Law School Prep Tip #10 is all about setting yourself up for success by pre-planning your study environment. Even if you will not be making a detailed law school study schedule ahead of time, it is a good idea to figure out when, where, and how you will study in law school. Doing so will save you a lot of time and frustration right off the bat. It will set you up for success.
When you study: When do you do your best work? When did you study in college? Did that work for you or would it be better to change things up? If you are a morning person, wake up as early as you can. If you work best at night, go to bed late. Don’t try to change who you are. Instead, take advantage of it. Not only should you block out study time to suit your schedule, but you should also do your most challenging work at your best time as this is when you will be the most focused and productive.
Where you study: What is the best environment for you to study in? If you love quiet spaces, scope out the libraries in the area you’ll be staying in ahead of time. If you love loud places, go to a coffee shop or a louder environment. Don’t go to the law library if you do not study well in quiet areas just because you feel like you “should” or just because others are doing it. Do what works best for you.
How You study: Eliminating distractions ahead of time can save you a lot of stress. Life is filled with distractions (especially in this technology era) and those distractions can be debilitating even to those with the best intentions on studying. We recommend you take 15 minutes to sit down and truly think about what you are distracted by as well as how you can eliminate distractions during law school. Here are some common distractions:
- Phone: If you are constantly looking at your phone, set a rule where you can only look at it once an hour when you take a five-minute break. Turn off all of the unnecessary notifications. Turn your ringer off or set it so that your phone will ring only when specific, important people call.
- Facebook or Other Websites: Study internet-free as much as possible and close your internet browser when you do not need it. You will likely not need it most of the time.
- People-watching: If you get distracted by other people, try to study at home (if you have a separate space) or in a study room in the library rather than in a big room. Another option is to try to face a wall while you study so you don’t notice every time someone walks by.
- Noise/Quiet: If you find noise distracting, carry around earplugs. If you find the quiet distracting, carry around headphones and your iPod.
- Your Mind: If you are constantly thinking of things you have to do, people you have to e-mail back, or new ideas, keep a notepad next to you to write down all of these things. That will help push the distractions out of your mind and also provide comfort that you will remember everything later.
- Hunger: If you are someone who needs to eat every hour, pack healthy snacks ahead of time. If you need to take breaks frequently (which we recommend) schedule those breaks and try to view them as a reward for studying.
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