Article by Matthew Mundt
Studying law can become very draining. Studying such a prestigious course requires a lot of time and dedication. The reading list is long, and the work requires a lot of effort and detail. The legal sector is also very competitive, meaning from day one, students are fighting to get the best grades they can to enhance their opportunity of a successful legal career. The large workload, and limited time to complete it can lead to stress. Many students have to work, either part time or full time, to help pay for their studies. If any law students plan to undertake a further degree, such as a diploma here in Scotland, then there are limited grants available to help with the cost of the degree. In this article, I plan to discuss ways in which students can overcome the stress, and if they begin to really struggle, different options they can take to seek help.
I felt it would be best to first discuss how students can reduce stress levels during their studies and classes. I think the main thing, especially during COVID-19, is to set out a timetable for yourself, or at least get into some sort of routine that works well for you. Most students are now working from home. There is either no, or very limited, face-to-face teaching taking place currently. How long this will go on, we do not know, especially with how many cases we are now seeing in students – Glasgow University for example. Studying at home has its distractions. It is up to yourself to avoid them as best as possible. The most recommended ways of doing this are:
The list could go on, but these points are probably the main ones.
Running around late to class, while checking out your phone will certainly lead to be you being stressed and possibly confused with what you are doing. Students and lecturers are both getting used to this ‘new normal’. It may seem hectic and at points you may be totally lost. If you do, ask for help! No one will shame you. An organisation named the ‘Good Therapy’ released a blog on why it is
so hard to ask for help, and how to overcome it. It is titled ‘Why is it so hard to ask for help?’ and I totally recommend it. Not only will it help overcome the fear of asking but being able to ask will help develop you into a better student. Being off campus also makes socialising difficult. Even for those that are living on campus, restrictions prevent the same sort of experience people are used to. Usually, the start of year would be full of fresher’s events and it would be a prime chance to meet new friends, that would remain for
life. COVID-19 has put a stop to that for the most part, but it is not all doom and gloom. Most clubs are still running, just virtually. Joining a few different clubs is a great chance to make new friends and take a moment away from the academic side of things. Most clubs are running socials online, including virtual pub quizzes – a perfect way to chill out!
Away from the academic side of things, there are plenty of ways students can de-stress at home. I think the most important thing for students to currently do is to continue the hobbies they enjoy doing. Albeit a lot will be harder to do now, with the restrictions in place. For example, I enjoy genealogy research, which is the research of family history and ancestry. For the most part, I have been able to continue this which, especially during the start of university, has helped me cope better with the big work load. It’s understandable that a lot of hobbies, especially sports, can not resume yet. If you find yourself stuck without a pastime, then I recommend reading a blog called ‘Hobbies to take up during quarantine’ by an organisation named Ochsner Health. The article includes many hobbies that can be picked up during the current restrictions, even if you are isolating. Something that is also very important to mental well-being is staying in contact with friends and family. This has become increasingly difficult recently, with the new restrictions within the UK, but it can be continued virtually. If you feel that you are struggling at any point, reach out to those family and friends. Meet them for a coffee, or even just a video chat. Having a good support network can be very beneficial.
If you feel that, especially with lockdown, that everything has became too much and you are suffering mentally, then reach out for help. Like I said in the previous paragraph, if you have a good support network then you can reach out to them. Currently, in most of the UK, you can still meet another household outside, so you could arrange to go for a coffee. If this is a struggle (especially if in halls) then you could always virtually meet them. Sites such as Zoom or even Facebook offer good options and generally don’t have many problems. Your university should have something in place to help deal with any psychological problems. Reach out to the contacts at the university, possibly the head of the department you are in and see what is available. Some universities may even be able to offer some counselling if it is needed. Don’t suffer in silence!