By Soph Xian
Whether it be because an elective is only offered in the break, because you’ve been peer pressured by your friends, or simply because it’s been five interminable years and you need to graduate, winter courses may be an absolute necessity for you. However, having just done a winter course, I’ve experienced all the inconveniences that can accompany a winter learning adventure. So, before you start planning that summer Euro trip, here is a list of no-brainers that you should actually think about.
1. You are going to lose a fair chunk of your holiday
Enjoy the time off that you do have and get any of the tasks you were going to ‘leave ‘till after exams’ out of the way. Once the course starts, you’ll no longer be able to post ‘sorry not sorry for the spam’ pictures on Instagram, and you may not have the time or energy to do all those tasks you procrastinated had planned to do before.
2. It’s intense (hence, ‘winter intensive’)
Tbt to high school when you had homework every night and during the weekends. Having 12 weeks of content mushed together in ten to 12 days means you’ve probably got lectures, workshops, tutorials, readings and prep every day.
Winner Tip: Get enough rest
The best tip I received before doing my winter course was to get enough rest and look after my health. It turns out the critical test of my self-discipline was not waking up at 9 am for my morning seminar (which, to be fair, I chose for myself), it was having the discipline to put away my laptop and go to sleep before midnight every night. Getting enough sleep is crucial to absorbing and engaging with all the new content that is dumped onto you each day.
Don’t fall into the ‘I’ll catch up on everything on the weekend’ trap
If your course has a weekend rest period, you’ll likely think that the weekend is a convenient time to catch up on the material you put off doing. Though this may be true, it’s best to use some of that limited break time to rest and recuperate for the coming week of content dump again – so don’t leave everything for the weekend.
3. The final assessment
It’s likely that there’ll be an exam at the end of the course. Unlike a 12-week semester where you can focus on understanding course material without having to constantly keep in mind the final exam, winter courses give you only two to three weeks before the final assessments. Therefore, it’s vital to keep the structure and style of your final exam in mind and steer your daily study towards that. A good thing to also keep in mind is that there’ll likely be an assessment that runs into the actual semester.
4. You will see the same people every day
Part of having the same class every day means that you’ll be seeing the same people every day for an extended period of time. It’s a nice throwback to high school and it means you’re going to form some tight bonds throughout the course. After all, those who struggle and complain about law together, stay together.
5. Your lecturer knows the limits of an intensive course and wants to help you
Your lecturer is aware that it’s an intense course with lots of material to cover in a short period of time. They’re not going to expect the same depth as a normal course, and they’ll try their best to take it at an appropriate pace, so there’s no need to fear. That being said, if you do have concerns about the pace, don’t hesitate to voice them to the lecturer or LSS Education Vice-President at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intense as it is, it is absolutely do-able, 100 percent worthwhile and a great way to tackle your degree. The fact that you get to sit and learn about a fascinating area of law of your own choosing is in itself rewarding and an interesting respite from compulsory content. Not to mention you get a whole entire course done and out of the way in as little as two weeks!
So, to all those souls staying in (or thinking of staying in) Canberra over the holidays and yearning for a rewarding way to spend your time, I highly recommend taking a law intensive. Happy studying!