First year LLB Law student Dhuha tells us how she's found the past few months studying remotely and offers some advice on how to get the most out of the experience.
Written by Dhuha Al-fahad
If someone told me two years ago that I would be studying law on an entirely online basis, I would have chuckled at the mere absurdity of such an image. Now, I am living the university experience - but in a way that I thought was not possible. An online degree where you are your own motivator, organiser and your career planner.
Of course, one would feel apprehensive going into such a new and unusual method of learning - and I have experienced such trepidation during the first semester of university. The reading lists were slowly mounting; frustration was an emotion that I was feeling on a daily basis. No one can prepare you for an experience where you are given the resources, but you still feel lost amidst the mountains of incomprehensible papers and lofty articles. It's not a great slogan for the brochures.
However, the Law School has been there through it all – from the help provided during seminars to the discussion boards where your questions are promptly answered. Even when times get overwhelming, there is the sense that you can reach out and talk to someone. Slowly but surely, you get used to it.
You see the pieces of the puzzle falling into place, you mark upon your diary solid aims you need to achieve. X, Y, Z - on the paper before you lies all you need to know throughout the week. And it becomes as simple as that. Of course, you will have times where you feel tired, bored and mildly fatigued at the mere sight of another article - but those are all the perks of studying online. It's an experience where you are on the floor but the ceiling remains undefined. The feeling of completing a week, a month or an entire semester online will breed pride, the likes of which you may not feel attending university in person.
From a first year student, here are five tips that will help you to get the most out of your online degree:
If there is absolutely one tip I insist on, make sure you keep yourself organised. Plan out reading lists, the specific chapters and lectures you need to go through and the seminar preparation for each week. I create mini-checklists every day to ensure that I keep on top of articles, judgements and notes.
One of the key things in ensuring you have a successful week is not focusing on the big picture too often - it is not productive to fixate on every detail. Thus, ensure that you take it one week at a time.
A law degree is hard for a reason. Therefore, if you feel yourself being aggravated because you don't understand something or you do not understand an article - it is completely normal. With time, everything will fall into place.
If you find it hard to motivate yourself, create checklists and tick them off as you go along. Do not get overwhelmed and attempt to read three articles and a 50 page chapter in one day - start off small then build up from there on.
An underrated factor but important nonetheless. Sign up to societies and get yourself out there to start befriending and getting to know people! Or if you're more of the shy type then attend talks and discussion panels which are related to your interests. Do not spend all of your time in front of a screen reading - explore your interests beyond the textbook.
With all this said, remember to enjoy your time and to savour the moments that university has to offer. It is an experience that differs for everyone - so make sure you make yours one to remember.