How to Reduce Stress in Law School


You’re going to hear a lot about stress your first week of law school.  Professors, counselors and staff will advise you to take care of yourself, not to skip meals, and to take advantage of the free counseling services the school has to offer.   It can be downright scary hearing this kind of advice.  The advice you receive implies that students before you, many much like you, have had a difficult time coping with stress.

It’s true, your first-year of law school will be stressful,very stressful.  From managing all of your assigned reading to preparing for three finals in the same week, time management is key.  Here, I will discuss some easy ways to manage the stress associated with law school.

Log your hours.  Your first-year of law school will instill some odd new characteristics into you.  One of which is this feeling of guilt you’ll get when you’re not studying.  It feels like you’re not doing enough.  I found a simple way of combating this problem—logging your hours.  So you’ve spent four hours in the library today.  Log those hours.  You spent two hours studying before bed.  Log those hours.  Then at the end of the week, look back at what you’ve accomplished.  You might just get the feeling that, “hey, I’ve done enough this week, maybe I’ll take the weekend off.”

Make a checklist.  Checklists are a wonderful thing.  You simply keep a running list of the things you must accomplish throughout the week.  As those things are completed, you check them off.  I’ve even heard that the act of “checking something off” produces a chemical reaction in the brain inspiring happiness and calm.  Try it out.  I promise you’ll be hooked.  It might even keep you more organized.

Keep up with friends in other endeavors.  Sometimes it helps to get away from a legal environment.  Often times the people you communicate with while attending law school are exclusively law students.  When you’re not talking about your classes, they are.  Your mind needs a break from school.  Talk to friends and family that are pursuing other endeavors.  Listen, learn and take an active interest in other people’s lives.  Not only will they appreciate it, but it’ll take your head out of the clouds for even just a moment.

Workout, often.  Working out is one of the best ways to reduce stress during law school.  It gives you a chance to get away from your books and spend some quality time alone.  You don’t necessarily need to think about other things besides the law, you just have to get out there.  I’ve actually found that some of my best ideas have come about while running.  So if you’re stuck on a question or can’t quite understand what knowledge to a reasonable certainty is, take a break and go for a run.  You’ll be glad you did.

Here, I provided only a few ways to reduce stress during law school.  Like anything else, there are a million ways to find ways to cope with stress, including: water sports, television, and any given hobby.  Find what works best for you and stick with it.