Battling Burnout During the First Year of Law School

Battling Burnout During the First Year of Law School


While there are probably many reasons you want to become an attorney, from helping people to seeing justice served, to using your analytical skills in court and enjoying the excitement of being a trial attorney, you may have more than a little trepidation about attending law school, and may worry about issues that come up later such as burnout.

Law school is the next level, and one step up from the undergraduate degree (which may have seemed stressful already). Now, mingling with the cream of the crop in law school, you may worry about how you will measure up—along with many other issues.

As you dig into the first year, there are many factors that could lead you to exhaustion, even if you set up a good foundation before arriving at law school, having gone over as much of the materials as you could during the summer, getting your sleep schedule straight, and settling any issues that could consume your time otherwise. If you are halfway through the semester though, and now getting stressed out to the point of feeling like you may lose it, burnout has probably arrived—and is on its way to a full-force episode unless you act quickly.

Here are some tips to quell that sense of exhaustion and anxiety:

  • Take a break, and most likely, this means get some sleep. A lot of it. You will not be any good to yourself or your studies until you get rested.
  • Do not try to cope with burn out by skipping classes. While you may need to find a way to insert some extra rest time into your schedule outside of class, getting behind on your coursework will just continue the escalation of stress.
  • Make a to-do list and begin checking things off as you complete them one by one, but without pressuring yourself into further emotional distress. Make your list a realistic one, and you will notice yourself feeling empowered as you take control.
  • You may not be able to spend hours at the gym like you used to, but just a short 20- to 30-minute walk, jog, or short interlude to lift weights can make all the difference—especially if you can fit this in every day, or at least several days a week. You may even feel better if you can buddy up with another student and turn this into an opportunity for a short social event too, maybe even sharing a refreshment afterward.
  • Take some time out to play. What do you enjoy? A sport? A fun but challenging video game? Gardening? Fishing? Retail therapy at the mall? Once you take a real break—and often especially if you do so outdoors—you will be amazed at how your spirit not just returns, but soars.
  • Try meditation. This does not always involve sitting in the lotus position and humming. You may find any number of methods of meditating that help calm you, along with centering you, allowing you to balance out mentally so that you were able to handle the day – or at least a few hours until you may even want to meditate again. Sometimes just sitting in a quiet place and breathing deeply can be enough.
  • Avoid procrastination of any kind as your coursework will just begin to pile up into an overwhelming load that will be impossible to take care of all at once.

Signs of burnout usually include extreme fatigue, a lack of motivation to study, lack of interest in participating in class, and a feeling of numbness or even depression. If your symptoms worsen, do not hesitate to seek professional help as soon as possible.

Our mission at CDTA College of Law is to educate, train, and develop extraordinary legal advocates. Your legal education will be comprised of bar-tested academic subjects, skills training, and values reinforcement. Upon completion of your 4-year course of study, you will be fully qualified to take and pass the California Bar examination. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.


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