One of the best and worst things about law school is that most of your semester is spent reading. If you love reading, like I do, this can be a really stellar part of your law school experience because you largely just get to soak up knowledge from your casebooks until it's time to drill it into your head before exams. I'd rather read to get my information than have to go to lectures, or do activities, or watch movies (although many of my classes have incorporated those elements at some point throughout the semester).
However, none of the reading you're doing is fun. You might not hate it; in fact, you might even find it interesting, but it's definitely taking a lot more brainpower to get through than, say, Harry Potter. Not that there's anything wrong with Harry Potter. Actually, the point of this post is kind of to tell you that reading Harry Potter (& other fun books) is critical.
If you were never a bookworm and reading was never the first hobby you listed when anyone asked, then this advice might not be for you. But, if you've always loved books (as many of us law students do), then it is so important for you to keep loving them. Law school will fry your brain, and if reading is a way for you to relax, you don't want to lose that just because so much of your educational experience rides on constant reading.
Why fun reading in law school is good for you:
It reminds your brain that reading can be FUN. Don't let your brain associate reading with long casebooks with small font and no paragraph breaks - let it associate it with poetry, historical fiction, a good Rachel Hollis book, or something you find enjoyable.
It creates muscle memory & focus. The more you read, the easier it is to read, regardless of the type of reading you're doing. If you're used to reading for 5 hours a day, reading for class for 4 of those hours won't seem like as much work as it would to someone who only reads for class and nothing else.
It gives you an escape that doesn't involve staring at screens. I have never hopped on the anti-technology train that many people have, but I do think that staring at screens for too long is bad for your eyes. It's also bad in the sense that you begin to associate "relaxing" with "technology" - and that's not true! There's tons of other ways you can rest and recharge without having to involve something with a battery. The collateral issue to that is that everything that's not watching Netflix and playing with your phone feels like work, and it shouldn't. Some things that take up your energy are super good for you (ie: exercising, hanging out with friends, painting, hiking, whatever), and you shouldn't feel like you always need to watch an episode or two just to "recover" from those experiences.
**** Note, I love a good netflix binge. I am not trying to imply that watching tv is bad, or bad for you, but I think that relying on it as your only form of recuperation definitely is. Everything in moderation, guys.
Three tangible tips for you to continue to fun read without getting overwhelmed:
Read easy books that hold your attention effortlessly. If you don't enjoy reading about the history of French sewer systems for hours, then this is not the time to attempt Les Miserables. You'll end up either not doing it, or resenting the time that you've set aside to read it, OR resenting reading entirely. None of these are great options. Pick fun books that you want to read and it won't feel like a battle.
Don't read unless you want to read. If you make it your goal to cut out Netflix entirely and force yourself to read for "fun," it's not going to be fun unless you're in the mood. Before law school, you didn't read 24/7 - you had other hobbies you enjoyed as well. Don't put the pressure on yourself to pick up a book just because you feel like you should.
Make reading part of your routine. I read a chapter of a fun book in the morning before I even get out of bed, and another chapter right before I go to sleep at night. On weekends, it'll sometimes be in the afternoons. Whenever you choose, make sure it's at a time where you won't feel guilty for doing it, and preferably when you're able to just relax.
What are you reading for fun? Drop a comment below or head on over to @lexdesk on instagram and let me know!