For my inaugural blog I thought I would convey some of the wisdom I have gained as a grizzled veteran of 7+ years of post-secondary education. As I embark on my second, hopefully final, year of the LLB program, the thing I would like to convey to you first-year students is that it is possible to pass all your classes without a rewrite and without a supporting institution. Admittedly it may be harder for those of you without any post-secondary experience, but, I assure you, it can be done. Yet if you are looking for a cheat sheet or shortcuts, you will be sorely disappointed: You will not survive without hard work and discipline. That said, here are some tips and hints to help you as you embark on your studies. Continue reading
U2’s classic song I still haven’t found what I’m looking for is still as relevant as it was when the song originally came out. The sentence captures our relentless pursuit to find the one thing that makes us happy or fulfilled. I am the first to admit that I am still searching. That’s why I have embarked on a long and difficult journey to fulfil my childhood dream, to become a lawyer.
My lawyer friends may say, “oh no, you are crazy”, maybe I am, but this is what I want to do and have wanted for decades. I did start out as a law student back in the 20th century in Hungary, but adventure got in the way and I landed in Canada. I did try to get into law school here, but again adventure got the better part of me and I went to live in Israel. I spent nearly two decades there, having a very challenging but interesting life. I got accepted to law school in Israel too, but life got in the way, I had to leave the program even before I could start.
Have you seen the episode of ‘How I met Your Mother’ where Marshall is waiting to see if he passed the New York state bar exams? The conflict is that he lost his password and can’t log into the candidate portal, which means he was to wait even longer to see if he passed or not. The writers did a masterful job building suspense and tension. If you are waiting for exam results, you might feel the same way. Everything is on the line while you wait.
Sometimes waiting for results feels more stressful than taking exams, but no matter, all you can do is sit tight. I try to keep calm, but for the first few weeks that’s virtually impossible. Here is how I have learned to cope.
When writing fiction an author has two ways to create a sense of tension and urgency in a reader and set the pace of the story. One is a time lock. The other is an option lock. A time lock means the character has X amount of time to accomplish Y and avert the consequences. It’s a race against the clock. An option lock means the character has to make a choice between two or more options to achieve their goals and avert disaster. If you are feeling behind in your studies, chances are the narrative around your dilemma contains an element of both time and option locks.
Writing science says that groups of people respond in different ways to each kind of lock, but more about that another time. For those of us engaged in post-graduate study I think the two get conflated. To solve the option/time lock we have to answer two simple questions. How much time do I have to prepare, and if I do option A, B, or C what results will I get? The consequences and looming potential for disaster are self-evident. So, how do I assemble my resources and move past the time/option lock that inevitably comes before exams?
I’m sitting behind a mountain of study materials trying to work out an effective revision plan. For me, revising is not the same as studying. It requires a very different attitude and awareness about what I want to accomplish. When I have a good understanding of those goals, I can then develop a plan to approach my materials.
My study materials include primary texts and essential reading, recommended reading, study guides for each module, and my notes. That’s a lot of material to collate and use together effectively. You can see why a clear goal about outcomes is very helpful. So how do I start?
How to make a study plan working towards the exams.
Firstly, you must decide what your aim in the upcoming examination session is. That is, do you wish to just ‘pass’ or are you working towards exceeding your own expectations and truly succeeding. If a pass is sufficient for you, then relax and continue to do what’s working for you. If you wish to succeed in the true sense of the word, then continue to read.
“Law school is no joke.” That’s what a friend of mine said when we last talked about my study program. He wasn’t lying. He’s a professional athlete, a downhill skier. He inspired me to think of note-taking like one of his epic runs to the finish line on a Super-G (super giant slalom) course – a combination of precision, technical expertise, and speed.
I have wanted to say Happy New Year for a few weeks now but felt I really had to work this out first. Sooooo, I’m sitting here in post-fact America trying to decide what courses to select for the new term. There are a lot of excellent options to choose from. This required a good think. I came close to pushing the registration button a few times then paused to consider how my choice will help me interpret and contribute to the world around me. For me, those opportunities are the point of education generally and of post-graduate legal education particularly. I’m going to invest a lot of time in this as a student and as a professional. It’s important to get it right.
Happy New Year friends across the World!
Hope 2017 has been a great year thus far with many more happy days to come!
That time of the year has come and if you are like me, then you are already beginning to stress yourself. Exams are just around the corner, so this is our time to pick our lazy butts off the couch and begin to do some serious work.
By now we should have at least had a first reading of all the modules we would be taking in May. If not, don’t worry, you still have a number of days to do so in January. I believe by February, we should be doing a second reading of the materials and linking it to past papers, if you haven’t already begun doing so. That is, read the past papers and the study materials together with an aim to answering the questions. In other words, let everything begin to come together and make sense.
Hello I am Janathri Weeratunga and I am from Sri Lanka. I am currently a 2nd year LLB student with the University of London International Programmes. As many students, I too started my first year straight after my A/Ls and I was pretty enthusiastic (at least in the first few months). I was a newbie to law and I thought that it would be as easy as any A/L Art stream subject (which was a big mistake). My whole concept of university life and higher education was pretty much based on English novels found at any bookshop in Sri Lanka. So of course, without any doubt, I was imagining hard work, long walks, a bit of romance, fun and a load of new friends.
However within a few months of lectures I was forgetting all the hard work and just simply enjoying life on campus and my new found freedom. It is of course very easy to get carried away with the whole concept of “University” and the life there and I did learn my lesson in the hardest way possible. So I am writing this post now just to make sure that all of you first years know exactly what you are getting into. Trust me; an undergraduate degree in Law does require a lot of hard work . If you do not put in those long hours of work you will regret it in August when results come. We are about 3 months away from what I would describe as the most competitive exams I have ever faced.