Pre-Law Bucket List
17 Fun, Healthy, and Productive Things To Do The Summer Before Starting Law School
Are you getting ready to go to law school in the fall? First off, congratulations! You are about to embark on one of the most challenging—but incredibly exciting and rewarding—chapters in your life! While there will be no shortage of work to do once law school begins, you can do a number of things the summer before starting law school to make your transition as seamless as possible. These things generally are grouped into one of two categories: relaxation and having fun or preparation items such as building skills and forming good habits. We recommend finding a balance between the two so that you are well prepared for what lies ahead!
To help narrow it down for you, we compiled the ultimate bucket list with our top 17 things to do the summer before law school.
Pre-Law Bucket List
17 Fun, Healthy, and Productive Things To Do The Summer Before Starting Law School
1. Take a law school prep course.
Although you can choose to not prepare at all the summer before law school and still get top grades (as many law students have!), if nothing else, taking a law school prep course could give you some peace of mind. Our free law school prep course is a great way to get a jumpstart on the year ahead! Not only does it teach you how to succeed academically in law school but it also touches on topics you probably want to know about, such as whether to join law review or the differences between an internship at a firm and a judicial clerkship. By taking a prep course, you can lower anxiety and increase your confidence prior to your first day of class!
2. Spend time with family and friends.
You have probably already been warned that law school (unfortunately) will limit your social life. Law school is a great deal of work, requiring much of your time, energy, and focus. You’ll likely have to make the difficult decision to skip some social events, particularly as exam time approaches. Prioritizing your relationships the summer before law school is key as you might not have the ability to spend as much time with family and friends during the school year. This is especially important because having a strong support system during law school is invaluable.
Have conversations with loved ones to explain the expected shift in your time and schedule. Let them how much they mean to you. Explain how they can best support you. Talking it out the summer before law school will help ensure that your relationships are not negatively impacted during the school year.
3. Go on a vacation.
Doing some traveling is a great way to spend some time before embarking on law school! If there is somewhere you’ve been wanting to go to, then go! Since your free time will be limited during law school, now is the time. Use your summer before law school wisely to visit family in another state, go on a road trip, travel out of the country, hike in the mountains—whatever it is that appeals to you. As an added bonus, vacations are relaxing and will get you into a positive mindset for the year ahead.
4. Take a “staycation.”
Do you have concerns about spending money on a vacation? Or is the thought of going away somewhere just not that appealing to you? Plan a “staycation!” A staycation is exactly what it sounds like—time off spent at or close to home. Below are a few ideas for staycations that are perfect to take during the summer before law school.
- Go to the beach for a relaxing day in the sun
- Take a hike in the mountains, or even just a nearby trail
- Visit a local museum to soak up art or history or sports knowledge
- Treat yourself to self-care at a spa
- Watch your favorite sports team play a game
- See a show—whether it’s opera, ballet, theater, or even just a movie
- Go camping
- Stay at a bed and breakfast
- Visit a state, local, or national park
- Spend the day at a local amusement park
- Take a cooking class
- Go on a day cruise
There are so many staycation possibilities. Regardless of what you choose to do, the idea is simply to do something that you will enjoy!
5. Establish (or maintain) healthy habits.
Your mental health and physical health are key to a positive law school experience, particularly habits that help release endorphins and relieve stress! The month before law school is the perfect time for you to establish (or maintain) habits that will help you stay healthy in law school. Some suggestions for habits are below:
- Develop an exercise routine
- Join a gym
- Start meditating
- Learn to cook healthy meals (or if you hate cooking, find some healthy menu options from your favorite food spots!)
- Build up a good sleep schedule
- Craft a law school study schedule
Not sure if you’re mentally prepared? Check out our posts on how to know if you are mentally ready for law school and 5 things to do now to get ready for law school.
6. Read for pleasure.
You are about to spend the next few years reading law school textbooks. Although law school is reading intensive, the material can be dry and tedious. You’ll have less time to read those novels and memoirs that you enjoy. Take advantage of the time you have the summer before law school to read for FUN. Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of captivating fantasies, suspenseful mysteries, and touching love stories. Reading for pleasure also helps ensure that the start of the semester (and all the reading that comes along with it) is less of a shock to the system.
7. Read law-related books.
As the first day of the semester approaches, you’re likely becoming more and more curious about what to expect and how to handle everything law school throws out at you. What are the top time management techniques? How can you crush cold calling? What are the best methods for taking notes and outlining for exams? The questions are endless! The summer before law school is the perfect time to read law-related books that can answer some (or maybe even all!) of the questions weighing on your mind. Check out our recommendations of books to read before law school here!
8. Read a LOT.
By doing some extensive reading, you’re training yourself o read critically and think analytically—whether you realize it or not! How? Reading a variety of material exposes you to different perspectives, methods of thinking, and world views. The more you see those differences, the more you can critically analyze them. Since you will be reading a ton of material in law school, it is important to start exposing yourself to different material and thinking critically the summer before law school!
9. Boost your savings.
Saving money during the summer before law school helps ensure that you have a less stressful school year. 1L students typically are discouraged from working because the 1L year is such a huge learning curve and the work can be incredibly time-consuming. Because your 1L grades are extremely important in law school, the more that you can save up before you start school so that you don’t need to worry financially, the better. Want to read more on this topic? Here’s a post dedicated to the pros and cons of working during law school.
10. Create a budget.
Creating a budget goes hand in hand with saving money. As we noted, it is typically recommended that 1L students do not keep jobs during their first year of law school. Even if you work during your 2L and 3L years, you likely are on a limited income. Creating a budget during the summer before law school that you can stick to once school starts gives you one less thing to worry about!
11. Enjoy the outdoors.
Spend time outside, whether at the beach, at a park, in the mountains—anywhere! A lot of your time during the school year will be spent inside for class, studying at the library, etc. Take advantage of the summer weather and enjoy the outdoors!
12. Binge-watch your favorite TV shows.
Sometimes you just need to do something mindless like binge-watching TV. The mental break that TV provides can be just as important as more active activities. Use your time during the summer before law school to re-watch your favorite TV shows. Or check out the top-rated new series and watch it before spoiler alerts start appearing. Don’t feel guilty for spending some time watching TV instead of doing something that may seem more productive (just don’t spend too much time in front of a screen!).
13. Do something different.
Perhaps the summer before starting law school can be a time to get out of your comfort zone. Have you always wanted to start a new hobby? Perhaps you’ve wanted to take up knitting or painting or photography or beekeeping. Or are you passionate about helping others? Maybe you’ve always wanted to do volunteer work but never found the time for it. Whatever it is, now is the time to do something different! Not only will you get to check a goal off your list, doing something different will also teach you to step outside of your comfort zone—which you will do often in law school. The courage and confidence built from doing something different will help you to face the challenges ahead!
14. Do some supply shopping.
The summer before law school is the perfect time to buy supplies. You’ve probably done back to school shopping every year prior—law school is no different! Obviously, you should purchase all your textbooks and any other required class materials. Aside from that, think about what you need or prefer to have at your disposal.
- Pens or pencils
- Page tabs
- Water bottle and coffee mug
And so on! Check out our post with 7 essentials to add to your law school shopping list here.
15. Read blog posts written by those who have already completed law school.
Why read blog posts about law school? In addition to typically being short and to the point (making them an easy read), they also are chock full of helpful advice and tips! Even more importantly, blog posts about law school are typically written by people who are currently in or already graduated from law school, so you get knowledge directly from the source.
Our blog posts cover a multitude of topics that can answer any questions you may have—and some you probably haven’t even considered yet. The best part is that you can search for the topics you are looking for. Click the link to explore our blog posts here!
16. Make a law school bucket list.
We’ve compiled this summer before law school bucket list for you so that you can prepare and set yourself up for success! But it doesn’t end there—the real work has just begun! Looking beyond summer, think about what you want to accomplish during law school. Having goals to work toward is a great motivator and will help you be the best law student you can be!
Below are a few ideas to include in your law school bucket list, starting with your first days of school through to your last.
- Participate in orientation activities
- Make new friends
- Form/participate in a study group
- Survive cold calling
- Attain a top 1L class rank
- Attend networking events
- Take a bar prep course
- Obtain a clerkship
- Graduate with a high GPA
Want to read more about law school bucket lists? Check out our post on figuring out your law school goals!
17. Rest up!
Lastly (but certainly not least), rest up! Although it may be tempting to soak up all the knowledge you can before law school begins, you are about to embark on an exhausting and challenging few years. So, you don’t want to burn yourself out before it even begins! Take adequate time to rest up the summer before law school so that you are refreshed and in your best physical and mental state. Because it is difficult to succeed if your physical and mental health are poor, this might even be our most important bucket list item of them all!
The summer before law school is an exciting time. You are on the brink of starting a new chapter in your life. We hope you take full advantage of the bucket list ideas to set yourself up for a great law school experience! If you are looking for more advice on how to get ready for law school, here’s a post from a law student who graduated #1 in her class with 5 things to do now to get ready for law school!
We hope this post on things to do the summer before starting law school is helpful. Good luck!