Jump to content
BestCaseOntario

Is there ANYTHING to do 0L summer to prepare?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Okay, hear me out. I understand what everyone says about 0L summer as far as not being efficient in trying to get ahead and needing relaxing time off beforehand. 

Buuut, I am home during covid and I am incredibly bored with more free time than I have ever had. So, is there really nothing I can do to prepare me for 1L better or to get ahead? Any tips would be very welcome. I figure why show up and be stressed for a term when I have months beforehand with nothing to do at all besides a few hobbies.

Thanks!

Edit: for extra info I will be going to Western, where it will be primarily in-person

Edited by BestCaseOntario
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you really have to do something, practice your typing skills. It helps with both writing exams and keeping up with lectures.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, NavAcid said:

If you really have to do something, practice your typing skills. It helps with both writing exams and keeping up with lectures.

What’s a good WPM target? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The typing speed thing gets repeated way too much here and it's nonsense.

1) There are tons of psychological studies showing that taking handwritten notes in lectures is superior to taking notes on a computer in terms of information retention and recall, and it also helps you filter what's important instead of just transcribing.

2) Students who write exams on computers don't outperform students who handwrite. Given the enormous difference between the ability of those groups to put words on paper quickly, it would follow that differences in typing speed among computer writers aren't going to make some enormous difference in performance. You can't process, analyze and articulate something competently as quickly as you can type in any case.

Edited by CleanHands
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, NavAcid said:

If you really have to do something, practice your typing skills. It helps with both writing exams and keeping up with lectures.

So you wouldn't recommend learning any basics (especially for a science student with no law experience)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, BestCaseOntario said:

So you wouldn't recommend learning any basics (especially for a science student with no law experience)?

The problem is that you don't know enough to really do any good. It probably wouldn't hurt to pick up a couple of the simpler treatises like Hogg's Constitutional Law, but it isn't really going to help per se. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, BestCaseOntario said:

So you wouldn't recommend learning any basics (especially for a science student with no law experience)?

No, people need to stop thinking a science degree will put you behind or put you ahead just because of the degree.

Relative to lawschool an undergrad is an undergrad.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

The typing speed thing gets repeated way too much here and it's nonsense.

1) There are tons of psychological studies showing that taking handwritten notes in lectures is superior to taking notes on a computer in terms of information retention and recall, and it also helps you filter what's important instead of just transcribing.

2) Students who write exams on computers don't outperform students who handwrite. Given the enormous difference between the ability of those groups to put words on paper quickly, it would follow that differences in typing speed among computer writers aren't going to make some enormous difference in performance. You can't process, analyze and articulate something competently as quickly as you can type in any case.

Your first point is true, but on the second point the scientific literature is actually fairly divided. Some studies suggest there is a statistically significant advantage to typing, while others suggest there isn’t. 

Your overarching point is correct, though. Unless you’re a truly awful typist, your legal analysis is much more likely to be your limiting factor for law school success. 

If I were a 0L right now, I would spend the summer developing good exercise and mindfulness/meditation habits that I can keep up during law school. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, BestCaseOntario said:

So you wouldn't recommend learning any basics (especially for a science student with no law experience)?

I was a film studies graduate with no law experience. I'm confident that if I tried to learn law basics or read casebooks before law school I would have developed bad habits.

The students with criminology or poli-sci degrees won't be any better than you in law school even though they've probably read cases before.

39 minutes ago, HopefulLawyer97 said:

What’s a good WPM target? 

As fast as you can get. 70 wpm minimum I'd say, but most millennials or younger can type faster than this naturally. I did well and can type 90-110 wpm. WPM is not going to make or break your grades by any means, but it's certainly helpful.

Edited by canuckfanatic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

If I were a 0L right now, I would spend the summer developing good exercise and mindfulness/meditation habits that I can keep up during law school. 

Yes! Pick up yoga/meditation/running/any other productive habit or hobby.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BestCaseOntario said:

I figure why show up and be stressed for a term when I have months beforehand with nothing to do at all besides a few hobbies.

If you want to reduce stress for 1L, I have a couple of ideas. 

1. Develop an arsenal of useful recipes for 1L, depending on what "useful" means to you: cheap? quick? filling? bulk? a combination? I'm the type of person who defers to lazy eating habits under stress (bagels, frozen pizza, not eating...), as cooking seems like a daunting waste of time. In my second semester of 1L, meal prepping made a huge difference in my health and sense of well-being. I wish I'd been doing it from day one. 

2. Build habits that will serve as coping mechanisms during periods of stress. Other users have mentioned mindfulness, meditation, and exercise, all of which are great ideas. Some people journal, play an instrument, craft, whatever. You may find it useful to explore grounding techniques for anxiety. Find something (ideally, more than one thing) and get into the habit of reaching for it when you get stressed out NOW so that it feels more natural to you when the stress ramps up in 1L. 

You'll be just fine if you begin your legal education on the first day of classes like everyone else. 😛

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spend your OL summer developing a personality and hopefully a sense of humour (if you don’t have these already).

Otherwise, you could be at risk of ending up an insufferable twat who purports to cite your systematic review of the scientific literature on typing or handwriting a law school exam to people on the internet. 

  • Like 4
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are really bored, I suppose you could pick a court decision mentioned in the news and then work your way through the actual written decision, making a note of everything that was misleading or flat out wrong in the original article. 
 

But I wouldn’t really recommend that. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, QuincyWagstaff said:

Spend your OL summer developing a personality and hopefully a sense of humour (if you don’t have these already).

Otherwise, you could be at risk of ending up an insufferable twat who purports to cite your systematic review of the scientific literature on typing or handwriting a law school exam to people on the internet. 

Jesus, did I accidentally sleep with your wife or something? 

You’re welcome to dislike me, I quite frankly don’t care. But this systematic subtweeting in every thread is getting a bit old.

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Jesus, did I accidentally sleep with your wife or something? 

You’re welcome to dislike me, I quite frankly don’t care. But this systematic subtweeting in every thread is getting a bit old. 

I would have accused you of doing the same to me, but in your case you do it to absolutely everyone on this forum. lol

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, boys, let's stop the bickering.

As to improving typing, I don't think it's necessarily an issue of speed but rather of being comfortable typing notes. I honestly don't know if undergrads type their notes now but back when I was in undergrad, no one did. However, in law school, anyone who took hand-written notes was pretty much an anomaly, and virtually everyone did their exams on their laptop. It wasn't as common at other law schools then but I think all of them now do it.

I imagine it might be better for some in terms of retention to hand-write rather than type but that certainly isn't going to be the case for everyone. People often cite that students will be on the internet during class time as a reason not to have a laptop in class. If you truly do not have the willpower to avoid doing that, rather than paying attention, then you're likely to have a bigger problem than not hand-writing your notes. It's easier to organize your notes if you have them on your laptop. It's easier to share notes with friends if necessary, and for them to share with you, if notes are on your laptop. And at exam time when you're preparing your summaries, it's easier to do so if your notes are on your laptop. 

If you have reasonable typing skills, which I imagine most law students do these days, you should be fine. And if you feel that you'd be more comfortable hand-writing, then try it and see how it works for you. You can always change if you feel it's necessary.

I agree with improving your meal prep skills. Practice healthy recipes that you enjoy. Make a list of the things you will want to have with you in whatever accommodation you choose to live in.  Start a fitness routine if you don't already have one. Get out and walk, which is something you can do even now. If you're moving to a new city, connect with a couple of people (which you can likely do here on ls.ca) to get some useful info to get to know the city. Do some research online about the city. Check out the interesting sites. Find out where the grocery stores, pharmacies, running and biking trails, museums, cafes, etc. are. Read some good books for pleasure. There's a good discussion in the OT forum here. Enjoy time with your family, especially if you're moving away. They may be driving you crazy in the shutdown but, trust me, you will miss them when you leave.

Mostly, don't stress about preparing for 1L. Students come in from a variety of experiences and undergrad majors. Many will have no previous experience with anything law-related.  I know it must be tough for those entering this year with the Covid-19 issue affecting so much but be excited, as you should be, about starting law school. You're starting on the path to a career that you want. You're going to make lots of new friends, some of whom will be friends for life. There will be a myriad of new experiences and opportunities for learning new things, both in and out of the classroom. Get involved, take it all in, and enjoy the privilege of this opportunity. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think scheduling is really important, and having the discipline to keep your schedule--more generally, keeping a schedule of work, exercise, and sleep.

As mentioned above, reasonable typing speed is good to have, especially when you don't have time to be concise and elegant in your exams.

Another perhaps controversial piece of advice I'd give is to look at more interesting pieces of law. For instance, legal theory gives a bit more texture to the underlying theory of the law. Or, more practically, the application of law in daily life: for instance, s. 33.1 being struck down in Ontario received a lot of media attention and misinformation. These kind of things are nice for keeping the fuel going in the marathon of school.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, CleanHands said:

The typing speed thing gets repeated way too much here and it's nonsense.

1) There are tons of psychological studies showing that taking handwritten notes in lectures is superior to taking notes on a computer in terms of information retention and recall, and it also helps you filter what's important instead of just transcribing.

2) Students who write exams on computers don't outperform students who handwrite. Given the enormous difference between the ability of those groups to put words on paper quickly, it would follow that differences in typing speed among computer writers aren't going to make some enormous difference in performance. You can't process, analyze and articulate something competently as quickly as you can type in any case.

1) I know these studies exist. Almost every prof I had from undergrad to law school over the age of 60 loves to quote them. I'm speaking from personal experience and from what I've talked about with my friends as well. Echoing what @erinl2 said, handwriting notes for me would be detrimental to my learning. It's much easier to have typed notes.

2) My school requires that all exams be typed unless you have an accommodation request. Perhaps Western is different, but it seems pretty obvious that if your exams are going to be typed you should be at least more comfortable with a keyboard so that is one less thing to stress about during the exam. You can spend more time looking at your outline and planning out your responses if you're confident you can get your answers on the page down faster

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
  • Get major appointments (e.g., medical, dentistry, financial) out of the way if possible
  • Build a small wardrobe of professional clothes (clothing retailers are offering big discounts right now). It's also an excellent time to get tailoring done because so many people are working from home. 
  • If you're moving away, think about the furniture and household essentials you'll need. Furniture delivery times can be egregiously long. 
  • Consider buying an external monitor, a book stand, a sunrise alarm clock, and a webcam / microphone. 
  • Brush up on your knowledge of English grammar - the Grammar Girl website is a helpful resource.
  • Review your social media accounts and make sure you're comfortable with everything you've posted. 
  • Download f.lux on your computer and get used to using it - it'll save your eyes. 
Edited by Tagger
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...