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Being mentally balanced during virtual law school classes | Khushi Dave

Thursday, September 03, 2020 @ 9:26 AM | By Khushi Dave

Khushi Dave %>
Khushi Dave
This year is quite unusual for the incoming juris doctor students. Not only because COVID-19 has caused a global pandemic, but also because many law schools have decided that classes will be conducted virtually to limit the spread of the virus. No one thought of that happening for law students. Even in general, no one expected a global pandemic to take over 2020. The impact of this pandemic has exacerbated the already anxious 1L students.

But like anything else in life, when you cannot control the situation around you, you can find positive ways to react.

In this article, I will discuss three strategies that benefited me during my undergrad online classes, and can be used by the upcoming law students to make the most out their 1L during this pandemic:

1. Breathing mindfully

The way we breathe when we are stressed, nervous or anxious can drastically change. It sounds silly when someone says you should fix your breathing, considering we’ve been doing this for our entire lives; however, there are definitely better strategies that aided me in maintaining a calm mindset when studying.

Meditating is one of the ways in which I was able to reduce my stress levels during online classes. Closing my eyes and leaving behind everything that’s happening in life for just five minutes a day brought me peace and clarity. In a time of uncertainty, mindful breathing for at least five to eight minutes a day in the early morning can help you stay focused throughout your Zoom.

2. Allocating time for yourself

“Me-time” doesn’t just mean watching Netflix and eating pizza. It means taking care of your body and creating a self-care routine that will help you stay healthy through this journey.

As an undergrad there were several days when I had to pull an all-nighter or study without taking any breaks, but this really cost me my health. Eventually, what this leads to is burning out, where I had no energy left to complete the tasks I planned and an unhealthy lifestyle that became my routine. Simple things like eating on time, not skipping breakfast or even spending time in open air can go a long way. 

My body is going to be with me for the rest of my life, so I might as well take care of it! This acted as a reminder for me that there is a bigger picture waiting to be seen, one that made me realize that if my health was not in good shape, my potential as a lawyer could be limited. A simple suggestion could be to keep a reminder on your phone that tells you to take a break or go for a walk.

3. Relieving stress through a hobby

There was always something stressful going on for me; whether it was in my personal or academic life, the workload never stopped. My undergrad online classes made me think that I could save some commute time. However, it was soon enough that I realized that that studying at home all day could be mentally exhausting.

This year during virtual classes, students could try finding a stress-relieving hobby. For me, this was a chance to continue modelling. It kept the joy in my life and re-energized me for the next study session that I had planned. Hence, finding something you’re passionate about and using that to aid your mental health can go a long way!

These are only some of the things that worked for me during my experience of online classes, but this journey will be about exploring various ways that work for each law student. It is crucial to remember that although the journey may be tough, it may reveal many positives for us that will guide us in our future career paths and build healthy habits as future lawyers!

Khushi Dave is a first-year law student at Ryerson Faculty of Law. Her aim is to promote the growth of marginalized communities and use her experiences as a law student to help others who are going through the same journey

Illustration by Chris Yates/Law360

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