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Is Studying Like Riding a Bike?

I graduated from my undergrad institution in 2001, and promptly entered the working world. Needless to say, I didn’t do much studying. Sure, I crammed for work related events, researching and writing publications but really, I haven’t throw myself at the mercy of academia for almost 10 years. So these first few weeks of getting my studying groove back have not been seamless. I have spent hours reading and re-reading cases, trying to “brief” them in order to not to look foolish when I get called on in class.

Three weeks ago, I stood in the student run bookstore, desperately trying to figure out what school supplies I would need. Would I use notebooks, 3-ring binders, type all my notes as compared to handwriting them, highlighters, how many and what color?  Oh the list goes on and on.  So I asked everyone I saw what he or she did, and by asking I realized that becoming a student is not like riding your bike. You don’t magically remember how to get it right, it takes time, effort, dedication, and every single person does it differently.  So what might work for one person certainly doesn’t have to work for me. What may have worked the last time around, may not work here at VLS. My time in the bookstore asking fellow students illustrated for me something crucial in this learning environment; that everyone is helpful and willing to take a moment or many to answer even the most basic of questions, and that they had been through it before, and I wasn’t going to fail.

As the days tick by here at VLS, I am positive that I am becoming a student again. Reading cases and looking up legal words in Black’s Law Dictionary, in between getting free coffee after 3:00 in the student cafe, reminds me of why I came here in the first place. I came because I needed and wanted to contextualize the environmental work I’d been doing for four years and I wanted to do it in a community of big thinkers and dreamers who focused on our planet. I’m glad I found my way here. And truthfully, despite the bumpiness of this transitional period while I learn once again how to take notes effectively and how to synthesize material, I know it is worth it. It may mean I have extra three ring binders I’m not going to use, and it may mean I have far, far too many post-it notes, but I took the first step of asking the question. I do however, need to stock up on highlighters, I’ve already drained one in less than three weeks of use!

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