Five lessons you learn from outside the lecture theatre
Studying law is hard but Liang is here to tell you about all the things he has learned from outside the lecture theatre that have helped him in his legal journey.
“Studying in law school is really hard”
I’ve heard that phrase countless times from my parents. In fact, it appears to be the public perception of law school.
After being in law school for about 2 years, I’ve come to agree with the statement. In fact, it’s relatively normal to see some of my friends and peers struggling to catch up with certain legal concepts and terms or even news in the legal industry.
Granted, I was a very dumb kid back in school and until now I regard myself as being slower compared to my peers. That taught me to look at exams and a law degree from a different perspective. There’s so much more to a law degree than just law.
Don’t get me wrong. A law degree is essential for a law student to learn basic legal knowledge and skills. Without a law degree, I would be lost when I hear terms such as judicial precedent, ratio decidendi, obiter dicta, rule of law and more.
However, there certainly were a few lessons I’ve picked up along way (mainly through experience) that I think will help me once I graduate law school.
So, here’s just a few:
1) Family and Friends are important
For those in law school, I am sure you can relate to this: our friends or parents (in some cases maybe both) are often our source of emotional support and motivation.
Sure, they can be a little annoying.
However for me, it’s about having the right people at the right time. My friends and family constantly challenge and push me to do better, kept track of my emotional and academic well-being and more. The benefit are endless.
A senior of mine also once told me: “It’s pretty hard for you to get through law school alone. Having friends just makes it easier. You can discuss, share notes, go out and have fun. It’s better and easier than doing it alone.”
2) Traditional methods are not the only methods
Remember I mentioned that I was slower than my peers in law school? To add to that, I had a very SHORT attention span. Generally, I didn’t really spend much time revising the materials given in class and when I did, I would read through them quickly.
So, what did I do? I come up with creative ways to learn.
Through the Scarecrow, I learned to understand the legal concept of 'psychiatric injury'.
Another would be using Comic Book or Football reference with my friends to better our understanding of the law.
My point is that there’s usually more than one way to do something about it. To constantly think outside the box is a key aspect that law school has taught me. Most importantly everybody has a different style of learning and I found mine.
3) Do not be afraid to try different things
For me, being in law school was kind of like being in my comfort zone. You go to class, listen, go back, study (or just catch up on shows like me) and sleep. You meet the same friends, have some small talks and that’s it. A new week and the cycle repeats.
So, one thing that I’ve learned on my own is that by getting out of my comfort zone, I gained a certain set of skills (communication, independence and more), made tons of new connections and gained new experiences that I otherwise would not have made if I was stuck in my comfort zone.
Whether it was working as a barista to gain some new skills in the summer...
Or even travelling alone in a foreign country to meet new people…
Fun fact: I first travelled solo at the age of 19 to Japan for a week.
The list goes on and on. For that, I’m grateful for the people I’ve met on my journey.
4) Find something you enjoy
It can be a hobby or literally anything. Finding something I enjoy doing (besides studying law) helps me to relax or unwind whenever I felt the need to take a break from my studies.
For me it was either catching up on the new TV series or anime of the week …
Or using my free time to write articles.
With that said, time management takes discipline. I usually stick by the mantra of play hard and work hard. By balancing my time between these studying and having fun, it adds value to my journey law school.
5) If you’re feel a little ‘off’, it’s okay. Patience is key
For the most part of my academic life, I always felt like I was the underdog. Always having to push the extra mile, giving the extra effort just reach the standards of those filled with potential or raw talent.
Some days I lose sight on why I push myself so hard. But life just works in very mysterious ways. By being patient, I learn things through experiences and by sticking strictly to the commitments I’ve made, eventually I could see progress.
So to all of you out there who are hanging in there, hang in harder. Stick to the course, and eventually you’ll see the results because:
At the end of the day, these were some of the lessons I’ve learned that really help me in my studies and my growth in law school.
By incorporating the lessons I’ve learned into my legal studies, I’ve been able to get through law school without the need of stressing myself out. Law school is certainly not easy and I wish all law students who are on this journey the very best.
Learn more about studying Law at Queen’s.
Hew Hoong Liang
LLB Law| 3rd year |Malaysia
Hi there! I am a 21 year old Malaysian pursuing my final year of law degree in Queen's University. Nature lover, part time geek and a passionate writer. My passion for writing started to developed into a skill when I served as writer and journalist of a legal tech startup back in Malaysia. Now, I am casual blogger looking to share my experiences and thoughts in Queen's through my writing. I hope my blog serves as a unique point of interest for Malaysian students like me who are studying at Queen's or thinking about coming here!
Fun fact: I am trilingual and I love to explore and get lost in different cultures and traditions.