Work-Life Balance in Law School: Advice from a Newbie

In high school and college, I was always the person active in organizations and outside activities. When I had too much downtime, I would quickly get bored and then sign up for new things to keep me busy. However, I was told that law school would be the most time-consuming and excruciating thing that I have ever done and that I should focus on school and nothing else. No outside activities, no student organizations, no fun AT ALL.

Know where the library exits are. Use them occasionally. (Photo by Pete/comedynose)

Imagine my surprise when I started law school and realized that there were tons of organizations actively recruiting first-year students. From the Law & Government Society and the Environmental Law Society to the Law School’s musical theatre and a cappella groups, it’s easy to get lost in all the options. And, of course, I signed up for as many as I could.

To me, there is nothing better than having a break from the madness that is law school. It seems almost silly to think of taking breaks when everyone is so stressed with tons of reading to do, but it is a necessity. If all you think about is law school 24/7 it is so easy to burn out, and that may be a part of the reason that student groups recruit so heavily. Participate in your Lawyering class’s flag football league or join the Law Women running group. If those things aren’t your speed, then take a break to walk in Washington Square or go to brunch with friends on a Sunday. Maybe even consider joining the Life at NYU Law blog! The point is, reading for class is not the only thing you should be doing. Mental health is important as well.

Of course, that’s not to say that you should join every single club on campus or that you should skip your reading for classes. Multitasking and prioritizing are essential skills if you’re going to be joining clubs and going to events, and this method does not work for everyone. Some people like to take a day off and watch Netflix, and others prefer to spend their relaxation time in solitude. None of these methods are bad, you just need to learn what works for you. It’s all about finding a balance so you don’t end up breaking down in the library a month in because you don’t understand promissory estoppel.

Disclaimer: I’m still a 1L and haven’t hit exams yet. Wish me luck!