By Onika K. Williams • November 21, 2011•Writers in Residence
Cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, eggnog, and . . . outlining?! This week is Thanksgiving and you may be trying to figure out how to manage the holiday along with your impending finals. Here are a few tips:
1. Do not feel guilty for celebrating Thanksgiving!: I did not return home (to south Florida) during law school for Thanksgiving for multiple reasons: the flight was usually really expensive (I went to school in the Midwest), I still had a lot of homework to do, and I wanted to rest! However, if you choose to visit family for Thanksgiving, do not feel guilty about it. Just make sure to set some time aside for homework. I always celebrated Thanksgiving with friends in town and spent the weekend catching up on sleep and reading.
2. To Outline or Not to Outline?: Ideally, you would have figured out if you are an “Outliner” or not. As mentioned in previous posts, I tried outlining at first and it did not work for me. However, I was able to figure out later that if I studied first (like old school, high school studying) and, then, create a short (maybe 10 page) outline later . . . I remembered a lot more material. This is also a personal choice. However, if you have not figured out if you are an “Outliner” or not, you should probably do so ASAP as exams are quickly approaching.
3. Try to Read Ahead: If possible, try to finish your reading assignments before the end of the semester. This will allow you to have more study time during crunch time. I had a 1L professor that cold called until the very last day of class AND had two chapters of required reading for after the completion of the course. This is the type of situation where reading ahead was pretty beneficial, as the two assigned chapters contained material that was on the final exam.
4. Try Not to Stress: I know. I know. This is a HUGE request; however, this is the time to stay focus and remain confident. Try to stay organized and figure out when you will study, when you will sleep, when (and if) you will attend study/review sessions, when (and if) you are going to outline. This sounds like a small task, but knowing how you will divide your study time can be pretty beneficial. Figure out if your school offers “reading days.” If not, it is even more imperative that you take some time to figure out your attack plan for studying during finals.
So, remember to “relax, relate, and release” (“A Different World” reference) and enjoying Thanksgiving break!