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What I Learnt at Law School this Year

Student picking books off a shelf

While the majority of law students will spend the next few weeks determinedly draining accumulated facts, statutes and legal arguments from their minds, I’m pondering some of the useful lessons I’ve learnt at law school this year…

1. Ask for help, even if you think you know what you’re doing

Of all the things I learnt from changing campuses for a semester, one of the most important was to ask for directions to my classrooms. Forgetting the first thing I learnt in first year uni, on my first day in Sydney I confidently climbed three stories up a fire escape before I realised my classroom, surprisingly, could be accessed from inside the building. As I sheepishly made my way down from the locked rooftop door, silently begrudging my university for its questionable fire escape plan, I avoided eye contact with the crowd of onlookers who had gathered downstairs.

The reason there was such a crowd, I later figured out, was because I had got the time of my class wrong and it had just finished, but that’s a different lesson.

2. Snacking is sensible

Living an hour away from my uni has meant that the amount of time I spend studying directly relates to the volume of snacks I bring with me. The first few weeks of classes saw me weary with fatigue, rationing a single apple over a bleak lunchtime and into the afternoon, knowing that I still had an hour of travel time before I could get home to make lunch.

While I could have bought lunch on campus, and I did sometimes, I quickly learned that my days were much more effective (and enjoyable) when I planned the night before and stocked up, so I could know exactly how long to spend at uni.

3. I might not want to be a lawyer

The first hint of this lesson came during the winter holidays, as I listened to friends speak with passion about clerkships and work placements, feeling increasingly despondent as my level of enthusiasm failed to match their own. However, after looking into work experience of my own with non-legal firms, I realised that I had that passion; it was just for another area.

Finishing the year I feel excited about working (one day) in an area that interests me, but also excited about my final semesters of law school. I know I can enjoy them without feeling the pressure of not knowing what to do when it’s over.

While the summer season always seems to blur my knowledge to the point where it is unidentifiable come new year, I hope I’ll hold on to these lessons and start the next year of law school one step ahead.

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