“Back to school.”

This phrase is omnipresent in the final weeks of August as prospective students attempt to cling to the last moments of summer. For mature students beginning law school, preparing to return to student life can seem intimidating.

Immediately following my graduation from my undergraduate degree in 2009, I decided to enter the workforce. I worked for 5 years before attending law school in September 2014 and I can confirm – the adjustment was intimidating. This post contains a few tips on how to succeed in law school as a mature student.

Be Social

As a mature student you may find that the age difference between you and your classmates makes it difficult to relate to your peers. Get over it. Say yes to as many social invitations as possible because the friends you make will contribute immeasurably to your mental health and academic success.

What is more – a legal career is built on connections. It is important to start making those professional connections as soon as possible.

Work Efficiently

Perhaps it goes without saying that law school is difficult. For mature students the return to academia can present an even steeper learning curve. Outside the lecture hall, you will be required to manage your time in a way that may have become unfamiliar to you.

Unlike working life, there is no one to tell you when to start and stop studying. If you find it difficult to motivate yourself to start studying or you have a hard time knowing when enough is enough you may consider treating school as a full time job and setting aside a defined period of the day to complete class preparation and assignments.

It is essential that you find a study strategy that works for you. Take some time at this beginning stage of your return to school and consider what kind of system will help you achieve your academic goals.

Capitalize on Your Commitment

As a mature student you have an advantage – you sincerely want this. For you, attending law school is not just a way to delay the inevitable transition to working adult life; your attendance is likely the result of years of careful contemplation and financial planning.

Maybe you had to give up a steady income. Maybe you had to sell your home. Or maybe you had to move far away from your established support network. In any case, as a result of your return to school, your lifestyle has changed significantly. Remember the sacrifices you made when you find it difficult to find the motivation to do your best work.

Returning to school was a difficult choice for me to make. As a mature student the adjustment to life as a student was equally as challenging yet immensely rewarding. I hope this post helps to make your time as a law student also fulfilling.

David Spence – Articling Student.