What Should I Do Over My Law School Thanksgiving Break?
Thanksgiving break is a nice time to study for your law school classes but it may also be a very busy time. You may either be traveling or you may have relatives or friends coming into town who expect you to spend time with them. You also probably certainly crave a break since (most of you have your legal writing memos turned in!) and you finally have a second to breathe!
The temptation to take time off is usually countered with a feeling that you should be studying, outlining, or practicing exam questions. Indeed, most law students feel a very real tension between relaxing/spending time with family and outlining or studying for their law school final exams. Family and friends who are not in law school can make this worse since they will wonder why you are not partaking in every activity.
The Ideal Law School Thanksgiving Break Schedule:
We recommend that you study over Thanksgiving break, if possible, but that you also take time off. The ideal law school Thanksgiving break schedule is as follows:
- It is best to choose a couple activities to partake in and truly allow yourself to take a break. Go to Thanksgiving dinner for a couple of hours on Thursday. Pick and choose a few things to do or people to see. This will help rejuvenate you for the rest of the semester (and final exams!) which are coming right up. It will also help you to study more effectively when you do sit down to study.
- However, make it a point to also set aside some time to study. We recommend you make a schedule of when you will study and what you will do (i.e. maybe on Thursday you will work on your Civil Procedure outline, and Friday you will start on your Contracts outline and complete a couple of practice questions.) If you have set times to study and already know what you expect to get done during those times, you are much more likely to do it than if you just tell yourself “maybe I’ll study for a few hours today.”
- Start early. The earlier you can make yourself get up to study, the better off you will be! Most people focus pretty well in the morning. There are also less distractions. Lastly, you will feel better about your day and start it off on the right foot if you are able to wake up early and check items off your to-do list.
- Find a good study environment. If you have people staying at your house or if you are a guest somewhere, sneak off to a library or coffee shop (preferably in the morning!). Find a place to go where you can focus for a few hours.
- Tell your family and friends your plan. Tell your parents, siblings, friends, and anyone else that you plan on taking a break and spending time with them but that you will not be spending every second of the day with them. Explain why and do not listen to people who try to make you feel guilty.
The schedule above is nice because you have some study-time but you also take some time off. It is a nice balance and will help you keep your sanity while still being productive!
I don’t have time to study at all over my Law School Thanksgiving break. What should I do?
If you don’t have time to study, you are not alone. Even many people who do have time to study sometimes find it much harder than anticipated and get less done than expected. We recommend that if your weekend is really booked up, that you simply take some time to make a schedule for the rest of the semester.
When will you get your outlines done? When will you practice exams? Add it into your calendar in as much detail as possible. Having a plan gives you peace of mind and can help you enjoy your much-deserved time off. It will also help you be focused and efficient when you do go back to studying.
Many people feel guilty about taking time off, but it is good for you and for your brain and can rejuvenate you, motivate you, and give you the energy you need to conquer the rest of the semester.
I have time to study over my Law School Thanksgiving Break. . . I just don’t know what to do!
If you are not sure how to get started, we recommend you check out this very short ebook on how to excel on law school exams.