What I Wish I Knew as a 1L

By Ivan Tereschenko

On behalf of our law school community, I would like to welcome the Class of 2016! Law school is unlike anything you have ever done before in your life.

On the road ahead, you should take advantage of every opportunity at the law school to gain legal knowledge and experience. While you will certainly be very busy with your studies, you should make the time to socialize and network. Networking will be very useful to you as you look for an internship placement next summer and later on, when you will be looking for a permanent job. Looking back, I wish I spent a little bit more time socializing and getting to know my classmates outside of class. It is an empty feeling when you have no one to ask for help or assist you in finding a job, even when you have excellent grades.

Perhaps the single most important piece of advice I can give you is that you must exercise effective time management early on in your law school career. Your time is the most precious commodity in law school, and you must use it productively to succeed. For example, between doing the reading, going to class, and working on my outlines, I found that I had very limited time to relax or even have time to grab something to eat! This is why it is a good idea to make a schedule of everything you will do during a day, and yes, this includes even scheduling a little time to relax and when you will eat.

Do not hesitate to ask the professors questions in class because it is very likely that other students have a similar question. If you find yourself confused about something discussed in class, you can always go to the professor’s office hours. The professors are usually available by appointment or during their office hours and will be glad to answer your questions. Way too many students shy away from going to office hours – only to their own detriment. I made important connections between cases and learned more about the law by going to my professors’ office hours than I would have mulling over the material on my own or in a study group.

On a last note, you should start working on your course outlines early on in the semester. Everything you do should be geared towards improving your grade on the final exams. That being said, you should start preparing your outlines two weeks to one month into the semester at the latest. You should also familiarize yourself with your professors’ old exams and sample answers. The best way of doing this is by finding your professors’ old exams in the library or on the law school’s website and practice taking them under the actual testing conditions. This way you will effectively prepare yourself, minimize the stress, and conserve valuable energy before your final exams. These are just some of the things that I wish I knew last year as a 1L!

Welcome to UConn Law! Best of luck to everyone in their 1L year! I look forward to seeing many of you on campus.