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Tips for Handling Law School Stress
Credit: Firesam! Austin Jones

Law school is exciting, enriching, and inspiring—but it can also be pretty stressful. The students below will be the first to tell you. Luckily, they also have great tips for handling that stress. Follow their hard-won advice!

Be honest with yourself

Anna-MadrishinAnna Madrishin
Class of 2020

"Each student deals with stress differently, but every law student does experience stress in some capacity. The worst thing to do with stress is to attempt to bury it and not address it. While law school tasks do ebb and flow, my best advice is to address the stress when you feel it. This could mean sharing your concerns with another student, friend, or family member. Or this could mean building time into your schedule for a stress reliever, like yoga or basketball. Personally, I do yoga occasionally, but the best way I deal with stress is by making a checklist then scheduling times for various tasks. I even put small things on the checklist, such as a 30-minute meeting, for a little boost to remind myself that I can accomplish what I need to get done."

Pick your “do not disturb” day

Xena-RobinsonXena Robinson
Class of 2019

“This is the one day in the week that you dedicate to yourself with no homework or law school talk. On this day do something to help you relax and regroup. Self-care is important, and it is easy to lose track of that, especially while in law school.”

To-do lists to the rescue

Amber-TrotterAmber Trotter
Class of 2020

“Create to-do lists for yourself and assign the tasks to different days. You can’t get everything done in a single day, so there’s no reason to stress over it. I love making to-do lists and feel so accomplished when I can check something off.”

Have your "one thing"

Natalie-CiabattoniNatalie Ciabattoni
Class of 2020

"Law school, especially the first year, is going to take over your life. Before I started law school, someone told me to pick one thing in my life that I refuse to give up no matter how stressful and busy my life becomes, and I chose yoga. This helped me manage my stress and stay grounded. To deal with the stress, I recommend choosing that one thing in your life that makes you happy and be uncompromising about holding onto that, no matter how crazy your schedule becomes."

Live to fight another day

anthony-bushAnthony L. Bush
Class of 2020

“Know when you’ve done enough. There will be days that you spend fifteen or more hours at school or in the library and still feel like you have a ton to do. Stop, go home, have a glass of wine, and continue the next day.”

Mindfulness and meditation are key

Jennifer-BadeJennifer Bade
Class of 2020

“I started practicing mindfulness and would highly recommend it to incoming law students. I have found that meditation, yoga, and Pilates helped me keep my stress levels in check. Regularly working out has also been a great outlet. Be kind to yourself in law school, and when you do take a little time for yourself, do not feel guilty about it.”

Faculty are here to help

Amber Trotter
Class of 2020

“Don’t be afraid to talk to a faculty member. At New England Law | Boston, we have an Academic Excellence Program, and the professors who teach it are amazing. I’ve scheduled meetings with them to discuss my study plan for preparing for finals; I’ve also scheduled meetings with them just to talk.”

Take a night off

Victoria-CalcagnoVictoria Calcagno
Class of 2021

"When I’m feeling stressed, I take one night to do something completely unrelated to the law, even if I have a million things piled up to do."

Be your own biggest fan

Roxanne-BaileyRoxanne Bailey
Class of 2018

“You will need support from people in your life to get through the difficult moments in your law school career. However, you can and should be your own biggest fan. Keep in mind that law students are an elite group of people, and if it were easy, everyone would be attending law school. So take care of yourself!”

Get some fresh air

Dayna-DelMastroDayna DelMastro
Class of 2021

"Take a walk when you feel overwhelmed. Fresh air and a change of scenery can be so helpful. Don’t let law school completely consume your life; your overall wellbeing is so important."  

Time management is everything

Nicholas-Babaian1Nicholas Babaian
Class of 2020

“Finding a good time management plan that works best for you will proactively help with stress in law school.”

Just do it—exercise, that is

Ashley-RozesAshley D. Rozes
Class of 2018

“Do something active! Get in some movement every day, whether it be a walk, bike ride, or in my case a run. Six marathons and fifty-six half-marathons later, I can honestly say I wouldn’t have survived final exams without the opportunity to run off the stress!”

Related: How to Deal with Law School Stress in Healthy Ways

Persistence pays off

Mariam-BhattiMariyam B. Bhatti
Class of 2020

“This whole law school life might seem very difficult, and it sometimes is, but Do. Not. Give. Up. Just getting into law school is hard, and you have come a long way already. If you can start law school, you can certainly finish it. Always remember what or even who you came to law school for and keep focusing on your goal, because it will motivate you.”

Make time for yourself

Crystal-CascanteCrystal Cascante
Class of 2020

“Whether it’s going to the gym, watching your favorite TV show, or a night out with friends every once in a while, you need time away from your textbooks. It really is healthy for you. So why not build in some break time in your schedule? Doing something that doesn’t require a lot of brain power can be very relaxing and get you ready to take on the next day’s work.”

Get enough sleep!

Hailey-ManfrediHailey Manfredi
Class of 2019

“You aren’t going to do your best work pulling an all-nighter, and it will hurt your ability to learn for the next few days. It also makes your immune system weaker. Keeping a healthy sleep schedule will help you mentally and physically.”

Do your own thing

George-MalonoukosGeorge N. Malonoukos
Class of 2020

“Do not forget the things that make you, you. For me, it was basketball!”

Build in breaks

Roxanne Bailey
Class of 2018

“When I study for law school exams, I take 30-minute breaks every two hours to eat, FaceTime with friends and family, or watch something on TV. The breaks are to ensure that I don’t burn out or feel overwhelmed. Truth is, you’ll have to find what works for you, but I find friends, family, and loving yourself can get you on the right track to alleviating stress.”

Don’t be afraid to talk to someone

Mariyam B. Bhatti
Class of 2020

“If you need to ask for help or just talk to someone, do it.  At New England Law, the faculty, your fellow classmates, and even students in other classes are always there to talk and help you through your tough times.”

Follow this advice, and you’re sure to keep your law school stress levels in check. And remember, like so many of these tips pointed out, a strong community and supportive faculty can make a huge difference. You can get to know the New England Law | Boston community here.