Hannah recently completed the DPLP at the University of Aberdeen, where she studied the Accelerated LLB in Scots and English Law, graduating in 2020. She also completed a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology at Simon Fraser University in Canada in 2018. Born in Scotland, Hannah grew up in Calgary, Canada, before moving back to Scotland to embark on the route to qualification and is currently seeking a traineeship. Here, discusses how you can maintain a balanced and positive mental wellbeing during law school.
I recently completed the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Aberdeen, ending my eight-year stint of higher education. Two degrees and a diploma later, my mental health has certainly been a roller coaster.
Whilst Mental Health Awareness Week was last week, wellbeing and mental health is something that we should all be talking about as a matter of course and by sharing my own experiences with you, I hope that I will encourage others to do so too.
I won’t lie to you. Law school is not all unicorns and rainbows.
There were definitely times where I questioned whether I had the mental strength to stick it out, but what I can tell you is that, with the right balance and the right resources, you can get through it.
It took me a few years at university to realise the importance of prioritising my mental health and I found it difficult to excel in my courses if my mental health was struggling.
So, based on my experiences, here are a few suggestions of what you can do. These aren’t exhaustive, so keep in mind that everyone differs and it may be trial and error to find what works for you.
- Make sleep a priority! All-nighters are NOT healthy. If your brain is sleep-deprived, the quality of your work will suffer. You are better off taking seven to eight hours to sleep and starting again in the morning, than staying up all night.
- Activities can help to reduce stress. I play rugby, so when I’m feeling stressed and my mood is low, I make sure I practise that week. No matter how busy you are with course work, you are entitled to take one to two hours off to relax.
- Organisation. I found it really helpful investing in a planner, so I never have assignments creeping up on me. If you know in advance what the next few weeks look like, you can plan ahead and stay on top of your work.
- Alcohol is a depressant. If you are struggling mentally, as tempting as a night out may be, it may actually make you feel worse in the long run.
- Lastly, remember that your lecturers and university staff are human too. If you are struggling, let them know, because they are in the best position to help! Universities have free counselling services you can access and I highly recommend doing so! Making use of my university’s counselling services helped me immensely.
At the end of the day, regardless of how stressful law school can be, it’s definitely worth it at the end of the day. Just remember to always look after yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help!