As law students, crunch time seems to be constantly upon us. If we aren’t actually taking an exam or writing a paper, we’re studying for the next one on the horizon. We breathe, eat and sleep law. After all, it comes with the territory.
(But seriously, what in the heck did we get ourselves into..?)
There are so many factors that come into effective studying like:
- What are your priorities?
- What should you work on first and how much time should you spend on it?
- How should you organize your day? (There are only so many hours!)
- Where do you feel the most comfortable?
- Is it in your bedroom or that cozy corner in the library?
- Do you need a big cup of coffee by your side to get your brain in gear, or are you happy with a cup of your favorite tea?
- Am I human for choosing law?
These are all things we need to ask ourselves to get the most out of our days!
But, you’re resourceful! This is why you’re studying law. You’re the kings and queens of using logic to make the best out of any situation, no matter how stressful it may be.
Nevertheless, having an array of stationary equipment to make your life easier and promote seamlessly productive study sessions is always a good thing. (In my books anyway)
(yes that was a pun.)
Because it is such an important part of law school, it can often feel like our worst enemy. We struggle to find a balance in our professional and academic life while still trying to have a personal one. After all, we NEED those breaks to enjoy our friends and family and do the things we love, otherwise we’d go absolutely insane!! (Unless you’ve already gone insane, in which case me too girl me too)
That is why implementing a routine within your studying habits is essential. The smallest changes in your study routine can make all the difference.
But don’t worry- I gotcha!
As a law student myself, I understand ALL the struggles. That’s why putting this together for my fellow academics was so important.
Below, I have compiled a list of little stationary essentials that you can implement into your study routine that will change your life. Not only will you feel more in charge of your day-to-day, but you’ll find your study sessions to be much more manageable and efficient. (And pretty too!)
So, let’s get down to it, shall we?
1. Use highlighters-
Let’s be honest- law school requires
Pages upon pages of reading and research you probably have to cram into a very short period of time. So, isn’t it important to have a way to make this process more efficient?
It’s time to highlight your life!
This may seem like such a trivial thing, but truthfully it can make or break a study session. If you’re reading a large amount of text, doesn’t it make sense to have a way to call attention to the most important parts for future reference? You really don’t want to have to go back in and read the whole thing again when you can just easily find what you’ve already deemed important, right?
I don’t know about you, but I love taking a trip to my local office supply shop. There are so many choices available and, as silly as it sounds, you will be able to find items that speak to you and your personality. Invest in some good (and cute) highlighters. Use your favorite colors so that everytime you look down at the page, you’ll be visually pleased. Have fun with it!
2. Sticky-notes are your best friend-
Getting organized is key to having a productive day. Otherwise, how can you remember all of the things you have to do? Not only that, but there is only so much information you can hold in your brain, and having a place to write down important things you are gathering during your study sessions is crucial.
Unstick yourself when you’re stuck!
Imagine this: you’re in the middle of a wordy text and then BAM! You remember you have to buy Whiskers her cat food before she resents you for the next week (you know how felines like to hold grudges.) So, what’s the easiest thing to do?
Reach for a sticky-note, quickly jot down the task and stick it somewhere you know you’ll see later.
Likewise, sticky-notes are a great way to write down key information you’re finding during your studying- whether it be an idea for an essay topic or the thesis of a text you are heavily invested in. This is a super easy way to clue in on what needs your attention within that moment and as your day goes on. The sticky-notes aren’t going anywhere and in time, will become a friend you can rely on.
3. Different colored pens are everything-
Ah yes, another excuse to take a trip to the office supply shop.
Most likely located next to the highlighters are the all-mighty pens. And wow there are no shortages of colors, shapes and sizes to choose from! Just like the highlighters, go with the ones that are most aesthetically pleasing to you. Maybe you feel most comfortable with a thin pen, or maybe you enjoy a thicker grip. Maybe you like fancy gel pens or you enjoy the simplicity of a good old-fashioned fountain pen.
The pens you choose may not make or break a study-sesh, but isn’t it a nice bonus to find a little pleasure as you scribble down notes with your brand new purple gel pen?
Invest in little things that make you smile and I promise you you’ll feel a little less heavy as you buckle down and get to work.
4. Set manageable goals-
It’s so easy to bog ourselves down when it comes to all the things you have to cover for school. You want to get it all done and there are days when you have so much to do, you hardly have time to eat (let’s face it, we’ve all been there and suddenly, leftovers become your best friend.)
As important as it is to stay on top of your to-do list, it is also incredibly important to set manageable goals. Otherwise you will inevitably hit a wall and experience a burn-out. Then, where does that leave you? Much more behind than if you had simply broken your tasks into manageable segments.
Pace yourself, honey!
You probably have a 50 page writing assignment looming in your future. Instead of waiting until the last minute to cram the paper into an 8-hour time-frame, why not break it up into doable pieces? Think about your writing style. How many pages can you usually tackle within an hour? Let’s say it’s five. Knowing that, give yourself at least a week before the paper is due to begin. By spending one or two hours a day of that week on the task, you will get it done without killing yourself due to procrastination.
Trust me, you’ll end up writing a much better paper if you give yourself the time to not only write it, but to rest in between. Professors can tell when we rush through our writing, so allow yourself the time to show the best sides of yourself and your talents.
5. Study smart, not hard-
This is in the same vein as tip #4, but honoring yourself with a smart study sesh over a hard one makes all the difference. What I mean by this is using your time effectively when it comes to tackling all the things you need to do. Again, you don’t want to leave everything to the last minute. This leads to shoddy work and stress. But here’s the thing, you can get it all done! I promise you!
Take a deep breath, you got this.
First of all, figure out what your priorities are. What is the first thing you should work on? What is the second? And so on. Once you’ve established that, try to estimate how long each task will take. Try to spend no more than two or three hours at a time on one thing. After that, take a break.
A LONG ONE.
Don’t just take five minutes to shove some food in your mouth and then get back to your textbook or computer screen. Step away from your work and do something completely unrelated. Go for a walk, take a nap, go on a hot-air balloon ride or go have coffee with a friend. Literally anything that has nothing to do with your assignments.
Guaranteed, you will come back to your work feeling 100% better and ready to kick some major law school butt.
This degree you are chasing is important but it is nowhere near as important as your peace of mind and your wellbeing.
In the end you’ll realize that you CAN get it all done if you are smart about how you go about it.
You will finish that project.
You will complete that writing assignment.
You will get all that reading done.
You will succeed.
Find the time to balance your work and personal life, invest in little things to help you get organized and remember to listen to that inner voice that is always trying to look out for you.
After all, literally no one cares more about you than YOU. Even if you aren’t fully aware of it, there is always a part of you that has your best interest in mind. Take the time to invest in yourself and the pay-off will be more than worth it.
And on that note,
On your mark glitter pens..
Get set polka dot sticky notes…
And go go go highlighters !
Time to study, study study!
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All the best and happy studying ! x