Studying law at university can be very stressful at times. It’s common to envy the workloads (or lack of) of your friends doing other degrees, but it is still possible to relax at times during your law degree.
Here are 10 ways you can maximise your success at university without burning out.
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University is a brilliant place because you have a plethora of societies to choose from. At mine for example, we have everything from the rugby club to the Humans vs Zombies society. By joining a society, you will be able to take your mind off of studying whilst at the same time getting to meet interesting people outside of your subject.
Studies have shown that physical exercise, in particular aerobic exercise, promotes better mental health. Try to set aside some time in the day where you go out for a walk or even go to the gym on campus. This will again take your mind off the pressures of studying and help you relax.
Draw up a timetable which maps out your day. This will help you to plan effectively and avoid possible burnout. Something I find that makes revision more relaxing is using the Pomodoro technique. This is where you work on a topic for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break, then work again for another 25 minutes followed by another 5 minute break. This makes revision manageable and engaging.
Are you someone that thinks they work better under pressure? I definitely was. Leaving coursework until the last minute can cause a lot of stress and can impact the quality of your work. My advice is to use the time you have wisely. Once you receive the coursework title, spend a week understanding it and doing the necessary reading, then another collecting sources and forming your plan. Spend the third week writing it up and then the fourth week can be used for proofreading and editing. The more time you spend, the better your work will be and the less stressful you will find your law degree.
Yoga, breathing techniques and various other forms of promoting relaxation are great ways to unwind and focus on yourself. There are plenty of different techniques you can find online but one I find works for me is listening to ambient music and meditating.
If you feel as though your Law degree is causing you stress and it’s impacting your mental health, go and see your personal tutor and medical centre. Doing this early is very important. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and it is important that you take care of yourself during the course.
With a Law degree, it’s very easy to get caught up in the future – “I need to achieve a First, I need to get onto this vacation scheme, I need a training contract at this firm.” It’s not a bad thing to have aspirations but you need to focus on what you’re doing now. University is an incredibly exciting time and you can’t expect to relax during your Law degree if you constantly worry about the future.
Pick up the guitar, learn Spanish, try figuring out how to code. Learning something new gives you another thing to focus on and at times helps to divert your attention away from your Law degree. This is a good thing as focusing 100% on your Law degree 24/7 can burn you out. For me, playing the guitar helps me to relax during my studies.
You may feel guilty by taking a break from your Law degree but you really shouldn’t. The way our memory works is that once we learn new information, we go through a cycle of forgetting it, then remembering it and strengthening connections in our brain to transfer this from short term to long term memory. Taking breaks is just what your brain needs to unwind, process the information and allow you to relax.
The best way to motivate yourself to work is by setting your own reward. This could be watching a film, eating your favourite food or whatever you think is a good reward for hard work. You will find getting through reading so much easier and purposeful when there is some kind of motivation. If you use the Pomodoro method, you will find that the 5 minute break is a natural reward for working hard for 25 minutes.
For more ideas on how to maximise your success at university:
Author: Ali Chaudhry
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