Term 2 & What Studying Law Is Really Like?
I’ve been meaning to write a post about my own thoughts on studying Law so far for about 2 weeks now, and have only been able to come round to it today. It felt quite strange though, going back home after my first term here and seeing my family and talking to old friends. It was nice to see everyone again though and catch up on all the different things we’ve been doing over the past few months.
Now onto the actual blog – what studying law is really like, and what my experiences in university has been like so far, hopefully giving some advice that may help you if you’re a prospective student:
- Reading. If you are thinking of studying law, prepare yourself for a lot of reading. I didn’t realise how much reading this course had until I got here. I have to admit that I really struggled to keep up with it all last term and didn’t get a lot of it done until this holiday.
- During the first month, with all the lectures and seminars, I felt very confused and lost a lot of the time on what was going on, which made me feel a little down and demoralised as some things were barely making sense to me in some lectures. But after talking to a few people, I actually found I wasn’t alone! It’s actually normal if you don’t understand or pick things up straight away, which was very reassuring. I started to spend some more time on my own going back over my notes and re-watching lectures later in the term and found that helped me a lot.
- Independent study.University is very different to school. No one is going to tell you exactly what you have to do. There is reading set every week but it’s on you to do it. No one is going to catch you up on not having done your reading, or prepared properly for your seminars as you would have been in school. There’s a lot of independent study in law, you have less contact hours to science courses for example, but that’s because you’re expected to go and read more around the subject and your modules, even beyond the reading that’s set by your lecturers for your modules each week.
- Writing, writing, writing. While some exams may have a multiple choice element in it, this course involves quite a bit of writing. Be prepared for essays and problem solving questions and really think whether you’d enjoy a degree that has a lot of writing involved, especially in exams.
- Analytical skills.Studying law is not just learning what the law is, but analysing and commenting on the law, especially where there is controversy. It’s more thinking about whythe law is the way it is rather than whatthe law says. There’s also a lot of problem-solving type questions, where you have to look at what the law says and apply it to situations, providing an argument on why it should be applied in this way. There is some learning when it comes to remembering cases and legislation, but this is actually a lot easier than it sounds so don’t worry too much about this aspect.
- Go to lectures (and don’t fall asleep). Do try going to all your lectures if you can. It can be easy to sleep through your 9am lectures and thinking that the lectures are not useful because you’re not understanding what’s going on, but trust me, it’s better to go and try than not go at all as you could miss something crucial.
- Do do do try to manage your time as best as you can! I really do have to admit that I was poor at this in the first term but managed to get in a better routine by the end. Do not leave your work last minute and plan ahead, get enough sleep, and really try to eat healthy as well. It’s very easy to lose track of yourself and you can fall into bad habits very quickly. Trust me, once you get into a good routine, it really does help in the long-run, I personally felt tired and drained all the time but changing my routine helped me feel a lot better.
- Societies/Sports Clubs.Get involved! University is a lot of work but can be a lot of fun if you can balance your life. Get involved as much as you can, you get to meet new people and maybe even try new things. Society events and joining a sports club have been my favourite experiences in university so far, it’s a good breather from the academic side. I’ve tried mooting as well which actually was a helpful experience as it gives you transferable skills to the actual course, as well as the Death Penalty Project, working with judges in the US on work relating to death penalty cases over there (both are run by the Law Society).
So these are my main experiences and thoughts about university and studying law after just the first term. I’m hoping to be able to do more this term and next term, and I’ve been really wanting to do more volunteer work so hopefully I’ll have the chance to do that.
If you have any questions at all, please do comment down below!