Gentlemen in waiting.
Hope it’s okay to call you that?
I’m glad you made it through registration. Some of you are still straggling behind because you DIDN’T listen to my advice about registration. Some of you just didn’t get to read the first installment because your friends didn’t share with you. Don’t hate them, okay?
I expect that by now, you are surprised at the wide variety of people you can see in school. It’s even more diverse than your university isn’t it? Young children who should still be wearing diapers, old men and women who should be relaxing in a rocking chair. You have seen people who probably haven’t paid their school fees yet, and you’ve seen people who are already buying lunch for others.
If you haven’t, sometime this week ? you’ll see.
So what does Uncle P have to say today? I want to give you a few tips about keeping yourself sane and healthy for the next two weeks or so.
Healthy. I said healthy. Because it is important.
Okay let’s get to eat.
1. EAT WELL
Make sure you take a light breakfast. Take cereal, take milk, take high-protein and low fat foods. Honestly there’s no time to explain too much. Just know that science tells us that when you skip breakfast your brain cells start dying one by one. Immediately. Your own experience should tell you that you feel tired very early and lose concentration by 10 or 11am.
There’ll be this temptation to eat fast food, snacks, carbonated/sugary/energy drinks. If you’re still undergoing registration you may take a little of that. But I don’t advise you to. You know why? Energy drinks leave you exhausted when they wear off. In that mode, you can’t really study or maintain reasonable conversations (trust me). I don’t need to tell you to avoid alcoholic substances…including liquorice. I don’t need to tell you to NOT smoke weed. If you have any of that with you, get rid of it!
Don’t overeat, don’t starve yourself, take fruits. If you can, take supplements. Your body is going to need ALL the nutrition it can get.
2. SLEEP WELL
Research shows that when you sleep, your brain is refreshed. ? It’s a bit like recharging a phone’s battery. You’re able to assimilate more, remember more, think sharper. you can achieve more with an hour’s reading after a nap…than staying awake all night reading what you probably don’t understand. Some people just read overnight because they see other people doing it and don’t want to be left out. They go to the classrooms, open their books and doze in and out of consciousness. By morning they didn’t get enough sleep, they can’t concentrate during lectures, they’re always tired. And they mostly get nothing out of it anyway.
During my time in school, people would read all night (I believe it was called TDB, till-day break). Then come and sleep during lectures. Or they fight to stay awake and then eventually fall sick. Some people had to go home for treatment. Others fainted during lectures. There was once a lecturer who fainted while delivering a lecture.
GO TO SLEEP!!!! DREAM DEEP!!!!!
3. RELAX. ENJOY YOUR LIFE
by now you must think I’m nuts. Talking as if law school is a piece of cake, something you just achieve by eating, sleeping and having fun.
I’m not nuts. I’m here, I made it, and I’m sharing the secrets me, my friends and frienemies employed and worked for us.
Why do I say relax? The battle for law school is 70% mental. It’s psychological warfare and if you lose on this level, you’ll lose everything. I’m sure there are people that have finished the syllabus before even coming to law school. they’re intimidating you, citing Lord Denning and Lord Atkin for about anything you’re discussing about. They already know 2015 cases and the full citation. They know how the Mcpherson constitution was actually better than the Richards Constitution, how the 2020 electoral Act is severely flawed. They quote Latin maxims like they were born speaking latin. The books they carry are heavier than the Black’s Law Dictionary.
All these things give you panic attacks. except you’re a ninja. I had panic attacks. In fact, from the first day of registration I went to buy Quick Review texts on all the courses. Because my roommate were reading, I started reading. It didn’t occur to us that we were reading aimlessly. There was no curriculum, no guide, no lesson plan, no method of assessment. by the second day I told myself the cold truth, that I was wasting my time.
So I waited for the curriculum.
4. DON’T BUY ANY BOOKS NOW
Lectures will give you a list of recommended texts. many people wasted money on books that were simply irrelevant to the course. The books looked fancy, they had nice covers and textures, some were y popular authors; but a simple change in the rules of the High Court of Lagos State rendered them obsolete. Y.Y. Dadem published a second edition of his Property Law textbook. This was about 2 weeks after we registered. You can imagine the waste….3500 naira gone just like that!
If you feel you MUST read, just use the library.
5. PLAN YOUR LIFE
you have 2 weeks for registration, 1 week for orientation and then lectures begin. So generally, your first month in school won’t involve any serious academic work. So what do you do in this time?
PLAN. you’re smart.
You have at least these 2 weeks. Study the weather patterns to know what kind of clothes you’ll need. Plan for when you’ll do your laundry (or have it done for you. They’re people for that). Plan how many hours of sleep you’ll need to function properly. Experiment with different study times and know which one works best for you. Plan what time you want to eat everyday. Plan how many times you want to leave school during the term. Plan how many topics you want to cover per week. Plan your revision schedule. Plan how much time you want to spend talking with you friends.
In my time, I spent about 3 hours every day talking with my friends.
Irresponsible right? Wrong. We didn’t just talk about sports and money and girls and God…The things we studied found their way into our conversations. Some things that were difficult to understand with 2 hours of intense study…A friend explained in 10 minutes. Like the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure confused me right till the end of law school, but my friend Oyin explained it In 10 minutes; or Proceedings in lieu of demurrer that i never understood throughout law school…my friend Gabriel explained it in 30 seconds!
In all probability you won’t obey your plan more than 60% but it’s better to achieve measurable goals.
PLAN YOUR LIFE
6. STAY IN THE LOOP
Hang about the water cooler. listen to the grapevine. Whatever you do…Make sure you’re aware what’s happening on campus. Sometimes a lecturer may produce a little literature to help students understand a topic more. Sometimes there’s going to be a change in policy. Sometimes You may be grouped for a task. Sometimes your ID cards will be given out. Sometimes wifi passwords will be given out.
For the next 2 weeks, make sue you’re where the others are, so you don’t get left behind. Take every rumour as true until you find out otherwise. Every piece of information is vital!
7. SPEND TIME WITH GOD
take it from me, you’ll need God. For the first few months people just carry on with their lives, doing all sorts of things, living careless lives, abusing their bodies, having abortions (true. There were at least 2 when I was in law school). These people won’t go to church for anything, they’ll ridicule those who do. But you find that 1 month to exams, people suddenly start finding Jesus. Fear creeps in and they start making all sorts of vows and promises so they won’t fail.
You can begin to settle the spiritual atmosphere in prayer. Make your covenant with God NOW, begin to build yourself in the world of God. Times will come when your faith may run dry, when you face all sorts of attack (trust me, a lot of people in law school are into some form of witchcraft, voodoo or the other). You can begin to neutralise them NOW. You can begin to enjoy your good health NOW.
When you’re close to God, you’ll get advance notice of what will happen. I was never taken unawares during lectures…I Was never asked a question I couldn’t answer. I always knew where my group would be called out for presentations and we were always ready.
Don’t wait until you’re in a tight corner before you start calling on God. I’m telling you, Just as the Angel of God said to Elijah..Eat all the spiritual food you can now…because the Journey ahead of you is long.
Stay positive, and know that you will make it!