Life / Student life / Wellness

From High School to Law School: Three tips for a smooth transition

By Cecilia Liu, University of Auckland

The sudden freedom, the immense campus, the enormous crippling student debt that restricts your summer travel plans. Welcome to university!

Here are 3 quick tips to make your transition just that much easier.

Time is Precious

It feels like you suddenly have all the time in the world! No more assemblies, no more controlling teachers watching your every move. Complete and utter freedom.

Until you realise you have a week before the end of semester exams and three essays to write before the weekend.

It feels like you have so much more time, but you need to be able to manage this time extremely efficiently. Many first years skip lectures thinking they will have time to re-watch them all. Trust me, you won’t. Even if you are using 2x the speed, re-watching a lecture can take longer than you think so plan accordingly.

Know when your assignments and essays are due, and make sure you allocate enough time to study consistently. Unfortunately, you can no longer use those excuses that may have worked in high school to get out of missing a test or asking for an extension.

First year law is very competitive, and if you are working hard through the semester it will save you that last minute cramming stress.

Budget Like a Pro

My friends once calculated that if they had saved all the money they had spent in their first year going out for coffees or lunch, they would each have had enough for a holiday to the Gold Coast. You don’t realise it but the little purchases all add up.

Some will be compulsory and unavoidable, like transport fees. Make sure you separate the necessities from the luxuries, especially if you are flatting! Rent, electricity, and food all take up big chunks of money that you need to budget for.

Once you are over 18, many things start costing more money than before. Doctor fees are a great example – often students will neglect their health because they cannot afford to pay for them. Many university campuses will have a medical centre for students, and if you make them your Primary Health Organisation, this will give you a great rate on medical fees.

Remember to Breathe

University can be a huge step up from high school. You will be exposed to many different views, and people from all stages of life. Especially in law school, many people will be extremely competitive and seemingly successful. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and feel alone, not knowing who to go to for help. Many universities offer free individual counselling sessions, as well as group sessions to help you manage and cope with the stresses of university. Nothing is ever ‘too small’ to bring up, if something makes you feel uncomfortable it needs to be addressed.


Look after yourself, and look after those around you. Help each other out, and you will find your first year over in a flash!