Starting a semester can be overwhelming but the good thing about being an upperclass student is that the experiences you have along the way will help you build up better habits and strategies to boost not only your academics but your interpersonal relationships as well – because let’s be honest, half of the stress from school comes from irritating people you have to deal with apart from the loads of schoolwork you already have on your plate oops.
Each semester can be a fruitful learning experience as to what works best for if you think about it seriously and reflect upon the mistakes that you made last time. Hopefully, at some point all these will add up and create some sense of stability in your routines so you can just focus on what truly is important: learning the law. Naks.
Just as every experience at school is a personal one, each list you make should be personal as well. And that is why I have decided to write this blog post: so I can keep track of my progress (I do hope I am making one, otherwise I’m in serious trouble) in trying to figure out the techniques that work well for me. With that being said, here are the things that last semester taught me:
- Your room is a better place to study than the library – in fact, any place can be a good place to study if you just pull your shit together and resist the urge to slack off. The library would have been perfect were it not for the fact that it is almost always full – so if I want a good spot, I need to at least go to school before lunch time hits lest I’ll end up in some seat nearest to the air-condition and freeze to death before I can finish my cases. Towards the end of the semester, I stopped forcing myself to get up in bed earlier than usual to prep for school and just stay at my dorm room to study and it worked. The trick is to just basically recreate my routine at the library in my own room: 50 minute work-10 minute break combo, listen to jazz music and lay out what I need to do for the day. Staying in my dorm also means more freedom and comfort because no one will shush me if I memorize too loudly or stare at me if I tie my hair into some messy bun.
- Learn to say no sometimes when it comes to group studies and helping people out. Just think of it this way: the amount of work you do will certainly affect your grades and what you learn about the subject and everyone else in law school pretty much has the same concern as you are: not to fail. So every time you feel uncomfortable going out to study or you just have other plans for the day in mind, go ahead and tell your classmates that you will pass on the group reviews. You do not have to act like a superhero and help out everyone who asks for your help if you still have lessons and readings to catch up too, especially considering how tough second year is. Prioritize yourself above anything else because every other law student does too, for sure – and your true friends will understand that. There are other ways to help anyway, like sending them copies of your reviewers and other references which might be of help to them.
- Your midterm exams matter but screw up your finals and you will most likely flunk the subject. This is something which I think can be really unfair: all those months of sleeplessness and hard work may become useless if you end up having a bad final examinations for reasons out of your will – like getting sick or failing to finish your review because you overslept, etc. This happened to me for so many times now and I think it is time to accept that this is just the way it is, with final examinations making up one-third of our final grade. I feel particularly nervous for my grade in Negotiable Instruments Law right now considering how terrible my exams went but I still am going to hope for the best, although chances are I might retake the subject next school year. Tanga ko kasi nung exam. Kaiyak!
- Start saving up for your finals week expenses early and buy a coffee tumbler, duh. Obviously for my caffeine addiction, snacks and reviewers. Being broke a week before final examinations is the worst – so save up early and stop asking too much money from your parents, you 22-year old dependent. The last of your concern during the finals week should be your budget and how to tell your parents that you already spent your allowance for the week a day after receiving it. Remember to buy a coin bank on your next visit to shop school supplies!
- Minimize your use of Facebook, Twitter Instagram during school days. Remember how relatively productive you were when you did this for your finals so why not try a little harder this time and uninstall everything by the start of the semester? I am keeping Youtube though because Jess and Jenn are part of the reason why I am still sane. Seriously, it helps a lot to have an interest that is unrelated to law.
Wow, this sure ended up lengthy. I really do hope the next semester will be good to me, the last one was just so horrifying.