After the whirlwind of orientation has passed you will likely be exhausted from all of the introductions, textbook orders, and the dichotomy of impending excitement
and looming anxiety.
And yet, the first day of law school is still before you!
My first day was a cup of inspiring, a tablespoon of excitement, and a dash of dread and regret. Not to worry, the dread and regret faded as I came to terms with the fact that even little old me would make it through.
My First Class!
Civil Procedure was my very first law school class. Our professor, David Marcus was rumored to be one of the most profoundly talented professors at our college. It was honestly intimidating, especially having taken NO prior legal classes. Luckily, I had made a connection with a woman from my small section (who later became one of my best friends) who also preferred the second row. And, she was kind enough to save me from the awkward, “oh can I sit here.”
We braved the second row in the large auditorium together, and IT WAS WORTH IT! I cannot express how beneficial sitting near the front of large classrooms can be. Or at minimum sitting where you have a clear view of the professor and can avoid distractions during class. Plus, being next to another engaged student who encouraged me to raise my hand and ask questions turned out to be invaluable. More on class tactics to come!
This first lecture of civil procedure was extremely engaging and inspiring. Prof. Marcus used his first lectures to dive deep into the civil rights case Walker v. City of Birmingham to illustrate how influential civil procedure is in every case and ultimately affects the lives of those involved.
During our lunch break, I was able to start making friends in the lounge. It was a bit awkward at first, with the standard and almost rehearsed introductions. But eventually the anxieties fade and you can actually begin to get to know your peers. I have a tendency to interrupt when meeting new people (I get really excited and jittery) so my advice would be to actively listen to your potential new friends. You never know who could become your bridesmaid or a clutch study partner. Also, DONT FORGET SNACKS! It may seem dorky to pack lunch or snacks but trust me, being hangry makes it so much harder to make friends.
Contracts-My Not So Exciting Class
After lunch was contracts. Not to be too dorky, but I was actually very excited about contracts and thought it had the potential to be one of my favorite topics. I was wrong. My professor was young and excited to teach his first class but it was a bit chaotic. Our class was full of huge personalities and there was trouble controlling the lecture. In the end, it all worked out and I learned some contracts basics, but this class took a lot of self-directed and supplemental learning.
On the positive end, the more challenging classes create the perfect opportunity to bond with your classmates. You all are bound to suffer together and having teammates will help you with all of the supplemental learning!
After Class Gym Session
Going to the gym after my first day was the perfect counter to all of the underlying stress. Hitting the stair master and barbell squats helped me look past all of the conflicting emotions bound up in my first day of law school and enjoy the fact that I HAD MADE IT THROUGH THE FIRST DAY OF LAW SCHOOL. Somehow sweating helped me realize that I had made it through! Which is just crazy, seeing as how a year prior I would never have guessed that I would now be finishing my first day of law school. The gym is a magical place of clarity!
Reading For The Next Class
Reading for class after having a full day of class took some motivation. Legal reading takes nearly 3X the time of normal reading. Especially in those infantile weeks before you’ve perfected your skimming and case briefing. But, in all honesty, reading after my first day of law school felt inspired. I had made it through the first day and I was determined to conquer the rest of the days!
My first day of law school was full of emotion. From fear of failure to the satisfaction of making it through the first day of law school I ran the emotional gambit.
Just remember that no matter how your first day goes, keep your head up and you will make it through!