By: Archiebald Faller Capila
It’s been a year since we last had onsite classes. Because of the current health crisis, we were forced to stay in our homes and conduct lectures and exams by using different online platforms. Accordingly, all law schools in the country have adopted several means so as to ensure that students will still be able to continue their journey to become lawyers. They have implemented several means and methods apt for today’s current set-up—online law schools.
However, it is safe to say that while it has been already a year since we last implemented such means, we are still struggling to adapt to the same. Because of several factors, we are prevented from realizing our full potentials as law students and as law professors. Internet connection is also the main problem. The wear and tear of gadgets used for online learning have been a hindrance. The fact that you are at your homes invites several chores that need attending. Indeed, law school has not been this hard since we could remember.
This is because law students are primarily trained for onsite learning. Those who already experienced law school in physical places can attest to the same. The study of law and the learning of which is different because students are trained to learn while they can see and hear the professor personally—jotting down notes of their respective lectures and the like.
But because of the current crisis and the growing number of cases by the day, online classes are here to stay. It is unlikely that we will have onsite classes any time soon. Because of our current situation, online classes are here to stay. This begs the question—how do we make ourselves effective during this time of a pandemic? How do we deal with online classes in today’s time?
In line with our advocacy to provide law students features related to how the study of law may be made easier, Barrista Solutions has come up with a list of how law students maximize their potential in online classes. What are the steps in order to be effective in this time of a pandemic? How do we deal with online classes? Barrista Solutions compiles a list on how to effectively manage your time in studying amidst this health crisis.
1. Stick to the study schedule you once followed during onsite classes
One of the common misconceptions in online classes is that a law student has all the time in the world. Some law students believe that because classes are now held virtually, they have the time to spare and do other things.
Law students must remember that while classes are done through online platforms, the same fact still stands—the study of law will always be the study of law. It commands the attention of those who try to wear and banner the badge of the law. While it is now done through online platforms, the study of law still requires the same amount of time and the same amount of effort.
If you have a study schedule that you follow before you entered law school, you must stick to the same. For example, if you study for 4 hours during the night and 6 to 8 hours during the day, don’t deviate from the same. You must remember that what changed only in the study is how it is done and commenced. It still requires from its students the same effort (or even more). Do not treat yourself as having some extra time to spare or burn. Make it a habit to stick to your study schedule.
2. Try to take a bath before studying in the morning
Because of the relaxing comforts of home, law students tend to slack around and take an hour or two before studying full time. They even goof around because their body still feels tired with all the tasks done the day before.
One thing is for sure—your body needs to wake up. And the same could only be done by taking a bath before you engage yourself in studying. It is proven effective by most law students because after taking a good bath, you feel alive and fresh ready to take on the day. This is just a refreshing part that takes over your body and makes you even more productive for the day.
3. Set a specific schedule for your breaks
As mentioned, because law students now have the time at their hands in their homes, they tend to spend some of the hours of the day doing nothing and taking a break. Law students must remember to stick to their respective schedules. Do not deviate from the same and strive to follow it no matter what happens.
For your breaks in between, try to limit the same as well. Accordingly, make it proportionate to the amount of time you have exerted to study. You cannot take a two-hour break just because you finished 10 pages of reading. You have to remember that you have a lot of assignments meant to be finished. Your breaks must only consist of short lapses so as to fully maximize your time in studying for the day’s scheduled subject.
4. Don’t deprive yourself of the opportunity to rest
By saying you have to schedule your breaks, we don't mean that you need to deprive yourself of the opportunity to rest. Of course, rest is necessary in order to fully grasp what you are trying to memorize and understand. However, mind the time as always. You must rest whenever you have already done something productive.
As mentioned, the time spent resting must also be proportionate to the efforts you have exerted studying. Try to limit the number of hours or minutes allotted for your rest. If you are to take a nap, make sure that you set an alarm or tell the members of the household to wake you up at a certain time. You cannot lose precious study hours.
5. Minimize your time on social media
One of the greatest time-eaters in today’s time is social media. Because of the wide-ranging applications the same offer, law students tend to surf the internet an hour too many.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and other relevant social media platforms have stormed the world because of the entertainment they provide. The next thing you’ll know is that you have already been spending uncountable hours just by surfing through these platforms. Set a timeframe when you should allow yourself to use these apps. Check the browsing history on how long you use them and you will be surprised by the results. Again, use your time to take a break wisely as well. Have the discipline to refrain from prolonged use of social media applications.
6. Find your sweet spot
The household of law students will always have temptations. Whether it be the television, the bed, and snack areas, these are all distractions in the study of law. For you to be able to fully realize your potential in studying, you should find yourself a sweet spot at home.
This is where you could set up a study area wherein there is no noise, a strong WiFi connection, and where there is a good backdrop in case your respective professors require you to turn on your camera. Studying in your rooms while sitting or lying back in your beds is not ideal. You need to study as if you are studying in the library or any café or co-working space you used to go to for studying. You will find your mind at peace if you will be able to do the same.
7. Treat online classes as if these were onsite classes
Dressing up for class does not necessarily mean that it is only for on-site classes. Try to dress up as well for online meetings (a half-body preparation would suffice if you don’t want to go full-blown class mode).
Accordingly, treat the online classes as if you were attending an actual class. Listen to the prof. Avoid distractions like playing with your phones. Respect your classmates who are called to recite. Observe proper decorum while attending your classes. Give the respect your professors and classmates deserve.
8. Jot down notes while listening to your professors
Do not rely heavily on memory. Because of online classes, law students tend to space out easily. More often than not, they will always forget what the professors say even if these topics serve as a very important turning point in lectures.
For you to be able to remember them in the long run, try to jot them down in a notebook or in a blank piece of paper. Compile your notes and look back at them while you are reviewing for your exams. It will be helpful because the retention will be taken up a notch and that you will eventually remember the topics your professors emphasized.
9. Make it a habit to rest your eyes after class
Countless hours in front of your laptops, tablets, or phones are always rendered day after day. The online set-up has required all law students to look at their screens for class. In addition, most of the law students also use these gadgets in order to study because their notes are in digital forms as well.
After class, take time to rest. Your eyes have been subjected to strenuous activities for the whole day. Do not wash your face right away. Remember to rest your eyes before going back to your study schedule. Give it an hour before engaging in another battle with your reading assignments due for the next day.
10. Turn off your gadgets for a sufficient amount of time
The wear and tear of your laptops, tablets, and phones are inevitable. Because online classes mainly require the use of these gadgets, you should also learn how to take care of them. Turn them off when not needed. Let them rest if you have some time to spare. Never overcharge your gadgets and make it a habit to organize your files within as well.
Because of certain factors, it is hard to abruptly upgrade or buy new gadgets if and when your personal properties are damaged. It is better if you take the first step in taking care of the same.
Online classes are here to stay. However, law students must remember that while we need to adjust to certain means and methods, we still need to remember our old habits and apply them today as well. Remember that the study of law not only requires brilliance. It requires hard work and the ability to adjust to certain circumstances offered by time.
For more tips, view more articles on Law School 101.
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