Important Exam Reminder: There is Life Outside the Law Tower!



While I was in graduate school, you could often find me working while hunched over my laptop surrounded by my books, my notes, and most importantly, my caffeine.  During especially busy stretches of the semester, it was not uncommon for me to be writing at 1am with a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke by my side, a pot of coffee brewing and a cup of tea nearby just for good measure.  Oh, and sometimes there was chocolate too.  During finals, all the staples of healthy living often fell to the side for me and my colleagues. Take-out became a primary food group.  Smuggling a large coffee into the no-food-zone of the library was a major victory, and a decent night’s sleep was merely an afterthought.  Regular trips to the gym were replaced with extra library sessions, which for me, sometimes translated into skipping meals all together.  At an end of the semester dinner sponsored by one of my professors, my classmates and I marveled at what isolated lives we had been living almost without realizing it. We were young adults studying in New York City, and yet we often found it difficult to leave the twenty-or-so block radius of campus without feeling guilty or under-prepared for class, even with all that the city had to offer right at our fingertips.

It is easy to tout the benefits of a balanced lifestyle, but academia is tough, and practicing that balance can often feel like another stressor itself, an extra task added to an already tremendous to-do list that includes not just your student-life, but your life beyond the classroom as well – your friends, your family, your finances, your non-academic interests and goals, your career.  The demands can be rigorous on all levels, and quite frankly, taking time for yourself does not always feel like a viable option. Coming to undergrad in Boston and then attending graduate school in New York, I arrived in both cities with lofty goals for enjoying the urban space – Museums! Parks! Restaurants! Bars! But, truth be told, it took me a while to figure out how to create space in my schedule for these elements of my education.  It also took the work of reminding myself to slow down and find a bit of space outside the library to relieve some stress and broaden my horizons.  I had a year and a half of grad school behind me before I found a great place to grab a salad on the go, started taking advantage of student perks at museums and other venues and began to run in the park near my apartment.

I hope that our revised “Live Well, Learn Well” web pages can take a little bit of this work out of the equation for you by providing some tools to help strike that elusive school-life balance. Further, I hope that my personal anecdotes remind you that this quest for balance is a universal one that many of us behind the scenes here at the Law School have also experienced.  The Student Affairs Office has promoted its “Live Well, Learn Well” initiative since 2005, but we have recently broadened the online content for this program. The new pages contain a variety of links to wellness programs right here at the Law School, at BU in general, and in Greater Boston.  Oftentimes, opportunities for a short break in your routine are closer and easier than you think.  From spending time in one of Boston’s many parks now that the weather is warming to spending a night at the theater, and from eating well when you are in a rush to checking out the latest exhibits at the MFA, I hope these compiled resources remind you of all that our community, at the University and in the city, has to offer its students and that they spark some ideas for stretching beyond the Tower.  Perhaps more importantly, I hope they also remind you to go easy on yourself as exams approach.  While balance is an ultimate goal, it can be hard to achieve, and I still can’t make it through a day without Diet Coke. 

Take Care, Leah

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