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Things you wished you had done before law school

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I was doing some thinking today and was wondering about things I could do to make my transition into law school smoother and first year relatively easier. E.g., improving typing speed, reading speed, perhaps some books that would help with understanding the legal language. 

I've read quite a bit on this forum advising people to relax before they begin law school and to stay away from overdoing things because of the heavy workload that's inevitably coming. 

I'm just seeking some advice on what current law students wish they had done before starting. 

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Learn to cook and do your own laundry and iron a dress shirt. 

Get a suit and wear it around a bit until it’s a comfortable outfit and not a dress up costume. My usual advice is to go to a fancy bar and order a drink.

Update all your health stuff - prescriptions, glasses, teeth, get a physical, etc.

Then get photos of your family and friends developed and throw them in some frames. You’re going to want them in your new digs. 

Finish the novel you have been meaning to read. Finish knitting the scarf you started or building the shed in your parent’s backyard or whatever. Finish your tasks to feel good and motivated for the next steps.

Read Getting To Maybe and relax. 

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28 minutes ago, Hegdis said:

Learn to cook and do your own laundry and iron a dress shirt. 

Get a suit and wear it around a bit until it’s a comfortable outfit and not a dress up costume. My usual advice is to go to a fancy bar and order a drink.

Update all your health stuff - prescriptions, glasses, teeth, get a physical, etc.

Then get photos of your family and friends developed and throw them in some frames. You’re going to want them in your new digs. 

Finish the novel you have been meaning to read. Finish knitting the scarf you started or building the shed in your parent’s backyard or whatever. Finish your tasks to feel good and motivated for the next steps.

Read Getting To Maybe and relax. 

I take it, from your suggestion, that Getting To Maybe is relevant for Canadian law schools. I've only seen it mentioned through US sources so I've always wondered if the information is also applicable to us. 

Edited by SufficientCondition

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4 minutes ago, SufficientCondition said:

I take it, from your suggestion, that Getting To Maybe is relevant for Canadian law schools. I've only seen it mentioned through US sources so I've always wondered if the information is also applicable to us. 

Some people find it useful, I consider it $20 I shouldn't have spent. You'll be taught the title in your first week of class (instead of 'yes' or 'no', seek out and embrace ambiguity for high grades), and the rest is just repeating the same examples over and over without ever saying what would make an answer better.

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1 hour ago, Hegdis said:

Update all your health stuff - prescriptions, glasses, teeth, get a physical, etc.

There's a growing body of evidence questioning the utility of routine physicals, so I won't sign on to that recommendation. However yes to the rest of this. Especially the dentist if you still have your wisdom teeth. Mine were on the verge of needing to be pulled when I was about to go away to law school, but the dentist said that I could wait. I wish that I hadn't because they popped through during law school and I had to scramble to find a dentist to take them out on an emergency basis.

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Summer before law school I got a job up in the wilderness.  I brought a big collection of classic novels and read through a bunch of them when I wasn't working.  I still feel like that was the best use of my time that summer, and regretted nothing.

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However yes to the rest of this. Especially the dentist if you still have your wisdom teeth.

Agh! An x-ray two years ago showed mine have come in but I don't have insurance.

Financially, it's obviously wise to wait until school starts when I have insurance. But, otherwise, waiting until school starts seems like a horrible idea. 

I was thinking of getting them pulled over the Christmas break of 1L. Hopefully all 4 in one shot. Do you that's a reasonable time?

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Learn/finish learning that language you were always meaning to work on.

Figure out some simple meals to make, if you don't cook for yourself much.

Find a way to become physically active and make it a habit.

Get a good circadian rhythm and sleeping habit going, so you're not up trawling ls.ca at 2 in the morning. 

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I'm a really slow reader, so I'm doing some leisurely reading (nothing law related) to try to improve a little bit.

I'd like to lose some weight and develop the habit of working out regularly, so I'm trying to go to the gym more often. I was on a roll until I hurt my achilles.

I'm occasionally trying out new recipes to find things that are quick and delicious so I'm not on a "student diet" of ramen and pizza in law school.

I'm working on finishing up a writing project that's been on hiatus for a while, recognizing I won't have time once the fall arrives. It's now or never. If I get that done quickly, I might try to better my french, but I'm not super inclined to do so, so...I probably won't.

If I could get an affordable weekend getaway in, I'd be DELIGHTED. Montreal? A cottage? 

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I wish I had gotten into a work out or exercise habit before I started Law School.

Otherwise, I can't understate just how happy I am that I spent some time learning how to touch-type.

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6 hours ago, SneakySuspect said:

Agh! An x-ray two years ago showed mine have come in but I don't have insurance.

Financially, it's obviously wise to wait until school starts when I have insurance. But, otherwise, waiting until school starts seems like a horrible idea. 

I was thinking of getting them pulled over the Christmas break of 1L. Hopefully all 4 in one shot. Do you that's a reasonable time?

I have no idea whether that is reasonable in your case...it would depend on how close they are to coming in, whether all 4 would come in at the same time, how crowded your mouth would be with them (there was NO room for mine, so the inside of my cheek looked like ground beef, which is why I had to get them taken out immediately), etc.

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My big regret is that I didn't travel more and see more of the world before law school and settling down generally. 

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Learning proper meal prep. Trying to figure it out while learning law school at the same time has been an interesting experiment to say the least. 

Otherwise, I'm glad I took a 2-year break in between degrees to live in the non-law world. I travelled on my own, read a lot, and saved money.

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I'm surprised at how many people can't/couldn't cook in law school! I wonder if this is a cultural thing - I learned to cook from my mother and grandmother when I was very young and I'm sure I could make simple healthy meals by myself by the time I was 7 or 8, if not younger. 

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On 3/3/2019 at 9:41 AM, providence said:

I'm surprised at how many people can't/couldn't cook in law school! I wonder if this is a cultural thing - I learned to cook from my mother and grandmother when I was very young and I'm sure I could make simple healthy meals by myself by the time I was 7 or 8, if not younger. 

I'm a recipe cook, but at least I learned basic cooking skills as a child. And even if I hadn't, in school we were taught to cook and plan a healthy meal - I can recall having been surprised that a fellow student in my team had never cut up vegetables before, I just showed him how and suggested he slice at an angle to make the vegetables more decorative.

Mind you, I didn't cook as much as I should have in law school...or now... :rolleyes:

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On 2/28/2019 at 9:18 AM, providence said:

My big regret is that I didn't travel more and see more of the world before law school and settling down generally. 

Would you have gone in debt to travel the world more before law school, not knowing how you'd be financially when/if you got out? (Assuming you paid for school on your own merit)

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4 minutes ago, IrishStew said:

Would you have gone in debt to travel the world more before law school, not knowing how you'd be financially when/if you got out? (Assuming you paid for school on your own merit)

I did pay for school myself, and no, I definitely would not have gone into debt to travel. Not having debt was important to me. I would either have done it on the cheap, done a work abroad program, gone with an organization that takes people abroad, or worked teaching English or doing some kind of international work. Mostly what stopped me was that I didn’t know of these options and I became a mother very young. 

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Catch up on all your TV shows. This way you'll only have 20-40 minutes per show a week. Much better than being trapped in a mid-semester binge.

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