#SUAS: Shut up and Study!

In October, La Trobe Law School will be trialling a version of the “Shut up and Write” phenomenon specially tailored for law students.

What is a “Shut up and Write” session?

In the words of Katherine Firth: “#shutupandwrite is 2 times 25min writing sprints with a 10min break between them. We do it in a group, for motivation and accountability”.

The idea is to turn writing “from a solitary, to a social experience”, creating a supportive working atmosphere. Shut up and Write groups usually use the Pomodoro Technique – setting a timer to allow for 25 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted work, followed by 5 minutes break, in which to stretch, chat to others and grab a coffee.

For law study?

Studying law inevitably involves significant amounts of reading, revising and writing. It can be isolating, particularly if you feel like you are continually competing against your fellow students for marks and eventually jobs. We already know the depressing statistics about law student mental health – a 2010 study found that more than 35% of Australian law students experience high or very high levels of psychological distress (compared with 13% of their non-law-student peers). But there is a bright side. Studies such as that by Jill Howieson indicate that we can build law student’s well-being and resilience by increasing levels of interaction between students:

The more the student enjoyed the interaction with the other students, the greater the student’s sense of belonging and well-being.[1]

The Shut up and Work sessions are designed to provide a friendly space at the stressful end of the semester, where you can try out a new study technique alongside other law students.

What does it involve?

  • Just turn up, grab a coffee, shut up and work
  • Bring whatever law work you are doing – it may be reading, an assignment, or notes for revision
  • We’ll start with introductions, but this is a drop-in session, so you can come and go as you need to, but please respect the quiet
  • 25 minutes of solid work (aim for no email, no phone calls, no social media)
  • 5 minutes relax and chat
  • 25 minutes solid work
  • 15 minute longer break for coffee
  • Three more 25 minute sessions, punctuated by breaks
  • Relax!

Dates: Friday 9th & 16th October 2015

Time: 9.30 am – 12.30 pm

Venue: Law Student Common room

[1] Jill Howieson, ‘ADR education: creating engagement and increasing mental well-being through an interactive and constructive approach’ (2011) 22(1) Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal 58, 60.

Lise Leitner