My First Semester At An Overseas Law School

Riya Prem Raaj is a 24-year-old LLM student from India studying her Global Professional Master of Laws at the University of Toronto. Here she tells us what it is like to study her LLM at an overseas law school.

“I sometimes wake up wondering how time flies. It seems like only yesterday I was waking up to the smell of my mom cooking breakfast while now it seems like I am perpetually rushing around. My first semester at the law school has been nothing short of wonderful. Every class has been engaging and informative (albeit a tad bit too long) but worth the time.

Law school is a conundrum of activities, both practical and theoretical. Every day there is a new update or a new law being passed, it is never static, always dynamic. It keeps us on our toes. Professors ask us the latest changes in class just for discussion purposes and this keeps all those who could not get a chance to glance at the paper/media (guilty) abreast of the new updates.

Life can get very challenging here with so many things to do – cooking, cleaning, lectures, study, coursework, not to mention the dreaded laundry. Multitasking is something one has to learn by default to manage the pace of life. I have learnt the short cuts or tips to make my life easier, these are:

  1. Prioritise – learn to recognise which tasks require prominence over the others. Do not waste time doing tasks that can be done later at the cost of the tasks that do require priority.
  2. Schedule – try and keep to a schedule. It helps avoiding hiccups especially during exam times. The sleep cycle always suffers there, so having a schedule will give your body a chance to re-energise itself before the attack of the next paper.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for a favour or two – you can ask someone to pick something up for you rather than doing everything on your own.
  4. Give yourself a little credit – you have made this move to a strange new country, not city, an entire country. Learn to relax a little. Breathe, take a walk maybe. I have always found that aimless walks, lead to the best relaxation.

During my first semester I have taken up a position as a Director of Communications for the Law Society, and I have found that the monthly meetings also with weekly planning keep me looking forward to the coming weeks.

Socialising is also very important for me – not because of the purpose of building contacts, which I know is essential for every profession – but more socialising with my peers for fun as it helps put the constant thoughts of ‘have to finish that paper’, ‘read up on those two chapters’, and ‘print the minutes of the meeting’ to the back of my mind thus letting me have a little peace in the constant buzz of the school and recharge myself for the next academic challenge.

To summarise my experience so far I would have to say that law school can be very stressful, with deadlines, course work and presentations to balance with the worries of ‘did I leave the stove on this morning’ randomly popping up in the middle of the lecture. But despite the mad rush and stress of being in law school, I would not trade the experience for anything.

Riya is a winner of one of our Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries 2017.

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