Beginning law students might think that they have the next few years of schooling before they need to start worrying about their future. However, the truth is that now is the time to begin planning for life after graduation. Because the three years of law school will fly by, it is crucial to start thinking about a long-term plan now. Here are three things that beginning law students should know to ensure that they make the most out of their burgeoning career:

DO NOT USE LAW SCHOOL AS A CRUTCH: Law school should not be used as a backup option because you do not know what you want to do with the rest of your life. If you are unsure if a career in law is right for you, it is better to take a year off from schooling and work in a law office or with a government organization in an attempt to ascertain if this is the path for you. It is better to lose a year now than to spend three years in expensive schooling only to decide that this is not the right career path.

THINK BEYOND THE CLASSROOM: While it is true that the primary focus of your first year of law school should be your classes and grades, it is also important to dedicate time each week to think about what lies ahead. Develop the habit of spending time networking, meeting with potential future employers, and working on your resume. You never know when somebody will ask for your resume or transcript and so it is recommended to have all of these essential documents ready to go at any time. You do not want to miss out on an opportunity because it took too long to apply.

REACH OUT TO PROFESSORS: Some of the most influential people you will encounter on your path to becoming a lawyer will be your law school professors. Not only will these people be an invaluable resource of information, but they also have the knowledge to steer you toward the right specialty. Most students will also eventually rely on their professors for letters of recommendation and references. Getting to know them personally early in your schooling will serve you better in the future