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Preparing for the Spring Semester

You are in the midst of a much-needed break from case books, the Socratic method, and study groups.  It is hard to think about preparing for the inevitable return to the grind of law school.  However, in the midst of sipping eggnog, caroling, opening gifts, and traveling the holiday party circuit, take some time to reflect upon the fall semester with an eye toward having an improved spring semester.  Upon careful reflection you will certainly find specific aspects of your fall term upon which you can improve.


Consider how you handled your daily, weekly, and monthly routine of preparing for classes, papers, and examinations.  Think about how you felt in the days and 2-3 weeks prior to final examinations.  Were you scrambling to outline and understand material?  Or were you comfortable with your level of preparation?  Were your final grades at the level that you need them to be?  If you were closer to the “scrambling” end of the spectrum, winter break provides an opportunity to create a study schedule for the spring semester that will help prevent the end-of-the-semester scramble.  As suggested in Effective Time Management for Law Students, a calendaring system is a good way to help you organize daily, weekly, and monthly study activities.  You should already know what days and times your classes will meet, as well as school holidays.  So take a few moments of the free time that you have now to calendar everything and plan your semester.

How did you mentally and physically feel throughout the semester, during exams, and after the semester ended?  Some level of mental and physical fatigue is natural.  But being completely drained may signal that you needed to take better care of yourself throughout the semester.  As you plan your study schedule build in time for self-care.  Plan to go to the gym a few times a week or go on daily walks during study breaks.  Make a point of eating healthy meals each day and avoiding unhealthy vending machine snacks during extended study sessions.  Work in some “hang-out” time with friends and family every once in a while.  Balance is the key.

If you found that you struggled throughout the fall term despite your consistent, hard work, now is the time to consult with a tutor.  In addition to helping you plan your study schedule for the upcoming semester, a tutor can also help you understand why you struggled and work with you so that you can avoid the same problems during the spring term.

Do enjoy the rest of winter break.  But be mindful that it will not be long before classes will resume.  It is best to start off the semester with a plan for success.


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