Whether we like it or not summer is ending 😭. Which means school is right around the corner. As we get closer and closer, I know anxieties are high. That was the case for me anyways as July was ending. The first day is always a nervous day, despite what anyone tells you to calm you down. You can't help it. So many new things coming at you at once. It's just so hard to embrace sudden change. But you will, and you will adjust. You're going to be fine, I promise.
There's no syllabus week in law school
I hate to deliver disappointing news, but yeah its long gone. But don't worry that doesn't mean all is at a loss. Professors will jump into things right away, but they do understand that this is your first time adapting to this new style of teaching. They will be mindful but its also important you do your readings and briefs just incase you get called on. The readings might seem tough at first, but just take your time and get through them the best you can and you'll be okay. Slow and steady is the key here.
Don't be afraid of the cold call.
A cold call is when the professor calls on you in class. Most law schools practice the Socratic method, which essentially is when the students teach the class at the direction of the professor. At my school, we have slides that are required to be posted for us weekly. It might seem scary, but cold calls are really designed to help you understand the case. The professor will guide you with what they're looking for, or in other words, what the biggest takeaway is.
It's normal to be nervous. If you aren't nervous then honestly, I would be worried for you. But its okay. Don't worry about what other people are thinking. Chances are everyone will feel the same way as you if they were called on.
Most schools will start calling the first week of class. So I would just be ready incase your name is selected. If you have your brief done, I would just go based off of that. It's okay if the brief isn't perfect, saying something is better than nothing. I didn't get called on until my second semester, and I was so nervous about it even after the cold call. But the truth is, once it's done, it's done. You have nothing to worry about.
Your classes will be bigger than in undergrad
I went to a rather small undergrad. My average class size was like 30 students. In law school, my class was 150. It was a rather big learning curve for me. With larger classes, its tougher because teachers don't have time to answer everyone's questions. But never fear! Office hours are a law student's best friend. I just wanted to point out class size, because it can be a little intimidating walking into a large class.
Listen, everyone is stressed, anxious and worried about their first day. Kindness goes a long way with someone, even when someone isn't necessarily a kind person back. There are going to be people you won't like in class: law school is a competitive environment. Just be nice, show up, be happy and positive and I promise it'll be okay.
Pack snacks and bring water!
Snacking was something I didn't do in undergrad because the dining hall was right there as well as any corner shops. But in law school, buying snacks gets expensive and its not as convenient as you think. Also you will get hungry because your brain is literally working every day. So just have something you can easily grab and eat in class.
Hydration is everything! Most schools start in August, and it can get super hot and humid in those classrooms. You can get so caught up in all the exciting things going on around you, that you might forget to eat or drink water. So it's so important to have that with you. Also fun fact, water helps ease stress, which you will have on your first day (only good stress though!). Water helps lower cortisol levels, which get higher as you become more stressed.
I've said this in many other posts and I'll say this again. You should be excited. This is an amazing time in your life and you're SO close to your career. Law school is hard but overcoming challenges is what growth and being a good human is about.
Here's a photo of my first day!
I was so nervous but I quickly realized I wasn't alone in that! Everyone around you is scared and nervous too, but you will be okay.
It only gets easier from there, I promise.