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Long Distance Law: Studying Law at Uni without being at Uni


Law school is hard. While that might be the most self-evident statement ever typed, spare a thought for the law student completing their degree online. Although listening to lectures whenever you feel like it and being able to wear your pyjamas during “class” sounds really appealing (particularly if you’re sitting in a lecture at 9am on a Monday) distance study is not as easy as it seems.

I began studying for my law degree online and for the eighteen months of my three year JD course I barely saw a university building. Yes, I learnt equity and trusts sitting in bed wearing my Peter Alexander PJs. Even though I was extremely comfy, there was something that I was really lacking: interaction with other students.

I chose to study online due to the convenience. It allowed me to work while I studied, and yes, also because a big part of me wanted to study in my pyjamas. This option works for a whole lot of people because they’ve got family commitments, work or maybe because they’re not even in the country like a lot of my fellow classmates!

But studying alone can be lonely, regardless of how comfortable your trackpants might be. Here are some things you can do to feel part of the law school experience without actually being there.

1. Get involved in activities at your law school

Law schools often have public lectures, seminars and symposiums you can go to. Obviously this works better if you’re in the same city as your university, but these events are often recorded so you can download the podcasts. Law school interaction without being at law school...lovely!

2. Join your Law Students’ Society

Most schools have a law students’ association, which organise social activities. These events are a great way to meet your fellow students. Those contacts will come in handy when you don’t understand the required elements of a contract or you’re struggling with admin law.

3. Join your State/Territory Law Institute or Society

Every state has one, and a lot even have special groups for young lawyers/law students and organise social and educational events that you can attend. Your networking begins now!

4. Use the Internet

If you’re already doing your degree online this one should be a no brainer. Read bogs by law students and lawyers (you’re already doing this, so yay!) use Facebook and Twitter to follow other law students and share experiences. A problem shared is a problem halved, so they say.

In the end, studying law is like learning a language. It’s not a lot of fun if you do it on your own. If you’re studying online get as involved as you can with your uni and the profession. Not only will you be expanding your network, law school will feel a lot easier.

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