Law School Survival Tips

BYU Law’s Admissions Office hosted a seminar on tips for surviving law school for admitted students on Thursday, June 23, 2016. During the meeting, 2Ls Ashley Smith and Jacob McRae shared their advice for successfully managing the first year. Following their comments, students had the opportunity to ask questions in person or via webinar.

Smith began the session by giving some practical advice for academic success. She encouraged students to make their own outlines, take a lot of practice exams, and find an alternate location to study, especially in the weeks leading up to finals.

Smith also gave students some “big picture” advice. She said, “Have a hobby and consistently spend time with it.” As a professional musician, she talked about her need to make time for music each week.

Smith also encouraged incoming 1Ls to be comrades, not competitors. “You’re going to need your classmates. Be kind. Help other people,” she said.
Finally, she advised students to keep everything in perspective. “This is not going to be the hardest year of your life,” she said. Smith encouraged students to work hard in law school but not at the expense of neglecting important relationships with friends and family.

Following Smith, McRae shared some lessons he learned from his first year of law school. The first was to “follow your heart.” He explained that it is vital for students to involve themselves in what will be personally meaningfully rather than trying to join every co-curricular available or attend every lecture. “You will burn out if you try to do everything,” he said.

His second piece of advice was to exercise and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables in order to promote better studying, increased happiness, and general health.
Next, he advised students to be grateful for the opportunity of law school. “It’s easy to think you’re the busiest person,” he said. Rather than focusing on yourself, McRae advised students to observe the people around them and serve them.

Finally, McRae counseled students to turn to the Office of Career Services, professors, and administrators at the law school who can give valuable advice rather than just peers.