We asked members of the Rutgers Law School community, including 2Ls and 3Ls in an Instagram Q&A and alumni on LinkedIn, for their best advice for incoming 1L law students. Take a look at the top tips for thriving in law school from the people who lived it.
Your professors are there to help.
- "Try to personally connect with your professors. They can really help you."
- "Don't be afraid to ask your professors for help early on if you need it."
- "Learn how to ask for help. Your professors are available, as are the administrators."
- "Meet with your professors. Think of it like meeting with your boss–you need to know what your boss wants from you in order to do well."
- "You are not in it alone. There is always someone here to help, whether it be your family, your friends, or Rutgers Law faculty and staff."
It's okay to practice self-care.
- "Give yourself some time to watch TV or Netflix and don't feel guilty about it."
- "Make plans to regularly meet friends outside of school."
- "Make sure you carve out time for fun!"
- "Exercise regularly. Your body and mind will thank you."
- "Begin of regimen of self-care that includes regular exercise, meditation, and reasonable eating habits. Law school is stressful, but practicing law is even more so. Learning to deal with stress through positive habits will help you throughout your career."
Law school can be a competitive place where you’re constantly hearing your classmates talk about their study habits, sleep (or lack thereof) habits, their outlines, their grades… the list goes on. Don't listen. Constant comparison can drive you nuts and will make you second guess what you’re doing. Trust what works for you and stick with it.
Deal with stress constructively.
- "Don’t let the sheer amount of material and work paralyze you. Continue to chip away little by little and day by day."
- "You will be OKAY. Take a deep breath occasionally and mostly just do the readings."
Starting early can help with time management.
- "Start outlining early!"
- "Start your Legal Writing assignments early–you won't, but it's great advice."
- "Take the time early to find a good study spot or study buddies."
- "Seriously, read."
- "Study! Your career options in the future will be only limited by your imagination if you succeed that first year."
Always remember that there are resources available here at Rutgers Law – from our faculty and administrators, to your fellow students. In class, never hesitate to ask questions if there is something you do not understand, especially in your first year. Chances are, many of your classmates have the same questions. If you do not feel comfortable asking in class, stop into office hours. Outside of class, try to expand your horizons – join an organization (but not all of them), and make connections with your classmates. The student sitting behind you in Torts may become your law partner 10 years from now. Remember, you are all in this together and we are here to help.
Make friends with your classmates.
- "Remember that your classmates will be your future colleagues and act accordingly."
- "It cannot be over-stated that how you are viewed by your classmates and professors in law school WILL have an indelible effect on your career."
- "Each and every person in that room is not just a potential friend but a future source of referrals for your law career. Make meaningful, lasting relationships in law school that will not only be good for your soul, but eventually good for your legal practice."
- "Treat your classmates, professors, faculty, and staff with respect and courtesy from deans to the janitorial staff as every one of us need them and they all work hard to make our lives as easy as possible."
Don't be afraid to reach out to your peers or alumni network.
- "Reach out to alumni in practice groups that you're interested in and ask to get coffee!"
- "Sometimes it's easier to ask a 2L/3L than to waste time trying to find an answer on your own."
- "Don’t suffer in silence, there is an upperclassman or a member of the faculty that has answers to your questions."
You are enough–but you have to let yourself be vulnerable. Law school can be soul and ego-crushing, and yet it can also be the most gratifying experience. We are truly blessed and privileged to be here. Since you are here, you are enough.
"Law student" is just one of the many hats you wear in life.
- "Know that your GPA does not define you."
- "Stay grounded. Law school is not the only part of your life. You'll be just fine!!"
When in doubt, remember to breathe.
- "Remember to take a deep breath when you need to!"
- "Don't psych yourself out. You'll be fine!"
Other tips from the Rutgers Law community.
- "Read your emails regularly."
- "Get a locker (or find a chiropractor.)"
- "Expect and embrace uncertainty."
- "Just do it."
- "Make yourselves proud!"