As law students we know that words matter and that words can cost you (no, literally, we’re going to bill you by the hour). But sometimes there are phrases we throw around that we get so used to that we stop thinking about what they actually mean. You’ve heard them whispered at the back of a lecture theatre, in passing outside the library and you’ve probably said them yourself (I know I have). The fact is that some of these phrases are going to cost us more than some air and the sympathetic chuckle they bring out in anyone listening.
“My tutor sucks”
We hear this one a lot around this time of year. It’s the middle of the semester, content is getting tougher and so are the tutorials. Without resorting to clichés and without characterising us all as poor workmen (because, face it, we’ve all said it), most of the time it’s not the tutor that’s the problem. Did you go to the lecture? Did you prepare for the tutorial? Did you ask your tutor about those doubts you had? There may be instances of inconsistent teaching across a subject but it’s also important that we take personal responsibility for our learning and blaming the tutor can mean we’re being short-sighted about the real problem.
“I need a drink”
You’ll hear this after any class that finishes after 5 o’clock (or 4 o’clock if it’s Equity). You’ve been in class since 9 am, all you’ve had since lunch is some crackers and your body and brain are begging you for some beer and hot chips (or if you’re anything like me, a glass of red wine and a packet of chilli crisps). It’s true that we have stressful degrees and for a lot of us our degrees aren’t the only thing we’re doing to make ourselves employable so it’s more than fair to feel entitled to a relaxing drink. But try to keep in focus the fact that it’s not the drink you need, it’s that quality time with your friends that you hardly see outside of class.
“I’ll do it tomorrow”
Okay so you’ve said you need a drink, you’ve gone to get one with some mates, you’re thinking about that Thursday tutorial you have to prep for and someone offers to get the next round. Doesn’t that sound better than going home to keep studying? Of course it does, but before you decide to take the dive stop to consider whether you actually have time tomorrow. Planning is important but planning your week is very different to ‘planning’ to do it tomorrow, especially when the original plan was to do it today. It’s okay to let things slide occasionally, after all if your brain needs the downtime then it needs the downtime, but be careful about letting things pile up.
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