Study-life balance is an important aspect of a healthy learning environment. Maintaining this balance helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout. Our trainees, Maja, Monica and Caitlin, discuss their key tips for keeping a good study-life balance.
Hey there, students and trainees-to-be! Having been through the gruelling process of study, applications, interviews and assessment days, we understand the pressures students and those applying for training contracts face. Below we have provided some tips on managing work-life balance at the pre-training contract stage.
Pre-training contract stage
We know that studying law, whether during your undergrad studies or the LPC, can be very stressful. Many students find themselves overwhelmed by the pressure to excel in their studies and lead an active social life. We also know that law as a subject can seem pretty unwieldy – we have had our share of going through long judgments and getting confused by highly academic exceptions and rules. This means that many students struggle with structuring their revision and studies in a way which is sustainable.
However, do not despair – there is a method to this madness and we decided to share our best tips for leading a happy student life! After all, being a student truly is one of the best stages of your life and we believe you should really enjoy it.
For those of you with more pragmatic minds, being a student is also a great opportunity to become a bit more resilient and flexible, so that when you start working full-time you can enjoy yourself more and make this transition easier.
Our key tips for keeping a good study-life balance are:
- Study smart, not a lot. Sleep and taking regular breaks boost your memory and increase your ability to concentrate. Being focused on a subject for 30 minutes when rested is usually more effective than trying to read up on it when exhausted for 2 hours. Listen to your body.
- Plan, plan, plan. Understand the important parts of your curriculum you need to learn and make sure you learn them. Do not waste energy on studying obscure legal concepts which you will forget as soon as you write your exam (or before). We are quite confident that the Scottish case back from XIX century will not contribute much to your future legal career. If you are not sure what you need to focus on, ask your tutor. It’s not about knowing it all, it is about knowing the important bits.
- Understand what works best for you and stick to it. Highlights, memory cards or revision notes? Are you more productive in the morning, evening or during the day? Use your less productive parts of the day for exercise and socialising.
- Please, do not mindlessly rewrite answers to questions. You are a smart, individual human being, so make use of that. Understand, instead of only memorising the answer. This way, you will not only train how to think like a lawyer, you will also increase your chances of getting it right during the exam – when stressed, it is much easier to forget something you memorised than a concept you understand.
- Make time to have fun! Go out, make friends, exercise. If you need a pragmatic reason to do so, it will be easier to focus on your tasks if you are happy and rested.
- Practice mindfulness. Just 5 minutes every day, morning or evening, makes a massive difference. It is free, it is easy and it is guaranteed to make you a happier person in the long run.
- Talk to others. If you feel overwhelmed and stressed, talk to a friend, your family, tutors. Sometimes getting it off your chest and venting for half an hour is what is needed the most!
If used properly, these can be then translated into building a healthy work-life balance.