Saturday, December 20, 2014

Planning Your New Year's Resolutions for Professional Impact?

Calling All Volunteers for AALS Section on Academic Support Committees!!!!

 Get involved in your Section by participating on one of the committees.  The committees that need your help are:

  • Awards Committee: The Committee decides whether the Section will present a Section award at the next AALS Annual Meeting, solicits nominations, votes on the nominations, and recommends a recipient to the Executive Committee for submission to AALS for approval.
  • Bar Passage Committee: The Committee discusses aspects that affect law graduates’ success on the bar exam and considers hot topics that should be brought to the attention of the membership.
  • Learning Curve: Learning Curve is the Section publication for articles on academic support and related issues; one issue is electronic, and one issue is hard copy.
  • Nominations Committee: Solicits nominations for the open officer and board positions and presents a slate to the Executive Committee for election at the Business Meeting at the AALS Annual Meeting. 
  • Program Committee: Plans the main program for the Section at the AALS Annual Meeting.  The committee chooses a theme to complement the main conference theme, solicits proposals and papers for potential presenters, and plans the details of the program.
  • Website Committee: Oversees the Law School Academic Success Project website for the Section.  The website includes a directory and a variety of resources for ASP’ers and students including podcasts, conference information, job postings, and more.

To become involved on a committee, either sign up at the business meeting or program at the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. or send an email to Lisa Young, Chair-Elect at youngl@seattle.edu.

December 20, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Waiting for Grades

Law students breathe a sigh of relief once all of their exams are over and the last papers turned in.  It is such a good feeling to have the semester over!  No more studying for the time being!

Alas, the relief is short-lived for some students.  They begin almost immediately to worry about the final grades for their courses.  For some students, the worry is caused by being too close to the GPA needed to meet academic standards.  For other students, the worry is caused by wanting a certain GPA for qualifying for a certain law firm's job application cut-off or retaining scholarship aid or achieving some other standard for a law-school honor. 

Whatever the reason for the worry, it can cause sleepless nights and self-doubt until the grades are finally posted.  It is the lack of control over the grades that makes students anxious.  Not only do they need to do their personal best, but they need to achieve a high enough score to "beat the curve" for the class. 

The recommended percentages for each grade bracket of most law schools' curves mean that the overall class performance determines the grades given.  Students know that if everyone in the class knew the material and performed well on the exam then just 2 or 3 points can be the difference between a higher or lower letter grade.  They realize that some folks will get low grades no matter how large the break between the lowest C and the next grouping.  No wonder students sign up for seminars that often do not have to conform to the recommended curve.

It is important to put grades into perspective while waiting for the outcomes:

  • You cannot change anything about the exam that is already completed or the paper that is already turned in.  Stewing about the misread fact pattern, the forgotten rule, the missed issue, the skimpy case analysis, and more will not change anything.  We are not perfect, so it is inevitable in law exams and assignments that perfection will not be reached.  All of us remember "the ones that got away" in our law school experiences.   
  • A final exam grade reflects one's performance on one set of questions on one day at one time.  Any student who was sick, tired, stressed, or unfocused during the exam can know that the grade reflects those less than optimal circumstances and not just knowledge/application.
  • Over the full spectrum of a law degree, students benefit from the curve as often as they get hurt by the curve.  It evens out over time.  The break in the curve gives you a higher grade on one exam but may catch you with a lower grade on another. 
  • A low grade does not mean you are less intelligent, less worthy, or less talented than the day you walked across the threshold of your law school for the first time your 1L year.  It merely means that you need to implement some new strategies and forge ahead.  Do not allow grades to undermine your self-worth.
  • Grades indicate opportunities for improvement rather than just measures of performance.  There are lots of ways to improve on test-taking whether the exams are true-false, multiple choice, short answer, fact-pattern essay, or some other variation.  ASP professionals can assist students in evaluating their problem areas and work on strategies with them.

After the initial angst of grades that are less than you hoped for, pull yourself together.  You can do this with assistance.  Review your exams or papers with your faculty members to get feedback on what you did well and what you need to improve.  Then make an appointment with your academic success professional to implement a plan for that improvement.  (Amy Jarmon)

  

 

December 19, 2014 in Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Studying, Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Bar Study Plan

Many schools have students who graduate in December. To help them transition from the whirlwind of finals, graduation, and holiday celebrations to bar prep, here are a few things for them to consider:

  • Create a realistic, yet rigorous study schedule. Begin after graduation, but make space to savor the end of law school before jumping into your bar prep.
  • Communicate your study plans. Make sure that your significant other,  family, and co-workers know that your priority is passing the bar exam. They will be your support system through this journey and they need to understand what you will need to be successful. (Perhaps a meal delivered now and then, or help with childcare...)
  • Use Spaced Repetition to study instead of focusing on only one subject at a time.  
  • Remember to stay healthy- exercise, eat well, and get a full night of sleep. This will increase your focus and efficiency.
  • Ask for help! When you are feeling overwhelmed, or have a question about your performance or a particular area of law, ask someone. You can ask your bar review provider, a classmate, or your Academic Support for assistance.
  • Find balance. You will always feel like you should be doing more- more studying, more MBE practice, more essay and PT writing, and more outlining. However, you also need to know when to say when.
  • Give yourself mini-rewards for reaching your daily goals and bigger rewards for reaching your weekly goals. 
  • Keep a positive attitude and surround yourself with positive people. Believing in yourself is the key to your success!

Congratulations to all of the December law school graduates and best of luck getting started with your bar prep.

(LBY)

December 18, 2014 in Advice, Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What Students Talk About When They Talk About Us

Yesterday, my wife and I were having lunch in a restaurant when someone suddenly shouted, "Alex Ruskell!"  The shout wasn't directed at me or anyone else.  I noticed a group of law students sitting a few tables away, and I assumed they were the source.  

I had no idea what the shout meant.  My wife thought the shout's tone sounded a lot like Adventure Time's James Baxter, the horse who repeatedly says his name while balancing on a beachball to make people happy.  In case you haven't seen it:

James Baxter  

I'd like to think my students think of me as a horse who repeatedly says his name while balancing on a beachball to make people happy, but I started worrying that maybe it was somthing negative.

My wife and I spent the majority of the rest of lunch trying to decide what the shout meant.  Was it good?  (my wife).  Was it bad?  (me).  Was it what ladies say when they envision the perfect man?  (my wife).  Were they saying I owed them money?  (me).  Were they just being weird and wanted to see if I would hear them, because people get totally weird in law school?  (my wife).  Were they planning who they would eat first if they were stranded on a deserted island?  (me).  Was it what students say when they need help?  (my wife).  Was it a reference to the fact I didn't introduce myself at my last student presentation until I'd already finished it?  (me).  Clearly, I could've walked over and asked them, but that probably would have been pretty creepy.

The whole experience got me thinking about student evaluations.  I do student evaluations for my tutors, and although they are 99 percent fantastic, there is always some crank with an axe to grind.  This year, one of my female tutors was called a couple names in an evaluation, apparently from a student who was mad she wouldn't give him handouts without his attendance in tutoring (which I tell my tutors to do).  She wasn't upset exactly, but she was worried it had lowered my opinion of her tutoring. 

In my experience, people spend a lot more time worrying about a negative (or seemingly negative) evaluation than they do feeling good about the good evaluations.  But how much value does a negative evaluation really have, and how much weight should be put into them?  Is a "negative" evaluation always negative?  For example, a student called one of my colleagues "feisty" once -- was that an actual bad evaluation, some kind of weird praise, or was it just sexist (we spent some time together trying to figure out that one)?  Are the negative evaluations somehow more "true," while the positive evaluations are merely students being nice?  Are negative evaluations ever about the teaching?  For women, are "negative" evaluations more likely (as recent studies suggest they are)?  For schools that advertise themselves as "student-centered," is this really the best way to decide what the students actually need?  Are evaluations basically a popularity contest?

When someone asks me who my favorite teacher of all time was, I always say one of my junior high teachers -- mainly because he taught us how to do "The Bird" for the Valentine's Dance and referred to me as his "number one jellyhead."  I can't really say whether I learned anything, but I do remember how often he threw me out of class, his sartorial choices, and his claims that certain STDs could be cured with hefty wallops from a rubber hammer.  That kind of stuff is what made him my favorite.  It also led my wife to believe I had made the guy up until she met someone else that had gone to my junior high.

I am sure I didn't like or praise many worthy teachers because they didn't know who Morris Day and the Time were or demonstrated how things would go with the rubber hammer if I wasn't careful.  

I am also sure that my tutor did a great job and that whatever mental real estate she had ceded over to that one poor evaluation was wasted.

But, unfortunately, that seems to be how the mind works, whether justified or not.

(Alex Ruskell)

 

 

 

December 17, 2014 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 15, 2014

The 2015 AASE Conference at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois

The 2015 Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) Conference is set for May 26-28, at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. 

The conference presents a wonderful opportunity to expand and enhance your professional experience by sharing your skills and knowledge with an audience of peers from law schools across the country.   The Call for Proposals is available at the new AASE website.  Proposals to present at the 2015 conference are due on January, 12, 2015. 

 (Myra Orlen)

December 15, 2014 in Meetings, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

If you are creating a new ASP course...

Every year someone on the listserv asks for advice because they have been charged with creating a new ASP course. I remember the anxiety I felt when I had to design my first course. Kris Franklin's new book, Strategies and Techniques for Teaching Academic Success Courses, should fill this need. The book will be given away free during AALS. 

I have read the book, and highly recommend it. Although I have been teaching in ASP for many years, it was an excellent refresher on what I should do doing and thinking about when I design (or redesign) a course. 

(RCF)

December 13, 2014 in Advice, Books, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Frontwards

During law school, I took a class on environmental law and national parks that I was really into.  I knew it frontwards, backwards, and sideways.  When I took the exam, I finished an hour early and looked around at my fellow students who were still busily scribbling away (the era of Bluebooks had not left us yet).  I checked my answers a few times and then just figured I had been really prepared for the exam.  So, I turned in my exam and sat out in the hallway reading a Thomas Pynchon novel while I waited for my friends to get out.

When they finally left the exam room an hour later, everyone was going through the usual exam post-mortem, which I tried to ignore (I also believe in the credo of Fight Club stated below).  Then someone said, "What did you write for question five?"

Question five?  What question five?  I had answered four questions.  There was a fifth?

To this day, I really don't know what happened.  Whether I somehow didn't turn over the test paper, or whether there was a printing mistake, I have no idea.  I went to my professor, but he said the mistake was on me.  I still did fine in the class, although question five was something along the lines of "Explain why you like squirrels," so I probably would've really crushed it if I actually noticed question five.  But, except for waking up screaming every six months or so, I've largely forgotten about it.

Which is a roundabout way of saying I absolutely agree with the Fight Club idea of not talking about exams.  And I also agree that once you take an exam you should put it behind you and let it go (at this point, if you have a daughter between the ages of five and 11, you probably read the last three words of that sentence in a soaring alto).  

Almost everyone of my colleagues, from folks that graduated 40 years ago to folks who graduated five years ago, has a similar story.  Clearly, things worked out.  The important part is that if you do make a mistake on the exam or realize you answered a question wrong, you need to consciously throw it behind you.  Dwelling on it now won't help you.  Spending Christmas break beating yourself up over it won't help.  And, more than likely, it is less of a disaster than you think (in that environmental law class, I still pulled a B +).

The important thing is to keep moving frontwards.

And let it go!

(If you now need to get Elsa out of your head, I suggest either "What Does the Fox Say" or "Call Me Maybe").

(Alex Ruskell) 

December 11, 2014 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Don't Talk About Exams

“The first rule of Fight Club is, ‘don’t talk about Fight Club.’ The second rule of Fight Club is, ‘don’t talk about Fight Club.’”  

Brad Pitt uttered these words 15 years ago in the iconic movie Fight Club (a movie about a fight club). Even today when I ask my class, “What is the first rule of Fight Club?” every single guy responds, “Don’t talk about Fight Club.”  You may wonder why I would ever ask such a question and the answer is, the same holds true for exams. Don’t talk about exams. Talking about exams is like asking a woman how much she weighs or asking anyone how much he or she makes. First, outside very specific situations (like your doctor’s office), there is absolutely no reason to ask these questions. Second, you wouldn’t ask your friends these questions because you know that no matter the response, someone walks away from the conversation feeling bad. Talking about the exams is exactly the same: there is no reason to talk about it and someone always walks away feeling bad. I’ve had students challenge me and ask, “what if you have to talk about an exam?” and “what if there really is a reason?” I throw it right back and say, “give me an example.” In all the years I've been doing this, I’ve yet to hear a legitimate reason to talk about exams. As you continue through exams, keep in mind the first rule of law school exams, “Don’t talk about exams.”

KSK

December 10, 2014 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Studying, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Use visualization techniques to build confidence before exams

You have studied and prepared -- will continue to study and prepare -- for your end of term exams.  You have outlined each subject and prepared exam checklists that contain the legal issues/rules, elements that yopu need to know to do well; you have reread and continue to reread your outlines; you have written practice exam essays; and you have done practice multiple-choice questions.  Keep up that good work and maintain that momentum.

As you prepare for exam day(s), you can take one more step by taking a page from athletes preparing for competitions.  Use visualization techniques to build or enhance confidence as you move into the exam period.  Breathe deeply, close your eyes, visualize a large powerful animal, visualize yourself as that large powerful animal.  Take that image of yourself with you into the exam room. On exam days, employ strong, erect, powerful posture -- posture that reflects confidence.

While there is no substitute for study and preparation for law school exams, you can sse the combination of preparation and visulaization techniques to build confidence as you approach exams.  Visualize yourself as powerful; enter the examination room with erect, strong posture; picture yourself writing exams confidently.

(This post was inspired by a presentation at the New England Consortiium of Legal Writing Teachers Conference - September 2014 at Vermont Law School  -- "The Sport of Lawyering: Using Visualization to Improve Performance," Julie St. John, Assistant Professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law)

(Myra Orlen)

December 8, 2014 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Studying | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Looking for an Opportunity to Expand Your Professional Credentials?

Calling All Volunteers for AALS Section on Academic Support Committees!!!!

Get involved in your Section by participating on one of the committees.  The committees that need your help are:

  • Awards Committee: The Committee decides whether the Section will present a Section award at the next AALS Annual Meeting, solicits nominations, votes on the nominations, and recommends a recipient to the Executive Committee for submission to AALS for approval.
  • Bar Passage Committee: The Committee discusses aspects that affect law graduates’ success on the bar exam and considers hot topics that should be brought to the attention of the membership.
  • Learning Curve: Learning Curve is the Section publication for articles on academic support and related issues; one issue is electronic, and one issue is hard copy.
  • Nominations Committee: Solicits nominations for the open officer and board positions and presents a slate to the Executive Committee for election at the Business Meeting at the AALS Annual Meeting. 
  • Program Committee: Plans the main program for the Section at the AALS Annual Meeting.  The committee chooses a theme to complement the main conference theme, solicits proposals and papers for potential presenters, and plans the details of the program.
  • Website Committee: Oversees the Law School Academic Success Project website for the Section.  The website includes a directory and a variety of resources for ASP’ers and students including podcasts, conference information, job postings, and more.

To become involved on a committee, either sign up at the business meeting or program at the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. or send an email to Lisa Young, Chair-Elect at youngl@seattle.edu.

December 6, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 5, 2014

One Marshmallow or Two?

I recently attended a lecture by Dr. Walter Mischel, who is known for administering “The Marshmallow Test” to young children as a researcher at Stanford. As many of you are aware, the test consisted of children sitting in a room with a single marshmallow (or another sweet treat) while being asked to delay eating it. If they delayed their gratification, the child would get a greater reward at a later time (typically two marshmallows). The experiment produced interesting and, at times, comical responses from the children being observed. You can check out some Marshmallow Test videos on YouTube to watch the eye rolling, seat squirming, and general agitation exhibited by the children.

While the underlying experiments were amusing to watch, the conclusions drawn from the initial experiments and the long term studies were quite insightful.  Essentially, by understanding our impulses and how we can retrain ourselves in order to have greater willpower, we can make better choices and be more productive. Many of us believe that human nature rules whether the child would take the marshmallow instead of waiting (or whether the student would study for another 2 hours before watching an episode of their favorite show or checking their Facebook page). While some are more inclined to eat the marshmallow right away, many are able to resist for a limited amount of time.

As Dr. Mischel pointed out, we can all learn how to control our impulses (kids with marshmallows or adults with other enticements). For example, if you know that when you go to holiday parties, you rush the dessert table and do not leave that table until you have sampled two of each type of dessert, you can put a plan in place in order to limit your dessert intake. If you have no plan in place or if you arrive to the party hungry, you are more likely to fall into the dessert vortex. If plan ahead, to first spend some time at the crudité and also allow yourself a bite from three different sweets over the course of the event, you are more likely to be successful in limiting your impulses. Alternatively, if you instead plan to abstain completely from eating dessert at the party, you will likely fail. Thus, deliberate and premeditated change in small increments helps create a new practice that is easier to successfully adopt and sustain.

How does this apply to law students? Law students often succumb to and/or are ambushed by procrastination. It is difficult to delay gratification no matter what age. I learned from the marshmallow studies and from Dr. Michel’s presentation that we can all learn how to control our impulses if we understand what drives our impulses and if we are committed to making one small change at a time. In my example above, an individual knows that they struggle with overindulging in dessert. The willpower is harder to maintain without a clear and doable strategy in place. However, recognizing the temptation, adopting a realistic alternative, and planning ahead create a method for success. If law students try to more fully understand their impulsive triggers, they are better positioned to generate a plan to resist or avoid them.

Thus, law students can follow this strategy to use their time more effectively and more efficiently. Here are a few ideas:

  • They can begin by writing out typical time stealers and creating targeted goals to reduce them. (Examples: When I study in groups, I am easily drawn off topic. When I turn on the television, I end up watching it for longer than I expected. If I turn my phone on while I am studying, my social media becomes a huge distraction.)
  • They can purchase or create calendars in order to plan and track their time. Hard copy calendars visualize their priorities much better than a computer version.
  • They can turn off their electronic devices while they study for a continuous block of time. (Example: I will study Torts for 3 hours in the library and leave my computer and phone in my locker.)
  • They can disable their Wi-Fi while in class or while reviewing notes on their computer.
  • They can establish a reward system that motivates this continued behavior. (Example: If I complete my stated study goal, I will get a night off or an extra hour of sleep, or more time for a special activity.)

Once an effective time management plan is established and the inherent benefits are apparent, students are more apt to fully adopt these new strategies by continuing to buck their impulses. After all, two marshmallows later are better than one marshmallow now.

(Lisa Bove Young)

 

December 5, 2014 in Bar Exam Preparation, Exams - Studying, Miscellany, Science, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Life's Rich Pageant

On the morning I had to take my very first law school exam, I woke up believing I had been struck blind.  My eyes were sealed shut.  I stumbled around my apartment, tripping over my roommates who lived on the floor (long story) and made my way to the bathroom.  I got my eyes unstuck with hot water and a washcloth.  It turned out I had pink eye -- which I have never had before or since.  

By the time everything was sorted out, I had something like 20 minutes until my exam started.  I hopped on my bike, flew down the hill, and made it to the exam just in time for everyone to scatter away from me as I sat down for the exam.  I could barely see, but the exam turned out fine.  I eventually went to student health who: 1) asked me how often I hung out with young children (I was 22 and single, so never); 2) told me not to smoke (I didn't); and 3) sent me home with eyedrops, a handout on safe sex, and a condom.

Based on that exam experience (and others, including a woman who cried next to me during the entire bar exam), I always tell my students to simply expect the worst when they are getting prepared for exams.  Expect the exam room to be too cold, flooded with raw sewage, or infiltrated with wild dogs.  Expect your car not to start, your dog to eat your textbook, and a marching band to tune up outside the exam room.  Expect your computer to crash.  Expect the power to go out.  Expect weird questions on the exam.

And, if none of that happens, great.

But if something like that does, don't let it throw you.  Too many students let monkeywrenches take out the whole engine.  

After falling into a fountain, Peter Sellers, as Inspector Clouseau in the film A Shot in the Dark, says "It's all part of life's rich pageant" (strangely enough, a clip is not floating around the Internet).  Along with being the title of the best R.E.M. record, it's a pretty good attitude to have regarding hiccups and problems during exam week.

Things are going to happen -- study enough and feel confident enough that you can simply roll with the punches.

(Alex Ruskell)

December 4, 2014 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Feed Your Body to Feed Your Brain

Winter has arrived. Just as the temperatures are dropping and daylight hours are getting shorter, students are gearing up for longer study days and less sleep. During exam period, students tend to over-consume caffeine and junk food and cut back on sleep and exercise. This combination often leads to fatigue and illness. Getting sick is the last thing you want to happen during exams. Exam period is when you need to be at your best so don’t underestimate the importance of healthy habits. Keep your body strong in order to keep your brain strong. Study for those exams but also eat a vegetable, go for a brisk walk, and get some sleep.

KSK

December 3, 2014 in Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Studying, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Wit and Wisdom from Conan the Barbarian

Along with the opening of Disney's EPCOT center and the death of Leonid Brezhnev, 1982 is best remembered for the release of Conan the Barbarian, the "Citizen Kane" of barbarian movies.

As anyone with a love of barbarians can tell you, the best line in the movie is when Conan (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who surprisingly lost the Academy Award for Best Actor to Henry Fonda) tells the Mongol general what Conan thinks is best in life:

Conan -- What is Best?

For law students, the next couple of weeks of studying for exams are likely to be pretty dreadful and keeping motivated is difficult.

To keep motivated, I suggest to my students that they post a picture that represents why they are in law school on their bathroom mirror -- whatever it may be.  While it may be something noble like "helping others" or supporting their families, it might be something less attractive like having the coolest condo in Manhattan or, like Conan, "crushing their enemies."  The fantastic writer Elizabeth McCracken once told me that "Revenge is a perfectly good motivation for writing."  I quote that line all the time.

Importantly, whatever the reason is, that reason is personal, locked in the bathroom, and only has to have meaning to the person brushing his or her teeth every day in that mirror.  It doesn't have to be edited, thought about, or worried over.

At this point in my life, the picture on the mirror would be my children.  When I was 22 and a first year law student, it probably would have been trees and wolves.

Or a really bitchin' guitar.

(Alex Ruskell)

December 2, 2014 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Study for Exams Like a Pro

Across the country law students are studying for semester exams. This is not the first blog post about staying healthy, managing time, and staying organized and motivated during exam prep. There is a reason for that. Law students tend to get distracted by what you are doing for exams that you forget to understand why you are studying for exams. It’s because you want to be a lawyer. Well, I’m a lawyer, too. Yes, I went to law school a long time ago and but exam prep hasn’t changed much. Law students still consume way too much caffeine, don’t shower or shave often enough, and stay up until the wee hours of the morning and then crash until noon. I don’t recommend doing any of these things. Law school is the bridge to the profession of law so treat it as such and start studying like a professional. Get up at 7-7:30, shower, eat breakfast, and be ready to study by 8-8:30. Put in 4 good hours in the morning (with a short break) and then take an hour for lunch. Not only do you need to feed your body but you need to give your brain a break and a chance to re-charge. After lunch, it’s time for another 4 focused hours of studying. It’s now 5-5:30 but you aren’t starving because you ate a decent breakfast and lunch. You take a 30-minute break (have a snack, get some fresh air), and are good for another 2 hours. Now it is 7-7:30 and you are hungry and tired. You’ve put in 10+ hours and it’s time to call it a day. You prepare and eat dinner and catch up on email and social media. Before going to bed, you review all you’ve accomplished and make a plan for the next day so when you get to your study spot you are ready to go and don’t have to waste time figuring out what to do. If this sounds too easy to be true, it’s not. It just requires you to stop thinking like an undergrad and start thinking like a lawyer. 

KSK

December 1, 2014 in Advice, Exams - Studying, Professionalism, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

"Out of Office"

It is a rarity that Academic Support Professionals get to take a long weekend without working. We answer emails and calls day and night, grade on the weekends, and prepare workshop and class materials around the clock.  While the nature of this job requires an abundance of feedback and prompt communication with students, we too need a break at times.  This Thanksgiving (day or weekend) consider putting on your out of office email notification. I typically only use an out of office email response when I will be away from wi-fi zones (aka camping at Mt. Rainier) or on vacation for an extended time. However, at this point in the semester, we encourage our students to take a break and spend time making memories with their families and friends. Thus, it is a great idea to take our own advice. I encourage you to unplug, unwind, and enjoy a relaxing holiday. The emails, papers to grade, and to-do lists will wait patiently until Monday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

(LBY)

November 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 24, 2014

So One L's you have finished your last Legal Research and Writing Assignment for the term, now what . . .

Now that most first year law students have finished their final LRW assignment for the term, it is not time to relax.  While 1L's can cross one big item off their "to do lists," it is very important for 1L's to remain focused on the push toward final and mid-term exams.  Do not rehash that final writing assignment; instead, move on to exam preparation.

1. Continue to update, review, and condense those course outlines.

2. Stay up-to-date on all remaining assignments for your doctrinal courses.

3. Be sure that you know the dates and room locations for all of your end of term exams.

4. Prepare and stick to your study schedule. Be specific for every block of time as to how you will allocate your time.

5. Your study schedule must continue throughout the Thanksgiving Break.  Now is not the time to let up.

6. Be certain to include doing practice exams in your study regimine: do both essay and multiple choice questions, when appropriate.

7. Meet with classmates to review exam answers -- after writing the answers yourself.

8. Take time to enjoy Thanksgiving and breathe.

(Myra Orlen)

November 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Correct Email Address for Nominations for AALS Academic Support Section

The correct email address for nominations for Treasurer and Board Members for the AALS Section on Academic Support is to Louis Schulze at lschulze@fiu.edu.  If you sent a nomination to the incorrect address, please re-send it.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

November 24, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Expert Exam Advice

For most people, the end of November means Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping season. It means family, food, and football. For law students, it means the start of exams. It is a time for writing papers, creating outlines, and studying. A lot of studying. For 1Ls especially, it can be stressful and quite overwhelming. This is the first set of exams they will take and success is not guaranteed.

I recently had breakfast with a group of 2Ls and as the conversation turned to exams, I asked them to share some advice: what do 1Ls need to know about law school exams? Here are their wise words:

  • Make your own outline and start with 20 minute blocks to overcome beginner’s inertia.
  • Focus on what is important, including the non-school aspects. Don’t let finals take over your life.
  • Don’t mistake organizing for studying. You make the perfect outline and not know a thing on it.
  • Know the terms of art and use them when answering questions.
  • Many people study in different ways. Trust your methods. Don’t feel like you have to be white knuckle the whole finals period.
  • Studying is key, but you need to know when to stop. If your outline is done (and it should be) stop the night before the final and do something else: anything else. Especially near the end of your finals, you need to give your brain a break.
  • Don’t neglect relationships.

KSK

November 24, 2014 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Studying, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Correct Email Address for Nominations for AALS Academic Support Section

The correct email address to send nominations for the AALS Academic Support Section Treasurer and Board Members is to Louis Schulze at lschulze@fiu.edu.  If you sent a nomination to the incorrect address, please re-send it.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

November 22, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)