By the end of the second week of classes, I was only a little behind. I made a strategic decision that we wouldn’t cover 6 cases in torts, but we did. Luckily, during the break, I was able to skim the two cases I had skipped, so I knew enough to follow the conversation (and probably would have been able to give some kind of answer if I was called on).
This weekend, I had a friend in town for a few days, and it was a three-day weekend, so I put off studying until Sunday night. I read and briefed Torts pretty quickly last night. (I even read ahead.) This morning, I worked on my first legal writing assignment, which took longer than I expected, although I think it’s coming along nicely. Then I did my Contracts reading. I feel like I should try to read ahead in Contracts, since that is the class with the biggest reading assignments, but I wasn’t motivated to read more this weekend.
I need to get more efficient
My reading and case briefing are both getting quicker, as many people promised they would. However, I still feel like I’m being very inefficient. I think it’s because I haven’t found a comfortable study environment, yet. In med school, the studying was mostly reading, and I could do that sitting on the couch. In law school, it’s a combination of reading, typing at the computer, and cross-referencing with another book, the dictionary, or the syllabus. I try reading on the couch, but then have to crawl out from under a lap full of books to get to the computer. Then, I have to get back under the books to continue the reading. Also, there’s only one place on the couch that has decent lighting. It probably doesn’t help that Alex and Katie (who is now strong enough to jump up on the couch) both seem to think that the main reason I’m sitting on the couch is to give them some place to lie down.
I need to figure out a better system. In talking to another friend, I decided that I might try breaking my studying up into discreet blocks (instead of trying to do it all in one marathon) and try taking one or two of those blocks out of the apartment. I feel like I could be more energetic about studying if my physical space were better, although I can’t identify any concrete improvements. There are a lot of distractions, but if I don’t have music or the TV on low in the background, I get stir-crazy even faster.
I’ve also not been great about using my time at school before classes. I try to get there about 5 pm to avoid traffic and get good parking. I usually spend the hour before class eating, or hanging out with any classmates I see in the cafeteria. I need to start using some of that time to review, or read. But, that means I’d have to carry more stuff with me. Some days, my bag is already close to overflowing.
And I don’t think it’s a problem with motivation. I’m enjoying all the classes, and am still excited about school. I’m enjoying the reading, and learning legal research and writing.
Since school is just getting started, now’s the time to get into good study habits. Any suggestions on how to relearn studying as a returning student?