As we roll into the second month of school, the work load is picking up and so is the advice. I’m sure all of you have already heard plenty of advice of how to be a successful law student. From how to prepare to the LSAT to how to take your first exams, most law students are full of advice and stories. While a lot of times this advice may come in handy, you should remember to take it with a grain of salt. While I don’t believe a law student would ever willfully mislead you by giving false advice, you need to remember that worked for them won’t necessarily work for you. It is important to find a method that allows you to learn and remember the material assigned in class and then to follow that method even if it is different from what everyone else is doing.
Sometimes it can be scary to be doing your own thing, especially when your classmates start telling stories. However, it is important to remember that a lot of law students have what I fondly refer to as one-up-itis. This is a common disease at law school which causes law students to feel like they should always tell a better story or offer better advice than the last student. If one student stayed up until midnight to finish a paper you can bet the next student stayed up until two in the morning. As a 1L I found a pattern that was working for me but was quite different than what other students were doing. At first I was concerned that I was different from others. I was especially concerned that while I was getting 8 hours of sleep a night my classmates were working through the night. I would have changed the way I did things but I was understanding the material and when I tried to stay up all night to work I would fall asleep in class. In the end, the only way to know if the way you study works for you is to wait for exams. Or if you don’t want to wait until your whole grade is hanging in the balance, I would recommend doing practice exams. Practice exams allow you to test what you know and get feedback from your professor. This is an awesome tool because you can evaluate your study pattern and see if you need to adjust it in a safe, grade free setting. In conclusion, find what works for you and do that. If you tie your shoe with a bow don’t change that no matter how many people tell you that a double knot is the best way to do it, because you can bet the next law student will tell you they only use the triple knot.