In the past, it was typical for new law school graduates to go on a big trip after taking the bar exam, before starting their full-time job. With about one month of downtime, the possibilities were endless. Whether it was backpacking in Europe, eating across Asia, learning about wildlife in Africa, driving and hiking through the United States, or something else, it was a great way to rewind from the stresses of law school with a change of scene.
Given the pandemic, unfortunately, traveling like this is more improbable. Safety concerns, travel restrictions, financial constraints, and unpredictable health guidance all together make it difficult to make the choice to travel a long distance for a long period of time.
That means law students need to think creatively about how to find the benefits of traveling in other activities.
Here are some ideas that may be interesting:
In law school, there is not much time to do pleasure reading. During this break, you can collect book recommendations from friends and family and compile a list of books that you always wanted to read, but never got around to reading. Books are a great way to immerse into fictional worlds, learn from inspiring historical and public figures, and gain new life skills and technical knowledge. You can also travel through books! I especially appreciate books that detail the rich history behind a city, a building, or an artifact, include pictures and illustrations, and discuss the culture, perspectives, and traditions of the local people. Reading books is by no means a perfect substitute for experiencing a new place first hand, but with a little help from your imagination, it can still be incredibly eye-opening and fun.
2. Watching movies and shows
For the more visual perceivers, the advancements in cinematography and CGI technology have allowed for “traveling” without having to leave your home, or to travel beyond your local theater. I have a long list of television shows and movies on my list, and I am definitely not alone. There is a lot of content nowadays encompassing a variety of subject matter. Movie producers are even remaking classic movies or creating documentaries about them, piquing public interest in rewatching oldies. Watching your preferred content with loved ones, snacks and drinks in hand, is a wonderful, low-key experience. If you are hoping to learn about a country or continent, put on a travel show or documentary to vicariously experience the sights, food, and culture through the camera. If you are still craving for a dose of law, check out this guide to the law in pop culture.
3. Plan a staycation or find local experiences
A change of scene or pace does not require going very far. Some quick research may reveal towns, attractions, or nature preserves nearby that can offer respite from your daily routine and the complexities of the law. Depending on your interests, you can challenge yourself to an escape room, exercise with animals during goat yoga, watch the sunset at the beach, go hiking or biking, or visit the special exhibit at a museum. Staying relatively local is a fantastic way to support small businesses in your area while having fun. Think: what are some stores or restaurants you have yet to visit? You might just be surprised at what you find.
4. Spend quality time with friends and family
When your day is punctured with law school classes, meetings, and student organization activities, it can be difficult to set aside a long period of time to catch up with your friends, family, and other loved ones. A long break presents a good opportunity to catch up with old friends and have long heart-to-heart conversations with the people you care about. You can reminisce about old memories, experience new things together, and check in on each other’s emotional and mental health. And if you are in a long-distance relationship, a freer schedule allows for more opportunities to connect with your partner.
5. Pick up an old hobby or a new skill
The busy schedule in law school means that some students divert time and attention away from their old hobbies. Rediscovering them with a new perspective can be very relaxing and enjoyable. And if there’s something you always wanted to learn—a musical instrument, sewing techniques, fixing a bike, cutting hair—you might want to use a long break to achieve your goal, all the while giving yourself a lot of breathing room for trial and error!
6. Organize your photos from previous trips
Still really want to scratch that travel itch? Since you might not remember very much about past trips, you can relive them by looking through photos and videos. You will immediately remember certain things you saw and foods you ate, but also notice other details that did not jump out at the time. If you are feeling creative and have the time, you can even organize photos into collages or create a scrapbook. As for the video clips, you can arrange and edit them into a vlog recounting your trip, with captions, music, and all. This would be really fun to share with your travel companions as well as your loved ones!
Is there anything else you always wanted to do but didn’t get the chance? This period post-bar and pre-work is a great time to check it off your list! I hope I’ve given you some ideas to spend this rare break from school and work.