The first term of the 2017/2018 session of the Nigerian Law School has come and gone. So also have the Christmas and New Year breaks. And at this stage, I believe I am permitted to make a few assumptions. First, that you have gotten your textbooks and other reading materials, or at least, have a list of textbooks if you plan to use the library books. Secondly, that you have begun studying. Thirdly, that you are mentally prepared for the academic activities in the coming weeks.
The next thirteen weeks will be filled with intense lectures alongside seemingly unending pre-class tasks, group meetings, and presentations and of course, snap tests. How then does a student balance his/her personal studying with all these activities?
Find a study pattern that works for you and stick to it
This point is at the root of all studying whether at the university at the Nigerian Law School. I believe that by now you know what study method works for you having gone through five years of study at the university. You should know whether you prefer reading straight from your textbooks or if you prefer forming notes, taking into consideration your previous performances using either method. You should also know whether you are a ‘vegetable’ at night or that is your preferred reading time. I believe you do know whether writing down everything the lecturer says in class or listening and taking down a few points is your ‘style’. The goal of studying remains the same and it is of no significance that it is the law school or the university. You do not have to give up your study pattern because someone who made a First class at the law school used another pattern.
Another factor to consider is time. The study routine of a student whose lectures end at 2pm would be different from that of another whose lectures end at 4pm for obvious reasons. The bottom line is finding what method is suitable for you and sticking to it. And I would like to also add that you should be flexible.
Hit the ground running
Another way of saying this is ‘do not procrastinate’. While you can get away with not studying for a few days at the university, it is not advisable to deliberately refrain from studying for more than a day or two at the Nigerian Law School. The fact is there would be days you would not feel like studying. I believe that is one of the purposes of the pre-class tasks. Attempting them would undoubtedly make you consult your textbooks and of course, give you a fair understanding of the topic to be treated the next day.
Also, do not get carried away with the mentality that you can take your studies lightly now with the hope that you have three months during externship to catch up. Every moment counts and while you may not fully grasp the principles in the course of the lectures, you would no doubt be laying a foundation that you would build on when the externship finally rolls around.
Take breaks and rewards too!
Chances are that you would get overwhelmed with the workload. So, take breaks. Watch your favourite movie; read that novel you have been itching to read; take a stroll; call that friend; visit that place of interest. May I add a caveat that this should be done in moderation and not at the expense of your studies.
Give yourself rewards too. You are your greatest cheerleader and supporter. You can decide, for example, that after reading a particular topic or learning a particular draft, you would buy your favourite drink or spend ten minutes playing Candy Crush.
Let me also add that you should be intentional, spend your time wisely, be willing to learn from your colleagues and do not forget to take deep breaths once in a while.
Grace Gureje is a First Class graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained her LL.B in 2016. She also graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 2017 with a First Class. She aims to be a notable corporate and environmental lawyer and believes strongly in the Nigerian dream. She loves singing, reading, and writing.