It’s that time of the semester again…
That time post mid-sem when we’re drained from completing back-to-back assignments and now stressing about up-coming exams. Gone are the dreams of getting HD’s for all your units, now you’re just hoping to scrape a Pass.
As law students, over-achieving is inherent in our nature. We start of the semester with a foolproof plan to boost up our WAM, rake in money from our part-time jobs, while also maintaining a decent social life. But as the semester trudges on and our workload starts to build, we can all find ourselves drowning the workload and struggling to juggle all our responsibilities.
Just when we’re desperate for a breather, our so-called Mid- Semester Break ends up scheduled the week before all our crucial assessments are due, and thus wrecking any plans for a road trip or to actually relax.
It’s no wonder that we emerge from the break and into the exam-prep period even more burnt out and wired than the start of the semester.
Things to Do:
Give yourself a Mental Health Day … or 2
Sometimes all we really need is a break from all things Uni related. Consider this your permission to skip class for a day and have time off completely guilt-free! Find a day in your week with no compulsory tutes, a recorded lecture you can miss, and when you’re not rostered on to work- and just take the whole day off!
Devote yourself to something non-law and non-Uni related and just spend time doing something you actually love and enjoy! It could be hanging out at the beach, catching up with fun friends, bingeing on Netflix or just spending time at a new brunch spot.
In Week 8, I gave myself a mental health day – (more like the whole week oops)- and just spent time reading ACTUAL NON-LAW BOOKS, getting coffee with friends who encouraged me to keep persevering, and just spent quality time with myself to reassess my priorities and goals for the rest of the sem.
It may seem completely counter-intuitive to skip class when you’re already behind, but the peace and energy you get from just giving your body time to relax and enjoy your day will inspire motivation to smash out the rest of the semester! There’s no point pressing on if you’re already burnt out.
Note: This method will only work if you are disciplined enough to actually start going back to Uni and studying again
Small things on Repeat
When the immense backlog of law readings and the tasks on the To- Do List start to pile up, it can make my brain automatically switch off and crave a nap instead. The weight of how much you need to do can lead to procrastination and ultimately a bigger to-do list and more stress by the end of the semester.
But what I’ve found works for me, is to chip away at the subject or dreaded assignment a little bit at a time. By dedicating a small amount of time each day to completing a small part of my assignment or my reading list, I’m motivated to get started on it earlier as I know there’s not a lot to do. By repeating this each day, I’m able to get things done faster and more accurately instead of trying to cram it all in the night before.
Which leads us on to…
Celebrate the little victories
Sometimes we disregard just how much we’ve achieved to get to where we are today and all we’re focused on is slugging away at the next task on our To-Do List.
The truth is, you deserve a celebration for every little thing you’ve done to get to this point today, no matter how big or small you think it is. Don’t discount all it has taken for you to reach your goals. You don’t have to wait until something ‘big’ or ‘impressive’ happens to pull out the Champers. Finished your Reading for the week? Binge-watch a season on Netflix! Knocked off a 40% assignment? Go out for Dinner and Drinks! Just the fact that you’ve actually gotten out of bed and made it to your lectures for the day is enough to bust out the confetti in my opinion!
Find the joy in the little things and that will help you stay motivated for the next obstacle.
Remind yourself of the bigger picture
Repeat this to yourself when stressed or freaked out: This is only a season.
Right now, your life may revolve around stress, cramming content and doubting yourself. But just as the seasons inevitably change, so too will this period of your life. One semester is really only 12-14 weeks of the year, and once it’s over, it’ll be a new season of free time and joy. How you feel now is not what you’ll feel forever, I promise.