Monthly Archives: April 2013

Stress Less

I want to keep this post short seeing as how everyone is busy studying for final exams. I can’t believe how quickly this term has passed. It only seems like yesterday that I was trying to be a tree, didn’t know what a CAN was, and was a foreigner to the concept of studying on a Friday night.

But the term is over, and that means exams are coming, seemingly with an extra-large side of stress. We’ve had ‘We Love Law Students’ week with cookies, free massages and puppy therapy, which is such a wonderful effort by UBC Law’s amazing staff and faculty to take care of us. Going off of that theme, I want to use this post not just to wish everyone a good exam season, but also as a reminder not to stress out too much. This is mainly directed at 1Ls, but if you are a 2L or 3L reading a mere mortal of a 1L’s blog post, you are awesome and I am giving you a virtual hug.

Here are some of the phrases I’ve heard about law school/finals this past week or so: hell, stressful!, like being punched in the head every day, I wake up in the middle of the night because of stress, I can’t sleep, there is no time to do well!, toxic levels of studying… and other phrases which demonstrate too well the versatility of a certain expletive. Even one of our professors commented that this year the level of 1L stress seems to be higher than normal. I have friends in medical school who are learning how not to accidentally kill people who stress less than some law students.

So, even though you’ve heard this a million times, here it is in classic final-exam condensed form:

  • Your health > your marks | marks are NOT determinative/necessarily reflective of: intelligence, amount of hard work you’ve put in during the year, ambitions, or future success as a lawyer.

I may be the worst offender myself sometimes, but my best stress reduction technique is to keep things in perspective. If I feel overwhelmed, I stop and think: If I went to bed last night with a full stomach and a roof over my head, I’m better off than a massive portion of humanity, past and present, and my stresses are relatively minimal. So, take a breath and slow down. Try to balance your day of studying with breaks, physical activity, time with family, friends, pets, and don’t let stress get the better of you. We’re almost there!


Hello Future 1Ls!

As I’m buckling down to write 1L final exams, I realize that a year ago around this time, I was gearing up for my summer before law school.  Prospective students may be in a state of curiosity about how to prepare for 1L, as I was, so I decided to share some suggestions in case you feel inclined to do some pre-law preparation (if you don’t, see number 5).

1. I didn’t do any pre-law reading. I know of a couple peers who read Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams by Fischl and Paul. They said it was kind of helpful in getting a sense of what to expect from classes. My recommendation would be to get your non-law reading done this summer. You might find catching up with Game of Thrones installments more difficult once classes start.

2. Consider investing in a suit. Even if you see yourself as being more of a Vinny Gambini type of lawyer (reference: My Cousin Vinny. If you haven’t seen this movie, you may want to add it to your docket), a suit will still be handy to have for networking events, formal dinners, or interviews.

3. Having a laptop might make life easier. In undergrad, I was a strict pen-and-paper note taker, but I find a laptop handy because I type faster than I write, and law professors impart a lot of knowledge in a short amount of time. Also, you have an option of writing exams on your laptop at UBC Law.

4. I would also encourage you to speak to our super-friendly UBC Law Student Ambassadors if you have questions as a prospective or admitted UBC Law student (click here).

5. Have fun! Do something interesting this summer! I worked my whole summer before law school, and while I don’t regret it, I envied peers who went on fun escapades the summer before law school and had amazing stories to tell during Orientation Week.