There's no mistake, I smell that smell, it's that time of year again . . . What time of year is that I hear you say? Why it's exam time of course! So here we are, 3 weeks from the day when exams start, throw into the mix the fact that I've made it into the final of the mooting competition, and am going to be working 40 hrs per week between now and then. I'm thinking that smell I can smell is the smell of fear!
How do I, In 3 short weeks, do the reading for the moot, put together my submissions, construct a coherent framework for my subjects in my head to give me enough ammunition to pass, while working a full time job? The thing is, after 3 years of doing this, while the fear has kicked in, it's became a familiar sensation!
When I was an energetic first year student, really up for the challenge of learning as much as I could and cramming every possible case into my head, I had a chat with a friend who had also went back to Uni as an adult learner. He looked at me with a smile saying 'I remember feeling like that' and told me about how it had all became a process for him. I vowed never to get that way, to maintain my enthusiasm, it hasn't gone down that way!
I've now got to a point where I'm almost comfortable, I know that I can squash a fair amount of information into my head in a relatively short period of time. I know that I've got a pretty solid framework in my head of legal concepts and principles on which to hang the different ideas, I also know a few memory techniques that allow me to memorise case names and details relatively quickly. So I must reluctantly admit that it's became a bit of a process, but maybe that's a part of what law schools are designed to teach us. I'm thinking a big part of the law school, or even the general university experience is about learning more than just the 'black and white' aspects of your subject.
I now feel like I've learned some real skills, how to use my mind, commit things to memory with relative ease, to process information quite quickly and manipulate ideas and concepts, maybe that's what the eduction's all about. Learning skills and developing your mind seems to me to be every bit as important as learning the substantive elements of my course. Now I can absolutely see where my friend was coming from when he was talking about studying and learning, it is a process, a series of techniques, a skill-set, and far from being a bad thing I embrace it. Without that process and skill set, I wouldn't stand a chance of passing my upcoming exams or getting through my next moot, which I'm excited to say is the final of the my university's competition, held at the High Court in Glasgow.
I'd ask you to wish me luck but I think luck's got precious little to do with it . . . .