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Planning for Next Semester with an Aspiring Perfectionist

Old books on a shelf

If you’re anything like me, the end of year break doesn’t seem like much of a break at all. While friends are jetting off to exotic locations for their R&R, many of us take the opportunity to list ourselves as being available for work 24/7 during the holiday period.

Don’t get me wrong. Money is nice, especially if you have been living on baked beans on toast for a couple of months, but it is just as important to make time to ‘smell the roses’, etc, etc. If you are a fellow aspiring perfectionist, consider sitting down at some point these holidays to both reflect on last semester and plan for the next. Here are some ideas to get you started…

Update your resume

Don’t worry, I’m only half joking. Even if you aren’t currently searching for a job or an internship, it still pays to have an updated version of your resume ready to go. Updating your resume can give you a sense of accomplishment and can help you plan for the future. Start by adding any new achievements or experiences relevant to your goals. If you have nothing to add at this stage, this is the perfect opportunity to assess what areas of your resume you want to expand.

On the other hand, if you’re happy with your resume as it stands, this will provide you with a chance to reflect on your accomplishments and consider where you want to go in the future. You could even write up a ‘future CV’ to help you visualise the skills and work experience you hope to gain in the next year.

Review your final exam papers

Going into your university during your holidays seems like a lot of effort, especially after a long semester, however for many law subjects, exams are worth the majority of the final mark. Although it is tempting to set fire to the last semester’s notes and kick back after results are released, reviewing feedback for your exams can really pay off in the future. Whether you were happy with your grades or not, it’s worth finding out if your exam papers are available for viewing. You may be surprised to find out where you lost marks in different questions and the solution may be as simple as rethinking your answer structure for next semester.

Cleaning up your study area

When exams are over for the semester, I am always tempted to re-enact the scene from the Paper Chase where Bell’s notes spill out of the window. Whether you believe in post-exam note burning rituals, or whether you secretly hope that your beautiful law notes will one day be kept in a museum, it is refreshing to clear your study surface and file away old notes. Better yet, pass on your notes to someone who may use them and perhaps in the future, the favour might be returned. This cleaning process extends to your computer as well. File away last semester’s subject work and create new folders for the next.

Are you addicted to stationery? Go stationery shopping to stock up on pens, post-its, and highlighters for next semester. Out with the old and in with the new! Whatever it takes, this process will help you signal a fresh start to yourself before the new semester begins.

Read ahead

If you are especially organised (there must be someone out there!), you may have already purchased your textbooks for next semester. Instead of admiring them on your bookshelf, get a head start by reading the introductory chapters to give you a feel for the subject area. I’m not suggesting that you spend your holidays studying, but reading ahead at a leisurely pace may actually give you a buzz of excitement about your new subjects. If nothing else, you’ll definitely feel more justified about spending $500 on your new textbooks!

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