Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hints to improve law school performance

In my first semester of law school I was in the top 5% of my class.  I had fallen in the second semester, still landing a very respectable and high position.  However, I asked myself: why did my grades go down during the second semester?  Here are some of the answers I came up with, and applying them has helped me greatly in doing well in law school as a transfer student.  (I imagine part of the reason my grades did slip was because I was preoccupied with transferring, which in itself is hard work.)

Also, if you are looking to transfer law schools or are in law school now, you would do well to follow some of this advice.

1.  Create a study schedule and try to stick with it.

2.  Live close to your school or if you can not, find the quickest and easiest commute.  Can you take the bus?  If so, are you able to study on the bus?  If the answer is a yes, you may want to consider it over driving.

3.  Do not allow yourself to get stressed.  Don't spend more than you have to, live below your means, save money for emergencies.  If you are living on student loans, try to set aside 10% for an emergency and save as much as you can for the summer time in case you have trouble finding work.  Financial stress is one of the most common causes on law school stress.

4.  Become excited about learning the law, and about studying.  Make note cards, become creative, enjoy making outlines, tell yourself everyday that you are becoming more intelligent, learning to reason better, write better, and think better.  Take the time to learn new words and use them.  Be proud of every accomplishment you make.  It is hard, and you may sometimes hate it, but always remind yourself that you are bettering yourself with each day.

5.  Do not get behind!  It is important to stay on top of your classes.  However, you may find yourself getting behind.  If so, I am planning on creating a guide in the future to help those who are behind in their classes.

6.  Don't save the studying for the end of the semester.  You will have a huge advantage over your peers if you study early and regularly.  Many people don't go to the library or read the cases more than once until the end, when they go back and try to learn everything quickly.  If you take just this piece of advice, you will probably already be ahead of 50% of your class.

7.  Don't worry about study groups, they are not important for everyone.  Some people like them, some hate them.  Don't stress if you can't get in one for some reason, whether it be you're too shy, or you are too busy.  You'll get good grades regardless, as long as you put in the effort.

8.  Ignore the naysayers and scamblogs.  They will only make you feel awful.  Try to think as positive as you can, but do remind yourself that it is tough out there, but only to motivate yourself.

9.  Don't surf the internet in class and if possible get rid of distractions such as Facebook (see during your first semester.  This helped me a lot, as I found myself paying attention.  If you get bored in class for some reason, rewrite your notes, study on the topic the teacher is speaking about, or research further on topic.

10.  Don't be afraid to be called on.  Most likely it won't affect your grade one bit if you are not prepared.  Don't feel that you have to perform for the class.  It has no bearing on anything other than looking good.

11.  Cut back on working if you do work, or don't work if possible.  For many this is not an option, but ask yourself if you need the extra money from work, or if you want to further your law school investment by giving up some of the money you could make.  The ABA rule is do not work more than 20 hours a week.   However, I would say anything beyond 10 is undesirable. 

Also, if you are planning to transfer, try to not obsess over it.  In my second semester I spent a lot of time thinking about how I was going to get letters of recommendation,write a personal statement, and move to another state.  While these things are important, you should still keep your studies as priority number 1.

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While in law school I traveled the world.  Puerto Rico.  Egypt.  Israel.  The Netherlands.  All over the United States.  Costa Rica.  Panama... How, you ask?  I found ways to make money on the side.  One of those ways was hosting my apartment on AirBnB.  If you have an extra room, this is a perfect way to make some extra cash.

Since law school, I have traveled to dozens of countries for pleasure with my family.  It's not rocket science.  You just need to know how to start some side hustles.  Another one of my favorite ways to make money is buying and selling stocks and cryptocurrency on Robinhood.  Join now and get a free stock through this link:  Join Robinhood and Get a Free Stock!

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