Tomorrow marks the first day of Foundations of Legal Study week for incoming 1Ls, as well as the start of their law school careers. FLS is designed to give you the basics you will need to succeed as a law student, to acquaint you with the law school culture, and to introduce you to the legal community. Everyone is nervous and many might feel lost during this busy week. Here are a few tips to get the most out of orientation.
Don’t stress out if you don’t catch everything.
This week you will be bombarded by new terminology and concepts that might make your head spin. Don’t feel bad when you don’t understand or can’t quite grasp everything yet. It will all sink in as you progress through the semester.
Don’t change your study habits (completely).
In the next few days, you will attend lectures about studying, note taking, and making outlines which might make you think you need to change your entire approach to studying. Valery Giebel, a 3L student, says “my best advice is don’t give up the study habits that got [you] to where [you] are. Be sure to keep incorporating what [you] did before.” She also recommends going to library early on in the semester to get familiar with supplements. Once you find a brand you like, go with it. “If you wait too long then supplements are worthless.” However, Valery makes sure to point out that class notes will always beat supplements.
Relax and make friends.
One thing that some upperclassmen regret is not taking the time to meet their fellow classmates. Don’t be shy! Orientation is one of the best times to make connections. Every law school places great emphasis on the importance of networking or forming study groups, but keep in mind that it will likely be your friends that will get you through the tough times in law school. On the other hand, don’t feel like you have to make friends with every person you meet or that you have to establish a group of friends right away. If you don’t meet your best friend during FLS week, don’t worry – there are still plenty of opportunities down the line.
Talk to the faculty and staff.
Professors really do love meeting students. So don’t be shy about approaching them. They are the ones that will help you become a lawyer and very often can be the ones to get you job opportunities down the road. You may also have them as professors multiple times so it is a good idea to establish a good relationship with them now. This is one thing many students fail to do until it is too late. The same goes for the staff. You will interact with them on an almost a daily basis and they will help you tremendously during your time here. (And more than once they will get you out of a predicament!)
You will be visiting and interacting with many different people this week. Each meeting is a unique opportunity to ask questions, get advice, and learn more about the legal community. Upperclassmen at orientation are eager to dole out their tidbits of wisdom and will gladly discuss just about anything with you. The faculty and staff are also there for you. If someone can’t help you, they will find someone who can. Remember that law school is an investment and you should use every resource available to you!
Have fun and good luck on your first week as a law student!