Ten years ago I graduated college. Ack! I remember graduation day so vividly because I was so excited about what was to come—law school, finally! If I had only known just how difficult my summer was going to be, I don’t think I would have been as excited.
I’ve mentioned before that summer before law school was incredibly difficult. There were a lot of family issues happening that made things very tight, financially. Literally, I scraped together my final deposit check through what then seemed like a miracle. It was really touch and go.
All that uncertainty about whether I would even be able to enroll into law school, put me in a really different mental state once I did start. Add to all this that I actually had NO CLUE what law school really entailed and it was a nice formula for a lot of stumbling through my next three years.
If I could go back and give myself advice I would have a lot to say, but instead I’ll share with all you prelaws how to prepare your summer before law school.
One. Get your money right. Like seriously, this needs to be a number one concern as you prepare for the fall semester. There are a lot of hidden costs outside of a deposit and books. Are you relocating? Do you have all the necessary school supplies—especially big items like a computer. Commuting costs? This was difficult for me, because in college, the money I earned in the summer helped set me up for the new academic year. But since I participated in a prelaw program, I earned no money that summer—making things real difficult when it came time to move to a new city and start school. To avoid this, map everything out now and figure out your budget.
Two. Get your mindset right. Starting law school is exciting and also can be overwhelming. I was so ecstatic to enroll that for a long time I just felt “lucky” to be there and kind of undeserving, unlike all my classmates who (in my mind) obviously deserved to be there. I wish I had realized sooner that I deserved to be there, just like everyone else. That I was just as smart and capable. But I didn’t get my mind right and for a long time every defeat felt appropriate. Does that make sense? Like when I failed to make a team or my grade wasn’t that great, it made sense to me because in my mind I didn’t really deserve to be there. That wasn’t really true and it’s not true for you! Don’t forget that you have earned your seat and are capable of doing great things in school.
Three. Do your research. Looking back, I had no idea about law school processes. I dependent wholly on just what other students shared and what the career center rolled out. I had no idea that summer jobs were important (and necessary). I had no idea that I should seek out mentors. No clue that examples & explanations were a thing that everyone else was using to help them understand the topic.
Ok so I don’t want to come off like I was a complete idiot. Like I knew summer jobs were a thing, but I had no idea the culture of it. How hard core and intense it is. Hello, up until that point I had applied for jobs when I returned home from college to work for the summer. When in my life had anyone I known applied for jobs six months before a start date?! It just didn’t compute.
So if I were to go back, knowing what I know, I would go with a game plan. After getting into a groove of how to study, my next goal would be figuring out what summer job I wanted so that I have everything ready by the fall. Likewise, I would plan to attend events and participate in programs that may help give me an advantage in find opportunities/mentors.
Of course, I can’t go back. Now, I see all the bumps and bruises as a good thing because if law school had been smooth sailing for me, I wouldn’t be writing here & I really adore this community. But still, that summer was rough…