20 Things to Do Before Your First Day of Law School

The start of school is fast approaching. For all those soon to be 1L's, this is a very exciting and nerve wracking time. As a list maker, I am always writing lists of what all I have to do before _____ (whatever is coming up). This time last year, I had lists all over my house of all the things I needed to do before starting my 1L year. To help all the new 1L's (and even 2Ls and 3Ls), I have compiled all of that into one big master list of the things you need to do before starting law school... I included some GIF's to hopefully keep you laughing and keep the stress level low. Also, I included a printable checklist to help! I hope it helps!

Download here

1. Buy Books 
Don't wait until the last minute to buy books. The University bookstore is usually more expensive and if you start early you can find better deals online.

2. Organize Financial Aid
Make sure your finances, whatever they may be, are in order so that you can start school in the clear! It never hurts to double check even if you did this previously.

3. Scope Out Parking
Nothing is worse than getting to school on the first day and making yourself late by not finding a parking spot or not knowing where to park. Make a point to scope out the parking situation and ask upperclassmen how the parking is when school is in session (busy times, etc.). This way you can arrive on your first day knowing what to expect parking wise.

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Don't pull a Ross
4. Buy School Supplies
Go get your folders, binders, notebooks, highlighters, etc. Make sure everything is organized and ready to go for your first day. If you wait too long, the stores will be super picked over and the good stuff will be gone. More info on school supplies here. Also, get a planner. Trust me- you absolutely need one to stay sane and organized in law school.

5. Sign up for Lexis Nexis
You can sign up for Lexis Nexis and start earning rewards points before school even starts! They offer many videos and information that may help with your first day reading as well.

6. Pick out a First Day Outfit 
Maybe I am extra crazy, but I have always made a point to pick out the perfect first day of school outfit. I feel like it sets the tone for the semester. Especially for your first day of law school, this is your first impression to your classmates so you want to make it a good one. Take 10 minutes and put together a killer outfit that makes you feel confident and bad ass to rock on your first day!

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7. Print Syllabi 
Print your class syllabi and figure out what each teacher is looking for. Can you use a computer? Is there a midterm? What is the first reading assignment? You can take all the dates and assignments and add them to your planner. It is good to go into day one with an idea of what your professor is looking for and news flash, law school doesn't really do syllabus day so it is up to you- they won't spoon feed it to you like undergrad.

8. Complete First Day Reading
Finish your first-day reading assignments sooner rather than later. Don't wait until the night before- you will go crazy. Start early and spread it out over a bit of time so you can slowly acclimate to the massive amounts of reading. Take good notes because you never know who will be the first person cold called. You do not want to recreate that famous scene from the movie The Paper Chase.

9. Double Check Classroom Locations
Once in undergrad, I went to my first day of class only to find a locked classroom and no other students. I quickly double checked the classroom online and realized it had been changed since I had last checked a week or so before classes started. Needless to say, I ended up running across campus and being late for my first day of class. To avoid this, double check classroom locations the night before your classes. You do not want to be late to your first law school classes; it makes for a poor first impression and you will get a crappy seat.

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Don't be this guy

10. Make Laptop Updates
Make sure any updates are done to your laptop before starting classes. You don't want it to suddenly decide to complete that update you have been putting off in the middle of your first class while you are typing out notes.

11. Pack a Tote/Bookbag
I always like to have my chosen bag packed and ready to go the night before an event or in this case, the first day of classes. It makes me feel prepared and less stressed. I suggest packing your tote or bookbag ahead of time to make sure you have everything you need and to make the first morning a little smoother. Also it is good to know if everything will fit or not and if you need to reevaluate what bag you carry. Here is everything I keep in my law school book bag: Whats in My Bookbag- Law School Edition.

12. Invest in a Lunchbox
Packing a daily lunch saves you soooo much money over going out to eat every day. It is also healthier than getting fast food all the time. Go ahead and invest in a lunchbox- you will not be sorry!

13. Decide on a Study Space
I knew from the beginning I would primarily study at home. Therefore, I set up a home office to be my study space. Decide you a place where you will study productively and without distractions and plan on it. If you decide on the library, plan to head there after classes to finish the next days reading. If it is at home, have your desk clean and organized so you can come home from the first classes and get to work. If it is a local coffee shop or cafe, put aside $5-10 to treat yourself while you study there. Wherever you decide to study, plan on it and try to stick to it from the start. You may find that you original plan didn't work and there is no harm in changing up your study location. Just figure out a plan and try to stick to it. It helps to form a routine.

14. Explore Your New City
Not everyone moves to a new city for law school but many do. Before classes start and you get caught up in the hustle of 1L year, try to do some exploring in your new city. Try some restaurants, find a cute coffee shop, find the closest and most well stocked target and if you have time check out some local attractions such as zoo's and museums. It is nice to take some time to become familiar with your new city and gain some affinity for it. After all, you will be spending 3 years here so get comfortable.

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15. Prep a Few Meals
I am super into meal planning/prepping. It saves me so much time and stress to have everything planned out ahead of time for what we are eating for the week. I have an entire blog post all about my meal planning and prepping (view it here). Your first few days (and probably weeks) of law school will be hectic and stressful. I suggest stocking up on a groceries ahead of time and planning some easy meals, lunches and snacks so you aren't stressing about cooking or spending a bunch of money on fast food the first little bit of law school.

16. Fill Your Gas Tank
Confession time: I was almost late to my first day of law school classes because I had to stop and get gas last minute because I didn't realize it was low. Avoid my mistake and go into the first day of classes with a full tank of gas... no matter how broke tuition has made you.

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17. Do a Social Media Clean Up
Law school is your first foray into the legal community and your classmates will likely become a part of your professional community. It is a good idea to make a little clean up of your social media accounts: remove pictures featuring lots of alcohol (a glass of wine is usually okay), crazy college party pictures, swear words, excessive amounts of selfies, etc. You want people to see a professional image when they search your social media pages (because you know they will be after orientation). You don't want your first impressions to be marked by some old stuff on social media accounts. Another idea is to put strong privacy settings on or change you name on social media but millennials are as bad as the FBI- if they want to find your social media, they will. It is a good practice to start cleaning up your social media now because future jobs will also look at social media accounts and you want a professional image.

18. Rest Up
Law school usually leads to less sleep than you may prefer. Sleep in while you can and take a few naps. You want to start out feeling rested and ready to rock!

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19. Relax
Law school is stressful and hectic and relaxation time will be a rare treat. Take some time now to relax and do things you enjoy.

20. Treat Yo' Self
Along with resting and relaxing, it's great to pamper yourself before law school starts. Go for a mani-pedi if you can afford it or just do it at home. Get your eyebrows waxed and maybe a fresh hairdo. Take a bubble bath and do a face mask. Go for a shopping trip and grab Starbucks. Pamper yourself now because you are about to put your mind to quite a challenge. Channel your inner Tom and Donna and treat yo' self.

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Enjoy these last few weeks before law school but make sure you get everything done so you are not scrambling at the last minute. Good luck!

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