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  • Writer's pictureSurvive Law

Trials and Tribulations of a Law Student's Textbook

The Simpson's Police Chief

Five-hundred page textbooks are almost an essential for every law student. You start to accumulate something of a collection reminiscent of your five-year-old's self encyclopaedia collection. After two years, your textbook collection is worth almost $500-$1,000 (depending on whether you’re buying new or used). Despite being one of the “required textbooks”, they often get left behind, catch our tears and food crumbs and allow us to aggressively highlight, underline and tab them.

As a tribute to all the law textbooks that have been and are yet to be with us over the course of our law degree, I think it’s time that we step back and re-imagine the life and times of a law student’s textbook.

Before Semester

You pick up your new textbook for *insert name of law subject*. It’s brand new, its pages are still pristine and free of any markings, and not a dog-ear in sight. You promise yourself that you’ll take care of them this semester. You won’t leave them anywhere and you’ll keep them clean. You’ve worked out a new highlighting and tabbing system that would leave your textbook looking Pinterest-worthy by the end of semester. “I’ll control myself and use a ruler”, you whisper to yourself.


During Semester

By week 5 of the semester, you’ve left your textbook countless times at the library, the uni pub, underneath the pile of unwashed clothes in your room and on the bus. Some pages have developed a slight wrinkle (mostly from your tears), there are cookie crumbs permanently lodged in the spine and you’ve dog-eared every fifth page of the textbook, telling yourself that you’ll eventually read that case. Your system of highlighting the key dates, facts, reasoning and dissenting judgments has failed. Instead your pages are a hot fluoro mess with half-ripped tabs hanging out of every side of the book.

Jennifer Lawrence making a mistake

After Semester

After the last exam is finished or the final assessment is handed in, you finally get around to cleaning the end-of-semester mess that is every student’s desk. You umm and ahh for a day or two before deciding to do one of two things:-

1. You place it in your neglected bookshelf amongst your other textbooks who have also been through similar, traumatic experiences. You’ll need them again one day, you tell yourself.

2. You come to the conclusion that it’s time to part with your textbook, putting it up for sale or bequeathing it to another friend. Before parting with it, you look at it longingly and whisper, “it was good knowing you.”

Rachel Bilson waving goodbye

*Repeats next semester*

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