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Confessions of a Bad Law Student

Student sitting on the floor

If every conversation I heard in the law library about how much study everyone does is true, then I am in serious trouble.

If I read more than 40% of my reading list all semester I would be truly gob smacked. My notes will be printed off the night before the exam, and the term ‘my notes’ only applies to the extent that I paid for the paper they are printed on.

Competitive Law Students

Perhaps the reason we are so stressed out (or at least telling each other that we are) is because we are not being 100% honest with each other. It’s a dysfunctional, self-perpetuating pattern. The more we try to fit in by being ‘oh so busy,’ the more stressed and depressed we get about not being as ‘hard working’ or as brilliant as the rest of our peers. Let’s do something different this exam session and not try to freak each other out.

We’ve all had conversations that go a little bit like this:

Law Student 1: I have been studying for so long that I have surpassed the need for sleep.

Law Student 2: After working on my notes seven hours a day for a solid month I finally feel like I have great set of notes. But I still need to study more.

Law Student 1: Yeah, I have been doing four hours a night when I get home from work at (insert prestigious law firm here). But… (rambles off into some obscure point of law that was only in one footnote on the last page of a 90 page reading).

Law Student 2: I am feeling really confident about the exam. After examining all the prescribed cases and supplementary readings, I think the unit co-ordinator has been trying to tell us to look for the relationship between (some random link between the tort of trespass and the constitution).

But these intimidating conversations don’t reflect what most law students do each semester. Here are some of my confessions:

Reading Cases

I did it all year for my first year, but after working out how to use a digest to track down the ratio, I now only occasionally read judgments in full. Yup, I am a poor excuse for a law student.


Being the apathetic law student that I am, if it’s not pod-casted and able to be reviewed at 2x speed during STUVAC, I probably didn’t enrol in the subject in the first place.

Tute Prep

By tute prep, do you mean opening my laptop and reading the questions three minutes before class starts? After a few semesters you discover that if you volunteer an answer early you get points for participation and tend to get left alone for the rest of the tute.

I am a very bad law student… and now you know you’re not the only one.

Happy Exam Time,

The Honest Law Student.

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