While in law school, students experience stress due to a variety of reasons, including the physical and academic rigors of law school, managing a tight student budget, settling into a new city, and juggling time with family, friends and fulfilling internships. A reasonable amount of stress can be productive. Anxiety about being called on in class and the pressure to keep up in each course can push students to devote more time and attention to their studies. However, too much stress can be counterproductive, inhibiting performance and life outside of law school. Below are some tips to help manage stress.
- Plan Ahead. The #1 stress management tip we can offer is to take time at the beginning of each semester, each month, and each week to review the days ahead and to schedule your time. Set down the times for classes, study groups, office hours, upcoming course deadlines, and exams. Commit to specific periods for reading and reviewing for each class, preparing your outlines, and taking practice exams. Do not forget to note any extracurricular, work, and personal appointments, and include blocks of time to tend to errands. Review your monthly calendar each week. By planning ahead and taking the semester one week at a time, you may find your “to do” list less overwhelming, as you will be viewing and completing tasks in “bite-size” pieces rather than considering everything that needs to be completed and accomplished by the end of the semester.
- Stay Consistent. Once you have created a schedule, stick to it. Maintaining a regular schedule will reduce your stress because there will be less uncertainty about how you will spend your time each day, and you have already put thought each month into just how you be prepared for your classes while still tending to personal matters and finding balance.
- Take care of yourself – physically and emotionally. Be sure to schedule time daily or weekly for activities that are enjoyable to you. Take some time each day, if only 20 minutes, for a break from your studies entirely. Having this time scheduled in your calendar will actually make you more productive. Also, be sure to eat a balanced diet, try to exercise regularly, and get on a regular sleep schedule. After every productive week, reward yourself with a simple pleasure, such as a long hike, a visit to a museum, or watching a favorite movie with friends.
- Be selective – surround yourself with positive and supportive individuals. While in law school, it is important to find a family member, friend, or mentor who is a good listener and will motivate you during challenging times. At the same time, do your part and keep conversations with your classmates positive, and use your time together to motivate and support each other, rather than to increase competitiveness and anxiety.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Academic Support Program to seek additional support with managing stress to ensure you remain as effective as possible while in law school.