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Dear Incoming 1Ls – Florida State Law

The start of your 1L year comes quickly, and it can be an exciting yet daunting thing to look forward to. Our student ambassadors know exactly how that feels and are here to offer you their words of advice as you step into this next chapter!

“As you begin your 1L year, enjoy each and every moment! Keep an open mind as you learn about the law and explore areas of the law that you never thought you would be interested in. One of the best parts about law school is also getting to know and meet incredible students, so take advantage of the opportunity to make lifelong friends. Finally, Professor Taylor shared an inspirational quote that I love to turn to whenever I am feeling the stress and challenges of law school. The quote says, “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” Throughout law school, seek opportunities that allow you to “bloom” in ways that will foster personal growth, while also enjoying the success of your peers.”

Alejandra Gancedo, Class of 2022

“Make sure you block time for yourself every single day. Read a few pages of a (non-law school-related book), go for walk, watch some tv, take a bath, facetime a friend! Whatever it is that makes you happy, make sure to take some time in your day to do that. It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of law school or feel guilt for not studying or working on reading, but I promise your overall health with thank you for leaving time in the day just for you!”

Shannon Duncanson, Class of 2022

“Do what works best for you. Everyone approaches law school differently. If you’re someone who just wants to do school all the time; do that. If you’re someone who needs to take the weekends off; do that. There’s no right or wrong way to do law school, so do what works best for you and your lifestyle.”

Christina Varela, Class of 2022

“Before starting law school, I wish someone told me to prioritize myself. It is totally normal to feel stressed! It is also very important to do well and work as hard as you can, but you should spend at least an hour every day doing something for yourself! Whether that is going for a walk outside, spending time with friends, watching TV, calling family members, etc., you will feel so much more energized and rejuvenated to tackle the next day when you spend a little bit of time doing something for yourself.”

Ali Bowlby, Class of 2022

“It is normal to feel overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed does not mean that you are doing anything wrong. Please remember that if you weren’t smart enough or good enough, you would not have been offered a spot in the 1L class. You can do this. Also, please know that law school does not have to consume your whole life. It’s okay to not read late into the night or over the entire weekend. It’s okay to take some time for yourself – in fact, it is necessary to take some time for yourself. Law school is a job, not your whole life. Keep up with your friends, call your parents and take a deep breath. You belong here and you are going to succeed.”

Madison Johnson, Class of 2021

“Congrats on getting accepted to law school! We are so proud of your accomplishments and can’t wait to welcome you to FSU Law. Law school is daunting, but luckily you have an amazing support system here at FSU Law. Just remember to save your stress for the end of the semester. The first semester is overwhelming because you are learning so many new things, but try not to spend your whole semester stressed about grades and performance. Joining clubs and making friends is just as important! If you don’t then you will burn yourself out and it will hurt you in the long run.”

Annie Murphy, Class of 2022

“In law school, you may feel like everyone else knows exactly what they’re supposed to be doing all the time, or like they must be really smart because they got all the cold calls right in every class. In reality, everyone is just as confused as you are, and you’re probably not really as confused as you think you are. Law school is incomparable to anything anyone has ever experienced before, and everyone struggles to get their footing; it’s completely normal! Don’t compare yourself to where you think others are, because everyone is going through the same struggles at the end of the day. It’s easy to get stressed when you feel like there’s so much to do constantly but taking on the semester one day at a time helps you feel less overwhelmed.

As a second semester 2L, I can tell you that it genuinely does get better. However, a lot of people interpret this as “it gets easier” and that’s not the case. Law school is hard all 3 years for different reasons, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my second year more than my first, simply because I’m able to take classes in the area of law that interests me and further develop connections with professors that have offered me invaluable advice. Law school will test you and push you to your limits, so it’s important to make sure that practicing law is something you truly want to pursue for yourself. If you’re confused in class, go to your professor’s office hours and ask for clarification on the aspects you don’t understand. Make sure to have specific questions prepared; office hours aren’t a free pass to sleep in class, and then ask your professor to re-teach everything to you later. Being surrounded by so many incredibly inspiring and brilliant people can be intimidating and stressful, especially if you’re not taking care of yourself. Make sure to take time to enjoy the things and people you love, as well as making time to care for yourself mentally and physically. There will probably be times where it feels as though there’s no way you can make it through, but the support system at FSU Law will always be there to help in any way possible, and you will survive 1L year!”

Shannon Wong, Class of 2022

Published by Florida State University College of Law

Preparing graduates to succeed in their careers is the most important thing we do. We also are known for our world class faculty, our successful and friendly student body, and our location in Tallahassee that gives students a wide variety of opportunities to gain legal experience. Our students like their experiences at our law school and the careers we help them launch.

U.S. News & World Report (2022) rates Florida State as the 47th best law school in the nation. Florida State’s environmental law program is ranked 15th best nationally.

According to American Bar Association (ABA) data, Florida State is the #1 law school in Florida and #28 nationally in terms of 2018 graduates who passed a bar examination on their first attempt.

According to a 2018 study of law faculty scholarly impact, our faculty is #1 in Florida and #29 nationally.

According to preLaw magazine (2020), Florida State is the nation’s #1 law school for government careers, #7 in the nation for public defender/prosecutor jobs and among the nation’s top 7 law schools for public policy.

Florida State is the #3 law school in the nation for best student quality of life, according to Princeton Review (2019).

preLaw magazine (2019) ranks Florida State the nation’s #8 best value law school.
The Black Student’s Guide to Law Schools and Firms (2019) ranks Florida State among the nation’s top 5 southern law schools for black students. Florida State is the only Florida law school on the list.
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