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Incoming 1Ls: New Roommate? 4 Questions to Ask

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By Betty Wang, JD on July 05, 2013 10:09 AM

Ah, summer. For incoming law students, it means more than just getting warmer weather and longer days. With your acceptance letter comes not only the promise of the start of your legal career, but also perhaps a move into a new town, state, or even country, for law school.

This means new roommates, possibly. During my 1L year, I lived with three other law students, two of whom were in my section. That's right -- four 1Ls under the same roof. It was ... an experience, to say the least.

Needless to say, roommates are something to think over and prep for carefully, especially as an incoming law student. Here are four questions you should ask if you're moving into a new place for law school:

  1. Are you OK with bringing your work home with you? If the idea of this doesn't sit well with you, you may want to think twice about rooming with another law student, especially if she is a 1L also. 1L is generally known as the most difficult (and most sedentary) year. Because of this, it's inevitable that if you have another 1L roommate, she is not only going to be doing work at school and home, but she will also want to share that experience with you, and vice versa.
  2. Is "me time" crucial in your regime? If you actually don't prefer company, then carve out a specific time in your usual daily regime strictly for alone time. On the other hand, if you're just a very independent person, you may want to think about living on your own. While it may not be cheaper, it could be worth it with the sanity and peace you'd gain.
  3. What schedule do you usually operate on? Are you a night owl, or an incredibly perky morning person? This is a general question that all prospective roommates (not just law students) should consider. It's especially more important for law students, though. Depending on what your preferences are, you may either really prefer for them to have the same, or opposite, schedule as you.
  4. Does it matter how clean or messy someone is? Yet another general consideration for any future roomies -- but, again, especially important for law students. If you're a compulsive neat freak, the last thing you want is additional stress around finals time over the fact that your messy roommate hasn't done the dishes for more than a week, and there are no clean bowls for your cereal. Make sure you hash out these details ahead of time.

It's best to know what you're getting yourself into and that you're prepared for it. Law school is hard enough -- your home should not add to it. Good luck!

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