With schools closed, many universities having cancelled all teaching until the end of the academic year and many assessments either cancelled, postponed or moved online it can seem like a scary task to go into self-isolation and have to continue working as normal in these far from normal circumstances. In this piece, I am going to try my best to highlight some tips on how to make the most of self-isolation to remain productive and continue revising for your law exams.
Whilst many law schools have decided to end face-to-face teaching and contact until the end of the academic year, most universities have not yet put in place specific plans for how to re-organise the usual assessments and examinations that were due to take place in the summer term. Therefore, in order for you to even begin a plan for the next few months with regard to revising and productivity, you should keep an eye on your university email accounts. Some universities suggest checking your emails at least twice a day for updates. It might also be helpful to keep yourself subscribed to university social media accounts as if you miss an email update, it will also likely be published on these online forums.
The reason why it is so important to keep up to date is so that you are able to efficiently revise for any assessments which will be coming up. For example, if arrangements are made for exams to be taken online – a step which many universities have made clear is in the works – then you may have to amend your revision accordingly. Even more important, if certain assessments are cancelled and/or postponed it is important that you know so you don’t waste time revising for exams that are not happening or revising too early for assessments that have been moved to a different date.
If you are going to remain productive and keep up revision for upcoming assessments, you cannot leave every day to chance. You need to create a plan for how you intend to spend each day. For some people, that might mean mirroring how a day would go if you were not isolating – getting up at the same time, taking lunch at the same time, exercising at the same time. But make sure whatever plan you put in place suits your style of learning. For example, if you learn better in the evening, amend your revision schedule accordingly. You might not know what plan works best right away, but a few days of trial and error should be sufficient to highlight what sort of work/revision day best suits you whilst in isolation.
Particularly for students with looming exams/assessments in self-isolation, whilst the safe thing to do in terms of the pandemic is to stay inside, this leaves a dangerous risk of spending every waking hour working and then burning out.
Make time in your daily plan for everything you need to keep yourself sane. This means that your schedule does not have to be solely a revision plan and it does not have to be set in stone. Remember to allow yourself flexibility and extra-curricular time as not only is self-isolation something which not many people have ever experienced but it is crucial for your mental health that you make time in your day for relaxation, for exercise and for socializing (be that through video-calls, phone calls or together with whoever lives in your home – at a safe distance of course). Also, do not forget the importance of fresh air. Whilst we must take care to abide by social-distancing at this time you can still go for a walk to clear your head, sit in your back garden and take some time to yourself or simply open the windows wide to let the oxygen flow within your workspace.
The steps education institutions have had to make at this time regarding upcoming assessments are unprecedented and students, staff and those in control of these decisions are treading an uncertain path. For students, all these changes can be scary and create anxieties surrounding attaining the qualifications they need. Particularly as this year many university staff went on strike, expressing frustration over pay and pensions, before the pandemic closures. However, you are NOT alone. Whilst we cannot physically come together, we are united in this uncertain time and we must hold each other up.
Your friends, both those on your own course and on other university courses, are all feeling the same anxiety and it is so important that you support each other. This might mean coming together through text or phone calls or even on google documents to help each other understand more difficult concepts or just coming together at the end of a long day to “digitally socialize” and take your minds off the uncertainty of the day. Previous law graduates can also help by being ready to help those younger than them understand something which they may be struggling with.
Also, whilst face-to-face teaching has ended, your tutors and lecturers will, as far as possible, be teaching online lectures, providing online resources and making themselves available to support you in your learning as you finish this term.
Good luck, Keep safe, Look after each other!
For specific information about revision, online learning, teaching, assessments and examinations plans at your institution – check your institutions website.
Words: Alicia Gibson
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