At the start of semester, there’s nothing more exciting than getting back into all of those readings and assessments… right? But once you’re back in study mode, holding on to that study motivation becomes a challenge. Here are some tips (bribery methods) that I’ve discovered over the years…
1. Have the best stationery anyone has ever seen
All law students love stationery, and you only get to experience the true awesomeness of the various colours and applications of stationery by using them. So every semester I get a ‘kit’ of brand new stationery that I use only for law school. Feeling organised and supported by my assortment of pens and page tabs, those thick textbooks suddenly don’t feel like a challenge anymore.
2. Don’t rush for deadlines: sometimes you have assessments, but remember that learning is for your lifetime
Avoid tunnel vision that comes with orientating your study just around assessment due dates. You will never regret doing your readings properly (that does include skim and speed reading where appropriate) and understanding concepts well the first time round.
Remember that your core subjects do have a fair amount of overlap – think of time saving as a big picture challenge and study actually becomes easier as you progress into your degree. That’s right – you can make law school easier.
It’s also worth considering summer or winter school. The shorter teaching period means you can focus on only one or two subjects. While it’s intensive, keeping yourself in study mode means it’ll be easier to get back into university life after a break.
3. Study a topic of personal passion
Don’t take elective choices for granted. It’s all too easy to select electives that appear to have ‘easier’ assessment or that involve less contact time. But ask yourself: will you enjoy the subject? Will it engage you? Studying something that you have a genuine curiosity about turns study into a pleasure (and typically, into higher grades).
Also, if the subject area is a long-held passion of yours, chances are that you’ve already done a lot of reading about it and will grasp the topics quicker.
4. Know what you need to be studying and prioritise
It’s something all students are told, but following it is another thing. Knowing for certain that you are checking off a list of items that must be studied and reaching each as a separate goal is actually kind of exciting when you think about.
Why? Because you have set yourself an end point for each main topic or task. This takes away the gloomy feeling of ‘this will never end!’. Plus, when you have accomplished one of your goals, you now have some time for a break to catch up on your TV viewing.
5. Exercise, Healthy Snacks and Breaks
A healthy body and mind is the foundation for a less torturous study session. Studying when you’re feeling well allows you to get the work done more efficiently and to produce work of a better quality.
So always remember: sleep for energy (no energy drinks!), regular short breaks to de-stress and snacks for brain fuel (you can have a bit of chocolate, it’s okay!). Admittedly, I’ve completed study sessions while working my way through a large pizza by myself a number of times. So I understand how hard keeping to healthy brain foods can be.
If these tips don’t help you to get through your weekly workload, remember that effective study sessions lead to more spare time for doing fun things. Keeping yourself motivated and setting goals that help you to get through your study efficiently leads to spare time for shopping/eating/sleeping/partying, without the guilt that accompanies procrastination.