“Being a good law student is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet.” Okay, so I’ve adapted a quote that was originally about writers, but I think it’s also true for law students.
Procrastination, aka “I’ll just quickly check to see if anyone has said something about the property law essay on Facebook”, is where all of the time that could be used for looking up a few more journal articles or reading the minority judgment actually gets spent.
To stop procrastinating, you could follow the lead of one blogger from San Francisco who increased his productivity by hiring someone to watch him work and slap him when he logged onto Facebook… but maybe don’t do that.
Here are some techniques to help you stop procrastinating and clear your to do list…
As a law student (and future legal professional), try as you might, you won’t be able to avoid all that reading. As such, many people will tell you that if you don’t like reading, you’re not going to enjoy being a lawyer. Although I see what might be meant by this comment, I have to disagree. I love to read but I don’t always (if ever) love reading cases, legislation and other legal materials. What I have realised, perhaps far too late in my journey through law school, is that reading for law is a different story to reading for pleasure.
If you’re anything like me, you enjoy being captivated and drawn into the world of a good book and although some cases can be just as captivating (my inner law nerd showing himself) reading cases like novels is not an efficient way to study or work. So to help you out, I’ve put together a list of questions and helpful tips to assist you to read more efficiently and effectively.
It has been exactly two weeks since completing my last exam for the year and although I’ve been enjoying the newfound freedom, looming is the inevitable restlessness that comes with too much time and energy.
Initially, the ‘exam date’ column on the summer school webpage was enough to deter me from taking on another exam period so soon, but with all of this spare time, I pondered some of the positive aspects and ended up enrolling in summer school. Here’s why you might like to consider it too…
With so many assignments to do each semester, it’s easy for all those resources to get into a funky mess if you don't keep them in check. Academic misconduct is the last thing you want to have marked against your name at the end of your degree, so how do you avoid accidental plagiarism and manage your resource efficiently?
One of the worst things about doing an assignment is getting to the end rushing to footnote, only to realise that you’ve now forgotten where many of the quotes and ideas came from. When you start an assignment, work out how you will keep your resources and references organised. I'm a big fan of EndNote or any referencing software. Reference software seems like a hassle when you first start to use it, but in the long run it saves you time and reduces your errors.
Regardless of whether you use software or have another method, here are three steps that can help you to keep track of all those resources…
We all know how it goes. You sit down at your desk, open your subject guide and tell yourself, “I am going to do all my readings, write that assignment, and update my notes today. I am going to be so productive!” Then you turn to your laptop and see that Facebook is open, and somehow the next 50 minutes disappear.
In the absence of strange smelling herbal teas and fish oil tablets, what are some things you can do to help improve your concentration?
It's halfway through the semester. If you're the average law student, you're probably a bit behind on the readings, you have barely started your summary notes and haven't even thought about attempting practice problems. Then you see your exam timetable, and all hell breaks loose. You may be in a situation like I found myself in this semester, with two consecutive exams on two very different areas of law right at the beginning of the exam period.
My first reaction was anger and despair. How can the people who organise the exam timetables be so sadistic? How can they not realise that these units are usually taken concurrently? It maybe tempting to wallow in self pity but that definitely won't get you ready to take on the exam timetable from hell. So here are a few tips for handling the nightmare of a bad exam schedule…