Thursday, December 10, 2015

Study Groups

The truth is I’ve never participated in a study group. For whatever reason, I’ve always been a solitary studier. I am sure there are benefits to group studying, but I’ve never gravitated toward the practice.

Let me just say this: there is plenty of peer feedback “in the air” as a 1L. Your section is a very large study group. You’re in classes every day with the same people…studying!

If you pay attention to what your classmates are asking, you will find many of your own questions answered. If you participate heavily in class discussions, you’ll be very engaged on the topics covered in class, and you may save yourself time later on by only needing to lightly revisit those topics. If you’re wondering what will be on the test, focus on what your professor is focusing on. As the semester wears on, I’m sure this engagement in class will reap rewards that are similar to studying in groups.

I have found it necessary at times to discuss things in depth with other students. In those situations, I’ve found it effective to reach out to others that I trust and admire academically. Everyone in class has various strengths, as do you. Trust your strengths first, then fill in the gaps with advice from trustworthy classmates who have skills you may not have. The point is, engaging with classmates can take forms other than traditional study groups.

One thing is absolutely certain about being a 1L, you need a plan of how to study. Whether that plan is to meet everyday with your friends to discuss the reading, or to read alone, or to swap notes via email, there’s no real “right way” to do it. I’ve definitely never felt any need to conform to a certain style of studying, or that there’s a sense that anyone is doing it “right” and anyone else is “wrong.” Loyola definitely fosters an individual sense of achievement that is refreshing. You can excel here being a complete loner or a social butterfly. If you’re rigorous, thorough, and put in the hours, you can figure out your own way to be a successful 1L.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Study Groups

I am lucky to have two friends in each class I am currently enrolled in. We don’t always have study groups during the year. Throughout the semester we can email each other for notes if one of us missed a class. We might also attend office hours together. Everyone tends to be very busy and we are all on different schedules. Things change once exam season begins.

Around this time, we lean on each other more than ever. We round up together to either outline, compare outlines, or go over material together. I prefer to meet with my friends after I have completed outlining and have a strong understanding of the material. Sometimes we meet in the library and other times at a coffee shop. This makes time with my study group more efficient. It also helps to pick people you genuinely enjoy being around.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Study Groups

Before talking about study groups, I want to say that generally I’m not a fan of study groups because that’s not the best way for me to personally study. I usually study alone, going through the material over and over again to myself. Because my notes are often abbreviated or simply illegible due to my use of cursive (yeah I use cursive), it forces me to reason from scratch practically each time and fill in the missing gaps. By the time exams come, starting from a blank page is no longer intimidating. However, I went to a few study groups and understand their merits.

The first study group I went to was earlier in the year. We recapped the cases and their rules one by one. It was quite a big crowd of really bright folks. However, this also meant that I sat their passively and ultimately ended up agreeing with everyone’s reasoning. Whenever I retreated into my mind to use my own usual study techniques, I ended up unconsciously tuning everyone out. I ultimately stopped attending simply because I didn’t feel like I was contributing at all, plus it wasn’t the way I studied anyways.

I recently attended another study group as finals looms. It was helpful but not necessarily for review reasons. Being at home can be distracting. Celtics games are going on (Yup, Celtics fan here. LARRY LEGEND BABY!), and I can easily get lost in my imagination when I’m listening to music. With finals ahead, it’s the time to outline. Physically being in a room with other students reviewing the material I’m trying to outline made it incredibly easy for me to focus on the task. Since we’re near the end of the semester, it’s also very apparent how study groups help other students. Those who are genuine confused on topics can get clarification from their peers. One friend of mine apparently learns best when he has to explain the material to others. Everyone benefits.

This is the ultimate cop out and clichéd answer (I’m sure pointing out how clichéd I am is inherently clichéd [Oh snap I’m going really Meta here], but I’m going to do it anyways), but study in the manner that best suits you. Nevertheless, it does not hurt to try studying in a group. You might reap some unforeseeable benefits. Even if that means preventing you from distracted from watching the Boston Celtics going 75-7 and winning the NBA championship (we’re 5-4 at the time I’m writing this post, but ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!).

P.S. If any of you find a study group that includes Jeff Britta Pierce Troy Abed Shirley and Annie, join them and you’ll have the time of your lives. Six Seasons and a Movie!