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by Brian Zhang | October 20, 2020

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Conducting classes virtually is relatively straightforward even if it doesn’t completely replicate the in-person experience, but what about extracurricular activities? When you can’t meet in person, it is easy to overlook extracurriculars and clubs, but they should still play an important role in enriching your law school experience. After all, participating in activities outside of class is beneficial for your social life, your mental health, and your resume. Not to mention, your law school network will serve as valuable connections throughout your legal career—developing and nurturing this network now is more important than ever. Read on for some pointers on how to stay engaged with law school extracurriculars despite the circumstances.

Keep an eye out.

You might not realize it, but extracurriculars and student organizations are still active even when classes are remote or partially remote. Clubs still hold meetings and events, albeit virtually. Lunchtime events still happen. From social mixers to career panels and even formal symposia, all sorts of virtual events can take the place of face-to-face ones, courtesy of your enterprising fellow students and school administration.

Happenings may be less visible. You may have to seek them out. The days of stumbling upon them in passing or when you see people lining up in the hallways are over. But when school is remote, you can trust that representatives of various groups—whether school related, career related, or totally for fun—will be trying more diligently than ever to reach you with news of their events. Meet them halfway by paying attention to your emails, your class Facebook group if you have one, and your school’s social media channels. Proactively look out for announcements that may interest you. It’ll be worth your while.

Research and reach out.

If your school has a list or directory of student organizations and their points of contact, peruse the descriptions and reach out to the representatives of whatever interests you. Start with an email and perhaps set up a virtual meeting. Remember that these representatives are your fellow students, and they volunteer their contact information for a reason—so that you can find them and others with a common interest. Most clubs always welcome new members and many are looking for help running or improving the club, so you’ll very likely gain something from reaching out. Additionally, as an alternative to in-person activity fairs, your school may have held (and recorded) a virtual fair or compiled a video introducing all of the student organizations. Use these resources to find the right extracurriculars for you.

Think long term.

It’s understandable if extracurriculars don’t seem as appealing to you in virtual format and you feel that you’d rather wait until they can be conducted in person for the full experience. But keep in mind that you often need to demonstrate interest in a student organization in order to obtain a leadership position later, so don’t let those opportunities slip by. If you know you want a board position on your resume, start getting involved in that organization now even if it’s virtual. Most student organization involvement is a reasonably low time commitment and is genuinely enjoyable as long as it aligns with your interests. Even if you’re not yet sure whether you’ll seek a leadership position, you’ll eventually be glad you opened up that possibility for yourself. Plus, you’ll meet new people and expand your law school network.

Find the time.

Of course, remote school does not changed one reality: Law students are very busy people. But remote classes and extracurriculars do reduce the amount of time you spend getting ready for and getting to school. That trip to your home desk takes far less time than a drive or bus ride to campus. These time savings may not seem like much, but they’re one possible way to find the spare time you need to invest in more extracurriculars.

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