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Amending Law School Mistakes

Stressed cartoon student

Somewhere along the way, something went horribly, horribly wrong. The semester began with good intentions: you were going to update your notes every week, and not miss a single class… but the term didn’t really go to plan. Now exams are on their way, and the only question on your mind is, how do I fix this?

You haven’t taken notes all semester

In the first few weeks of semester, nothing seemed valuable enough to commit to paper/Microsoft Word. Weeks later you’re still saying, “oh, I’ll start writing my notes in week 6”, and “I think the online notes are probably going to be formatted better than anything I could put together anyway.” We’ve all been there.

This usually leads to the age-old last minute panic. It’s easy to say this could be avoided by taking notes from week one onwards but we all know how effective self-motivation can be sometimes (not very). As such, the cure to zero notes around exam time or mid-semester is study group sessions to compile notes and create answer guides. Meet with a group of law friends and assign roles, such as reading certain textbook chapters, looking at the course materials database for relevant information, etc. The next time you’re trapped in the law library together, the job is to sum up the content you explored and trade knowledge/notes with each other.

You’ve been avoiding classes

The student who has avoided lectures all semester works best under pressure; otherwise, why would they be cramming all of the hard work into a two-week period?

The quick solution to this problem is to close your dusty venetian blinds, avoid all outside communication and endure days of solitude and microwave meals until you’ve caught up, but we all know how damaging that is to all facets of personal health.

The best solution for this mighty problem is to draw a mind map of every topic covered in the subject, and to cross off the ones you feel confident with. Then grab those PowerPoint slides and subject guides and start to fill in the gaps in your knowledge for the topics that make you think you’d rather free fall from the sky than attempt to answer a question about come exam time.

You’d be surprised how much this process can help to clear up any confusions and also make your workload lighter because you won’t be spending hours listening to lecturers drawl on about liabilities and clauses.

You received a disappointing mark

As easy as it is to say that you’re going to dust yourself off and Erin Brokovich strut your way through it, it’s harder to do in practice. Some people wear their failures as a badge of pride and deem it an academic hiccup to promote harder work next time around. Others feel utterly useless in the face of rejection. If you’re one of the latter, your best approach is to speak to the academic that gave you low marks in order to find out every single flaw in your work (and perhaps boost your marks a bit if they notice any mistakes in marking!).

The worst place to be at this time is at the law library where news of results is emerging from the mouths of several overtly proud high achievers. It’s also key to remember that a GPA is not the be all and end all. Hell, to use an Erin Brokovich reference again – SHE DIDN’T EVEN STUDY LAW but still played a central role in major court victories. You’ll be fine. Chin up!

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