The other day I saw a TikTok video of a mom preparing school lunches for her kids…for the next four months. She made over 60 sandwiches, 80 waffles, and packaged up over 100 snacks—talk about being prepared! The more I thought about it, the more I realized this sort of approach would have been amazing in law school—provided I actually had a second freezer, of course. We all think of buying highlighters and textbooks as the sum of our “back to school” obligations, but what other actions can law students take to truly be prepared for the fall semester? In this article we’ll cover three back-to-school steps to have you ready to succeed this fall.
Meal prep. This one’s obvious from the introduction, but taking a day to plan your meals for the fall can be a lifesaver—both for your stomach and your wallet. Two of the scarcest resources in law school are time and money, so intentionally planning your meals and snacks means you will be earning back some time, while also avoiding pricy impulse purchases at your school’s cafeteria. Great meal prep ideas include meals that can be divided into individual portions and frozen, large batches of soup, crockpot meals, and even dividing up and storing packaged snacks. Having these resources ready and available will allow you some much needed self-care time while ensuring that you are eating (mostly) healthy, home-cooked food.
Fix your sleep schedule. We all know summer, fall, and spring breaks can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. You can stay up late watching Netflix and not worry about missing your 8:00 am class; you can sleep in all day without feeling unproductive; and most importantly, you can dream without the appearance of nightmares about your upcoming Torts exam. All in all, oscillating between too little and too much sleep can feel great—but isn’t good for you long term. Taking some time to fix your sleep schedule before returning to the classroom can help your body get on track and put you in a better mindset for the upcoming semester. Some tips to fix your sleep schedule include: (1) going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, (2) keeping your bedroom as dark and cool as possible, and (3) avoiding the use of technology or bright lights at least 30 minutes before bed.
Clean your space. You know that pile of unread mail you keep by the front door? You should probably read that. The heaps of clothes strewn about the house? You should wash those. And the sticky spots on your kitchen floor? You should scrub that. Getting your space clean and tidy before school starts can have an excellent effect on your mental health. For one thing, who doesn’t love to be live in a clean (and well organized) space? For another, there will be nothing for you to stress-clean instead of studying. Some great areas to focus on include doing an inventory of your professional wardrobe, decluttering the piles of shoes you never wear, stocking up on cold and flu medications, deep cleaning your bathroom, and even vacuuming out your car.
There is so much more to back-to-school season than what can fit into a handbasket at Office Depot. Preparing for the upcoming semester means putting yourself in the best position to success, both mentally and physically. While these tips are by no means exhaustive, prepping your meals, fixing your sleep schedule, and deep cleaning your space will certainly make your life a little easier come fall.