World/Road Rules Challenge reruns on MTV and playing video games, you might want to think about brushing up on current events before stepping foot in your first lecture hall. Grab a newspaper. Buy a copy of Newsweek. Sit down and watch the news.
Whatever you do, don't walk into class with nothing more to offer than the latest gossip about whom Jessica Simpson is dating. It is more than likely that your professor will open up the class discussion with a question about a major news story; and if he or she calls on you to answer, you should at least know enough to bluff your way through it.
Another tip for impressing your professors (and a good habit to get into during the first weeks of school) is to sit in the front row. Sitting in the front not only forces you to stay awake and pay attention, but it also sends a message to your professors that you are eager to learn and willing to participate. This may sound terrifying, and the seat in the back row may be calling your name; but if you resist the urge to be a wallflower and plant yourself front and center, you will be rewarded by the outcome.
Also, because the first couple of weeks of school will most likely put you on a different schedule than your body is used to, it's important to make sure you get enough sleep. You're going to have a lot of information thrown at you in a very short period of time, and it's important that your mind is well rested and ready to deal with it.
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Resist the urge to stay up late (as you've become accustomed to doing), and get on a consistent sleep schedule. This may mean turning down some party invitations. It may also mean missing those late-night movies you've been enjoying for the past three months; but in the end, it will be worth it. You may even want to consider starting an exercise routine. Exercising regularly helps develop healthy sleep patterns.
Another good thing to incorporate into your new schedule is a healthy, balanced breakfast. Your mother was right when she told you to eat a good breakfast before a big test. Studies have shown that students who eat healthy breakfasts do better in school. Eating breakfast also gives your body the energy it needs to make it through until lunch; and because most of your classes will probably be between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., eating a good breakfast will ensure that you are at your best during the hours that it counts the most.
If, during your days of summer sun and fun, you happened to meet that special someone and you started your very own little summer romance, you should also take some time at the beginning of the semester to sit down with him or her and discuss your expectations for the coming year. Gone are the days of hanging out for hours, talking on the phone all night, and basically being available anytime. Suddenly, you are going to have major obligations, and there is a better chance that the relationship will continue through the fall if he or she understands this at the outset.
Keeping these tips in mind will make going back to law school a breeze. For those of you who were lucky enough to enjoy an internship-free summer full of fun, the first day back in a lecture hall may make you want to run screaming; but that feeling will fade. Soon, summer will be nothing but a sweet memory; and you'll be knee deep in the law, excited about becoming the lawyer you've always wanted to be.
Check back next week for tips on how to survive your first year of law school.