Thursday, August 23, 2012
Thank you to John Edwards at Drake for reminding us that it is the time of year for the Mindset List.
Beloit College has published its latest list which explores the world view of entering college freshmen (Class of 2016). I have included a link to it here for all of you who want to know what to expect in four years:
For those of you who want to refresh yourselves on what the Beloit Mindset List said about the Class of 2012 who just graduated from college and is now represents many of our new 1L class, the link for the list is here:
And if you want to remind yourself about our 2L and 3L students or our non-traditional students, you can browse the lists for respective years at the main page:
I am always a bit surprised at some of the items on the list while others make me chuckle. Those references that we all use in class become more outdated each year. (Amy Jarmon)
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
New law students are now gracing our halls. Their faces hold a mixture of excitement and uneasiness. They want someone to tell them the ONE RIGHT WAY to read cases, brief, outline, and complete all of the other study tasks. They get inundated with lots of advice regarding how to get the best grades in law school from a myriad of sources.
By mid-September (if not sooner), I see them totally lose sight of some basics that make a huge difference in their ability to do well in law school. They seem to let their common sense fly out the window.
Here are 10 common sense tips that will allow a student to be successful:
- Get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep per night. You cannot learn and retain anything if your brain cells are not alert.
- Eat three nutritious meals a day - not caffeine, sugar, and junk food. You cannot learn and retain anything if your brain cells do not have nourishment.
- Exercise for at least 30-45 minutes three times a week. You can alleviate stress and sleep better with exercise.
- If you are sick, go to the doctor. You may not feel that you have time for a doctor's appointment, but you especially do not have time for an illness to drag on for weeks because you did not get the medication/treatment that you needed.
- Do not believe everything you hear on the grapevine. Law schools are fertile ground for rumors and gossip. If something you hear sounds outlandish or wrong, it probably is. If the item is important, check it out with a reliable source.
- Be patient with yourself. Law requires new ways of thinking, writing, and studying. You will need time to learn how to do those things well. Do not expect to get everything right initially. Even today's Olympic swimmers started in the shallow end.
- Compete with yourself rather than with everyone else. You cannot know how you will do in relation to your entire section, but you can know whether you are putting in your best efforts each day.
- Get assistance when you need it. Use the resources at your law school to help you succeed: professors, academic support personnel, tutors or teaching fellows, writing specialists, and the many others who will be willing to assist you.
- Stop wasting time. Limit the electronic distractions in your life: e-mail, twitter, facebook, texting, cell phone calls. Focus on studying and use these tasks as rewards after you get your work done.
- Treat others as you would want them to treat you. You do not have to be cut-throat competitive or a jerk to succeed in law school. Your classmates will be your future professional colleagues. You want them to refer clients to you, give you a thumbs up for a job at their firms, and remember you positively. Build a good reputation as an attorney starting now.
No matter how brilliant you may be, you still need to use common sense. I have seen too many law students falter because they ignored the basics. (Amy Jarmon)
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
All of us in academic success teach students the strategies that they need to perform the traditional legal study skills more efficiently and effectively: reading cases, briefing cases, outlining course material, fact-pattern-essay exam taking, multiple-choice exam taking, successful study groups, etc.
All of us also know that we teach our students essential life skills. However, our students do not always consider how very important those life skills are. They instead become focused only on grades in law school. They do not contemplate how life skills that apply to success in law school also apply to being better attorneys, friends, spouses, parents, and citizens.
Here are some of the life skills that I think we teach our law students to help them in everything they will do. The list is not in a particular order, and I am sure all of us could add to it.
- Time management
- Project management
- Stress management
- Preferences for learning
- Effective memory strategies
- Curbing procrastination tendencies
- Life-work balance
- Clarification of personal and professional goals
- Problem solving - academic and non-academic
- Evaluating strategies, options, and techniques
- Facing difficulties (and even failure) and moving forward
- Celebrating improvement and overcoming obstacles.
- The balance between relying on oneself and asking for help.
I want my students to succeed academically. But I especially want them to succeed as valuable human beings. (Amy Jarmon)