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Surviving Four (or More) Law Subjects in a Semester

August 7, 2012

Last semester I took on four law subjects. And while I survived (I use that word lightly) it was by far the worst experience of my life. By week 5, with three assessments and two exams in front of me, I was the student fighting, begging, the Officeworks people to please print my notes the night before my exams.

 

I don't even remember what I did during mid-semester break, but there wasn't enough time to get the next billion assessments done. It should have come as no surprise that I handed in an assessment half an hour before it was due, that I went to my presentation without the mandatory handouts and that the mooting competition I was organising nearly fell apart. Of course there was no time for recovery before finals came around. I'm convinced I'll be the first person to fail ethics.

 

Maybe you’re cramming the subjects in because you want to finish your degree off quickly or perhaps you only have law subjects left to complete. Having made it through this hellish amount of work last semester, my advice is to stop.

 

Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about. We're law students; most days it feels like studying isn’t enough and that you are just as equally judged on the extra-curricular activities you do and the job you have. So you're taking on a lot more than four law subjects, you're taking on hell. Stop. I know you will want to take that extra shift at work. I know you will want to do that other competition at uni. I know you will still try to attend every social event on the calendar. And I know that your study will suffer as a consequence. And so will your health. So, stop.

 

Think carefully about the extra-curricular activities you take on. Try swapping mooting for a competition that doesn’t demand quite so much preparation. If you're on the LSS, talk to fellow council members about getting some help with your responsibilities and duties. If you're working or volunteering, speak to your supervisor and warn them that you may need some time off around assessments. If a new opportunity comes up, think carefully about accepting it and weigh up the pros and cons, because you might have to drop something else to take it on.

 

But wait, there's more! Yep, those four subjects you've enrolled in. With all their abundantly wonderful readings, arduous assignments and torturous exams, the weekly workload alone would be enough to keep you busy. If you have the luxury of picking which subjects you are going to do, opt for the ones with lower credit points. Know what you're strengths are. If you do better in exams, pick the subjects with fewer assessments, and vice versa. Be organised and start your assessments as early as possible – even if you don't get very far at least when you start up again on the day it's due (always a horrifying possibility) you'll have something done! 

 

So stop. Stop rushing, stop overloading, and stop panicking. You'll have plenty of time to do everything over the course of your degree. Unless of course you're in your last year, in which case, well, you'll survive. 

 

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