As a 2L transfer student, I cannot speak on every detail of 1L year at UNLV, but with my wife being a Lawyering Process TA (she is in law school too, that’s a whole different blog) and watching this year’s 1L class, I’ve realized that being a 1L at the University of Idaho and being a 1L at Boyd is not all that different.
You have to be ready. Not just on the first day of class, but you should be ready before that day. It is difficult to know what is coming your way since nothing is more real than that nerve wracking first day. However, understanding that it is never too early to start getting ready and beginning to prepare months in advance can really make a difference. There is a lot that you can do to prepare, but I want to highlight three things.
First, I recommend that everyone rent or purchase 1L of a Ride by Andrew McClurg. At the University of Idaho, we were required to read it over the summer and the book gives you a detailed, precise look at what law school is. It prepares you for the mental and emotional roller coaster, gives you a preview of how law school will change you, and what you will go through. I know that with the LSAT, keeping your GPA up and work, the last thing you want is some 2L assigning you reading, but its crucial that you have some realistic idea of what to expect. Besides, you have a lot of reading ahead of you, why not start getting in the habit now?
Second, get organized. This is one of the most important things. If you read the book, it will stress this more but I will touch on it a bit as well. With all of your doctrinal courses, lawyering process, and let’s not forget life, being organized is a major key to success. Things can begin to pile up quickly, you will have reading every single day, you will have to prepare briefs for those readings, every single day, and you will have assignments for lawyering process that will disturb the perfect flow that was your schedule. Knowing what you have to do and knowing what you can do week in and week out is crucial. Plan your weeks out.
Third and finally, shake all of those bad habits. I know you have them, boy did I. I am giving you almost a year to get rid of them. My bad habits greatly affected my first semester. I decided to shake them during the first semester. As a result of the mistakes being corrected, my spring GPA was .6 better than in the fall. Everyone has bad habits, so take a good look at yourself and figure out what yours is (are if you are like me). What were mine? I’ll tell you my laundry list of bad habits if you promise to identify and fix yours; I was unorganized, procrastinated all the time, “me time” was extended way too long, and I did not like to read or write (I know, talk about the wrong career choice!). I corrected my mistakes, and I was surprised when I found out that correcting those habits positively affected law school but it greatly helped in my every day functions as well.
I promise everything is going to be okay, I do not any of you to get the wrong idea. I just want to share some things with all of you so that you will not repeat the same mistakes that I did. Like some of you, I too am a first generation law student however, now none of you have the excuse “no one told me.” Good luck preparing and now none of you can say you do not know anyone in law school either, you can always reach out to me for anything, I go by Jose and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.