Advice I wish I received as a graduate law student…
1. If it is not a research essay, you won’t get rewarded for extra research.
Argh, this one kills me. So many memorandums, so much time wasted… I use to spend a long time doing extra research for cases or going over the readings again. It wasn’t until I hit Property Law that I realised there is no point doing it unless it’s a research essay (only because my lecturer showed her students a matrix on how an assignment was marked). Most of time, you’re graded against a marking matrix and if you do not have what is on that paper, chances are… you won’t get any additional marks. Just to think, I could of went out that weekend night after all!
2. Asking for a remark is a thing in law school.
I received a remark for a research essay which boosted my mark by 10% once (umm... wow?!). I wish I knew that you could ask for a remark when I first started. One of my contracts memorandums was so similar to a friend of mine, except he got an A and I got a B. I thought for some reason, it was just me. Maybe it’s the way I said it… but no. Asking for a remark is an actual thing! I wish I asked that time!
3. I’ll be the one who tells the kids to be quiet…
Throughout my undergraduate degree, I never really took University too seriously. I look at the slightly older students and wonder why they care so much about achieving good grades or how they’d ask really in depth questions (and hey, sometimes I still question the latter). I know why now. The older I get… the more anxious I am about doing well. Stress never really hit me until I realised all my high school friends are getting married and I’m in law school! (Oh, isn’t that how a law school’s student story usually goes?). So time and time again, I’m now the one who wishes I had an amazing study group (the one we all dream of – unless it is just me) that asks the other kids in the library to be quiet so we can cram away and hit an A.
4. People lie about how much they study.
I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry here. Prior to one exam, my friend at the time told me he barely studied. So I was like, cool. I shouldn’t have to that much… we’ll do well! Wrong. Absolutely wrong. He ended up achieving such an amazing mark, and I was left devastated. A year later, I asked him… you really did study for that exam didn’t you? He replied, ‘well that depends on what you classify as a lot’. The first thing that hit my mind was ambiguity. I never looked at words the same. I always question what someone really means by saying something. It is like psychology… while doing law… so strange. Battle of the minds?!
5. You need to be super strong!
I always told myself that I am a big girl that can take on the world. Who was I kidding? Law can get everyone down. I’m not sure when the last time I cried about something that wasn’t law school related was. Sometimes, all the competition really gets to me and it sucks! Law school is hard. I wish I told myself at the start that I need to forgive myself for making mistakes. I wish I told myself that I’m a human… not a robot. You just need to jump back on the train and keep travelling towards the big city dream, girl!
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