5 things every student should do over the break

  1. Road trip!

Remember all those times that you were studying and had a sudden want to drive off somewhere where the books couldn’t find you? Well, now’s your chance! Zoom off for the day along the great ocean road, check out the whale watching at Warrnambool or even just drive off to the sunset! Go for a drive somewhere you’ve never been before, embrace the sights and sounds before you have to go back to study!

giphy (6).gif

  1. Have a ‘you’ day

One thing you MUST do is to just have a ‘you’ day, whether that means doing absolutely nothing all do at home, adventuring up a mountain or sitting in a quiet corner of the world and reading, do it. Once Uni starts back you will not have this opportunity again.
giphy (7).gif

  1. Read a book… FOR FUN!

Yes, some of you have probably forgotten what it is like to read for fun. Imagine, a book that you don’t have to take notes on and you actually enjoy! SHOCK HORROR! It’s incredibly rare to have time to do anything for fun let alone get stuck into a good book.
giphy (8).gif

  1. Get your culture on

Go see an exhibition, a play or even a foreign film! Experience the world outside of law and outside of Uni! The Van Gogh exhibition is wonderful and highly recommended, if art isn’t your thing, go see My Fair Lady! Not a big fan of theatre? Try the Zoo!

giphy (9).gif

  1. Sleep

Sleep. Just sleep as much as possible. NOTHING is better sometimes than on a cold winter day, curling up in bed with Netflix and napping. Remember sleep? That thing you used to do before the trimester hit? Give it a go again, we promise you’ll like it.

giphy (10).gif

How to deal with a disappointing exam mark

Put everything into perspective

So you failed a unit, big deal. Yes when you get your mark and see that ‘F’ glaring up at you, emotions can run high causing grief and tears. But… what’s the worst that can happen? Really? You simply just have to repeat it again. The number of Law students that have to repeat a unit is astronomical and so it’s just not a problem to have to do it! Yeah it may suck especially if it’s a unit that you don’t particularly love but hey, at least this time you’ve got a leg up on the competition by knowing a bit about it!

giphy (2).gif

Apply for a remark

As a student under the business and law faculty, you are able to apply for an administrative review to check that all assignment and exam marks have been added up correctly to obtain your final mark.

You can also apply for an Academic review where it is shown that your work was not marked in accordance with the marking criteria or that there was a misapplication of University policies or procedures. Be warned however, there is a chance you could end up with a worse mark!

Did you fail your final unit? If this is the case, you can check if you’re eligible for a pass conceded.
giphy (5).gif

Use it as a reflection

Where did you go wrong? What did you struggle with?

Email your lecturer or the person who marked your paper and ask where you went wrong, some lecturers are more than happy to tell you. Use that knowledge to build your skills and know exactly what you have to improve on for the next exam. You’ll end up with a much better mark! I promise.
giphy (3)


There’s no shame in failing an exam, use that F as motivation to turn it into a HD next trimester! You’ve got background knowledge in the subject now, know the marking criteria so there’s nothing stopping you! Go out and smash that subject next time! A truly lovely person once said, ‘A year from now, everything that you’re stressing about won’t even matter’, take this piece of advice and cherish it, it will turn out to be true, you’ll see.

giphy (4)

The College of Law

The College of Law is a school for professional practice for aspiring Lawyers in Australia and New Zealand. They are also the largest provider of practice-focused education in Australia!


The College of Law has been at the forefront of practical legal education since 1974. They have more than 60,000 graduates and are one of the most trusted names in Australia and New Zealand for legal training.


The College of Law equips students with the skills and knowledge they need to enter the legal profession and develop their career. They are authorised to self-accredit its own programs and offer blended programs to combine face-to-face learning with online study to give flexibility to students. College of Law also has three fundamental graduate qualities they continually encourage and reinforce throughout students courses, they are:

  1. Professionalism
    Ethical, knowledgeable, well-presented and prepared
  2. Effectiveness
    Client-centred, clear, responsive and collaborative
  3. Practicality
    Strategic, commercially aware, solution-focused and systematic

A large advantage of studying with the College of Law is being able to choose PLT Plus from them, with the outcome ensuring you are more practice ready, you can study when and how you want to, you will be more attractive to employers, have more support and guidance during your studies and ensure many benefits!

Their study modes are as follows:

Online Full Time: 15 weeks duration with 5 days attendance at beginning of program

Online Part-time: 30 weeks duration with 5 days attendance at beginning of program

As part of the Coursework component, students need to complete 5 compulsory subjects and 2 elective subjects. The compulsory subjects:

  • Civil Litigation Practice
  • Commercial and Corporate Practice
  • Property Law Practice
  • Lawyer’s Skills
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility

The electives are:

  • Administrative Law Practice
  • Criminal Law Practice
  • Family Law Practice
  • Consumer Law Practice
  • Employment and Industrial Law Practice
  • Planning and Environmental Law Practice
  • Wills and Estates Practice
  • Banking and Finance Practice

Have any questions about PLT Plus that we didn’t answer? Check out their e-handbook here http://pages.s7.exacttarget.com/page.aspx?QS=38dfbe491fab00ea36aecc3ff33b025af9f3921de3218804064496b5bae53d0a

college of law.png

Harwood Andrews

By Tanya Garreffa and Cecilia Moon

We work as graduate lawyers at Harwood Andrews in the dispute resolution and business law teams.  We graduated at the end of last year, from Deakin and Australian Catholic University, and can tell you honestly that finding a graduate position is the first step in the long and rewarding journey that is your career in law.  Whether you are stepping into a position as a graduate lawyer, building expertise in a particular industry, or looking to complete your practical training, life outside of university can be daunting.
We have put together a list of tips that have come from our own transitions from life as a student, to life as a graduate lawyer.


  1. We had to learn how to not be a student (it’s harder than you’d think).


As a uni student, life is full of learning, pretty stationary, and more importantly, time. Some things don’t change when you enter the workforce.  You still have to learn, you still need to meet deadlines and of course the need for stationary never goes away.


There are some big changes that come with stepping out of student life. For example, there isn’t a study guide or a unit outline that tells you what you need to learn and so you don’t always know what you don’t know.  It’s something you figure out over time (and it’s 100% okay to admit).  Secondly, there is a lot more responsibility that comes with your work.  You aren’t just given a grade.  What you do can impact the decisions clients make in the short and long term.  The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone.


  1. You learn the value of having a good team, and brilliant mentors.


That is one of the most frustrating aspects of grad year – you really don’t know as much as you want to.  The good news is that you aren’t alone! If you’re lucky, like we are, you have your fellow grads to lean on.  You also have your team. Trust me, they are the smartest, most experienced and diverse lawyers going around, and they all remember what it’s like to start at the bottom.  Make sure to take the time to form relationships with them.  Sometimes, this comes naturally, and sometimes you need to put in a little more effort, but trust us, it is worth it in the end.  You’ll look back in 1 month, 4 months, 12 months and be amazed at how far you’ve come, and how far you still have to go.


  1. The need for ‘networking’ doesn’t disappear.


In fact, get ready to do it for the rest of your life! For a business lawyer, networking is key to meeting potential clients and maintaining existing relationships. For any lawyer, it is a great way to become connected to your community and to meet others in your profession.


Geelong has a great collection of networking groups, such as Geelong Young Professionals, Geelong Young Lawyers Association and Business & Professional Women (just to name a few). If your firm offers you membership to any groups, we recommend you take them, especially if you’re new to the region.  Remaining a part of things which you have always been passionate about is also great networking.


Sometimes, the benefits of networking can take awhile to eventuate.  The good news is, that the more events you attend, the easier it becomes to network (you even start to look forward to it).


  1. We can take more time for the things we love.


Though we can no longer sleep until 10 then enjoy a leisurely avocado toast and latte, having a job with set hours makes it much easier to plan the day and, when the day is finished, enjoy our free time however we want, without needing to study.


Being part of sports teams or other leisure groups can be great networking. It’s often easier to connect over a shared interest, and you’d be surprised how many of your colleagues’ clients are old school friends or basketball partners.


Taking time to do the things we love is also very important for mental health. Graduate year can be challenging, and sometimes it’s tempting to stay late at work. Sometimes that’s necessary, but often, especially as a junior, it’s alright to clock off.


From personal experience, decompressing from work can also improve your productivity, and build your reserves so you can last through the occasional long day.


  1. Life doesn’t get (that much) easier.


Well, it does. Especially if you hate exams and studying. But, as the name suggests, work can be hard work, incredibly hard rewarding work.


Remember why it is you are doing what you are doing, lean on your team and each other, continue to do the things you love doing, and you will find grad year is nothing like what you expected.

Trials and Tribulations of a Law book

500 page textbooks are an essential for every law student, we start to accumulate a collection of incredibly expensive books which we will probably never use again and can rarely resell due to the writers updating them seemingly every year…

SWOTVAC is here so just for fun and as a tribute to said textbooks that have been with us, are with us and are to be with us over the course of our degrees, we re-imagine the life and times of a law textbook.



You visit DUSA and pick up that shiny new textbook, or if you’re lucky, manage to pick up a second hand book from an even luckier student. You promise yourself that you’ll take care of your new textbook, that you won’t get food on it, won’t cry into it and will do all your notes on time. You’ve already worked out a new highlighting and tabbing system that would leave your textbook looking Instagram worthy at the end of the trimester. ‘I will never misuse you’ you whisper.



It’s week 6, you’ve left your textbook multiple times at the library, the laundromat, under the pile of clothes on THAT chair and even on the train a few times. Some pages are wrinkled from tears and there’s a weird spaghetti sauce like stain on the spine, you’ve got tabs on every fifth page of the book of cases that you’ll ‘totally read soon’. Your system of highlighting went out the window week 2 and you’re stuck with a hot mess of fluoroness with half-ripped tabs hanging out everywhere.



How are you actually missing pages from your book? What happened? Your was-pristine textbook is now dog-eared, frayed and tear stained. But, you simply shrug your shoulders and keep highlighting large blobs of information you don’t really understand and continue tabbing ‘cases that will really be on the exam’. Frankly, it’s a mess.



The last exam is finished and the final assignment handed in, it’s time to clean out your desk. You umm and ahh for a few days before deciding to do one of two things

  1. Place your neglected textbook amongst your other textbooks who have suffered similar fates. You’ll use them one day, surely.
  2. You need money so have to part with your textbook, putting it up for sale or giving it to another friend.


The cycle begins again.

Leo Cussen Centre of Law

Leo Cussen centre of law provides top notch education, professional development and training to strengthen and support students in their journey into the legal system. Leo Cussen’s training programs focus on ‘learning by doing’ with a heavy emphasis on practical experience and offer both onsite (full-time) and online (part-time and full-time) practical legal training for graduates of law seeking admission to the legal profession through Leo Cussen’s Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. Leo Cussen’s training facilities are in the CBDs of Melbourne and Perth.

Leo Cussen has been training graduates for admission to practice since 1974! They are widely recognised as providing high quality legal training for entry-level lawyers. Leo Cussen offers professional mentoring whilst graduates work in small groups with lawyer trainers, all of which are integral to the Leo Cussen philosophy. Once graduating Leo Cussen’s, graduates are entitled to apply for admission to legal practice in Victoria or Western Australia with reciprocal admission in other Australian states.

Leo Cussen is well known for its practical training and its emphasis on ‘learning by doing’, they also ensure student’s mentors are experienced lawyers who give regular one-on-one feedback, overseeing students’ progress and supporting students’ development as lawyers. Experienced legal practitioners also give support, assistance and assess students skills in regards of letter drafting, running of simulated files, settlements, negotiations, signings and hearings.

One of the best thing about Leo Cussen’s? No exams.

Course dates:

Onsite – 21 weeks of formal training, 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri, and three weeks’ professional placement; two courses per year.

Online – 21 weeks of formal training, including 13 days face-to-face onsite, and three weeks’ professional placement. Two courses per year.

2017 Course dates:

Onsite PLT (30 January – 7 July) – apply by 5pm 18 November 2016, offers made 25 November 2016

Online PLT (30 January – 20 June) – apply by 5pm 18 November 2016, offers made 25 November 2016

Onsite PLT 2 (10 July to 15 December) – Apply by 5pm on 12 May 2017, Offers made 19 May 2017

Online PLT 2 (10 July to 24 November)- Apply by 5pm on 12 May 2017, Offers made 19 May 2017



The five stages of sitting a law exam


This is it, SWOTVAC is nearly upon us and… it begins. You can almost smell the fear in the air at Uni, the panic of people who know there is a good chance they could fail and the weariness of those on their second night of little sleep. So what else is there to do at the moment but have a few laughs and for you first years, finding out what you’ve gotten yourself into.


  1. The calm before the storm

You can’t do any more studying. You’ve done the readings twenty times, re-done the tutorial questions more than twice and spammed the CloudDeakin message boards so many times its bordering on harassment. Now you’re outside the exam hall, pens and book in your clammy hands and an eerie calm comes over to. Whatever will be will be you chant to yourself. There is a strong feeling of unity between you and your classmates as you come together and march into the room under the watchful gaze of the examiners. You’re either feeling prepared as all hell and like you’re going to smash it OR defeated and on your way to your doom, either way. The exam is about to begin.


  1. Reading time

Reading time begins and you flip open the paper and stare into your fate. This can go two ways you can either:

  1. Know the questions and know exactly how to answer them. At this point you begin plotting in your head what precedents you will use and the name of that super ambiguous case that was only mentioned as a footnote.
  2. Mentally scream in anguish as you know some of the questions but that one concept you didn’t bother studying showed up heavily. You might even look up to ensure you’re in the write exam room. When nothing happens you resort to staring at the page blankly, writing down random bits of law that’s kinda relevant and you hope they’ll give you pity points for.


  1. Rhythm

Once writing time begins and regardless of how step 2 proceeded, eventually you WILL get into a rhythm. Head down, writing at a steady and consistent pace and pausing only to think over a concept of flip to a vital page in your notes. Of all the stages of the exam, this is where you’ll feel the most confident and will answer the parts you know while glossing over the parts you don’t.


  1. Last 30 minutes

30 minutes left. 30 minutes to put your head further down until you go almost cross-eyed and write as if your life depended on it. Where did the time go? You haven’t even started the last question! You quickly and carelessly finish off the question you’re working on and move onto the last one – the one you know the least about and struggle with heavily. Your wrist is fully cramped up and your fingers have a vice like grip on your pen but too bad, keep writing until you don’t notice, you won’t anyhow as you’re too busy scribbling down everything you can remember about that one case and that one judges summary of it in the hope that some of it, ANY of it, somewhat applies to the question.



‘Pens down please, writing time has concluded’. It’s over, that’s it. YOU’RE DONE! This stage is often marked with a heavy sigh, a clutching and rotating of your wrist and a gentle unbending of your fingers to force your hand to drop the pen. The examiners collect your paper, god help you if you didn’t put the exam booklet inside the answer booklet and you wait at your desk until you hear those wondrous last words – ‘all papers have been collected and you may leave’.


Don’t breathe too easily though, you have your next exam tomorrow.

Firm Spotlight – KPMG


KPMG is a global network of professional firms whom offer a multitude of services including Audit, Tax and Advisory services to ensure their clients obtain the best legal advice to help them grow their business. KPMG operates in 152 countries and have more than 189,000 employees working in member firms all over the world!

KPMG in Australia has 13 offices around the country, 6,700 employees including over 400 partners. Because of KPMG’s expertise in Audit, Tax and Advisory services, they have worked with large, well-known companies to help them solve difficult challenges, steer change and grow. Employees at KPMG aim to provide genuine, sustainable value for each and every client.

Beyond clients, KPMG contributes in multiple voluntary and honorary capacities in order to assist the community in which they work in, with a core focus on reconciliation with Indigenous Australia.  Key values of KPMG include:

  • leading by example and also acting on how they expect of each other and of their clients
  • working together to bring out the best in their team
  • respecting the individual, their knowledge, skills and experience
  • seeking the facts and provide insight
  • challenging assumptions and strengthening KPMG’s reputation as trusted and objective business advisers
  • being open and honest in communication, sharing information, insight and advice
  • managing tough situations with courage and candour
  • being committed to communities, acting as responsible corporate citizens
  • acting with integrity, striving to uphold the highest professional standards, providing sound advice and rigorously maintaining KPMG’s independence.

But for students KPMG offers so much more! A KPMG internship is a wonderful way to learn and grow business skills, build a network and obtain real work experience (so valuable) before gradation!A KPMG internship can even lead to a full time job! Sounds good? You bet! Keep an eye on the DLSS Geelong Facebook Page for the upcoming careers guide on how to apply for clerkships and graduate positions at KPMG! KPMG LOGO


How to study for a closed book exam

Absolutely shocking at remembering case names? Legislation? Get sections mixed up? Same. A closed book exam can make the dread in the bottom of your stomach flare up and induce panic, looking at you admin law. Luckily for you, dear reader, I took Admin law over trimester 3 and can confidently pass on some hints and tips on how to prepare for a closed book exam!

giphy (13).gif


Ok, studying for a closed book exam is completely different to studying for an open book exam. The most VITAL thing is to give yourself plenty of time to memorise key facts, cases and legislation. I’d recommend beginning around week 10 of University. Having enough time to study is absolutely vital because short-term memory can only take in so much information at a time and doesn’t retain it for long at all, thus will be absolutely useless in a closed book exam. Start studying as early as possible. Remember – no notes allowed

giphy (14).gif


Once you know your exam date and have an idea of what’s actually on the exam, make a study timetable!! Your schedule should give you an idea of when you can fit in extra study time, try not to pick up too many extra shifts at work around this time also, the more time you have to study the better. Don’t even try learning an entire subject in two days. It’ll get jumbled together and you’ll end up more confused then where you started. Don’t you dare.

giphy (15).gif


KNOW WHAT IS ON THE EXAM!! Yes that sounds absolutely impossible. BUT! That one topic the entire assignment was on? Probably not on it. Typically, lecturers give hints and tips about what’s on the exam and what’s not. If your lecturer says its’ not on the exam, it’s not. Trust me, lecturers WANT you to pass, be wary of wasting time and memory on things you won’t need unless it’s a fundamental concept you need to understand the other concepts.

Please also keep in mind that with closed book exams you’re not expected to remember everything that was covered in class in the same detail you would if it was open book.

giphy (16)


Now the fun truly begins.

When you start studying, do an hour or two of reading for that subject (with PLENTY of breaks) each day and try and understand each topic before moving onto the next. If you don’t understand the topic, don’t move on until you do, you’re not helping yourself by moving on quicker than you should be. Once you’re fully familiar and comfortable with the material, then you can increase the amount of study your doing as you’ve laid the foundations for further studying.

Start with a detailed set of notes (usually the ones you’ve made are quite long) and read them several times, then edit the absolute bejeezus out of them until they’re at most half their length, read a few more times again. THEN cut them down further and revise again and again and again until it’s just a few pages of headings with case names, sections and legislation listed under them.

You know its time to re-edit notes when you can remember most of the material in them without being prompted. Just keep removing the parts you remember and only leave the things you can’t remember or don’t fully understand yet.  If you can, listen to lecture tapes and do past papers to help you get an idea of how the format of the exam is run, you’ll also realise that they tend to recycle a few questions every year, figure out what may be recycled and you’ll be ahead in your study.

People often say that teaching is the best way of learn. One of the best things I’ve come to use is the ‘teach the dog’ method, if you have a pet (or know someone that does) sit with them and take them through each topic you’re studying. Having to explain something in terms others explain will make it so much easier to learn and you might end up realising you know more than you thought!

Even have a crack at making flash cards, I know they’re simple but they actually work and are pretty nifty to use whilst on public transport, on a break at work, or even flip through a couple before going to an appointment. They’re great for last minute revision or just to nail those few last concepts you can’t quite remember. When preparing flash cards, try to use as few words as possible. This makes your brain work harder. Quiz yourself!

giphy (17).gif


Breath, calm down. If you’ve been studying since week 10 of Uni, chances are you’re good to go and will do well. In the exam you’ll be surprised at how much you actually remembered, start with an easier question if you like and your brain will just keep flowing after that. Don’t panic!

giphy (18).gif

Keeping Calm on Your Way to the Bar

If you’ve been following the DLSS Geelong so far in 2017, you’ll have seen that we’ve launched some Health and Wellbeing events, and are in the process of writing a Health and Wellbeing Guide!

We think it’s super important to have ways to de-stress during study, and not everyone may be aware of the many ways that working out, meditating, stretching, walking can help (both in the immediate future and longer term). It’s really important to find what works for you now, before things get even more intense with clerkships + graduate positions + internships etc. so that you can avoid any future mental breakdowns!

So you’re in the middle of writing an assignment, or studying for a test, and you feel yourself crashing? What’s a better way to unwind and stay mentally fit than chugging eight Vs and knocking back half a block of Cadbury? (Although, please note, sometimes these ARE exactly what you need! But in the meantime…)


Try something new

We’ve had lots of people asking about our upcoming F45 event and if you need to be super fit already to participate. Absolutely not! Anyone is more than welcome to come and give it a try, and you never know, you might find that it’s something you really enjoy and get a buzz from! You won’t know if you don’t try. F45 is the workout routine that Hugh Jackman started prior to his most recent Wolverine movie – so why not try something new and unleash your inner Hugh?! And if you have any injuries, don’t worry, they can change exercises to accommodate your needs.

hugh jackman.gif


Now, pleeeeeease don’t read that word and think we refer to 30 minutes of total silence where you sit cross-legged alone with your thoughts. Meditation can be as simple as 30 seconds, where you simply consider what you’re finding stressful at the time, and try to find a way to get on top of it so that it’s no longer stressful! Or, if you’re interested in really relaxing your mind, try a meditation class! A few places we know that offer these types of classes are The Wellness Studio in Belmont and Ebb & Flow Wellness Studio in Newtown.


Go for a walk with a friend

Ever taken in the Geelong waterfront at dawn? It’s gorgeous! Rope in a friend to come with you, and even if you weren’t planning on it, sometimes having someone by your side can encourage you to open up about what’s on your mind. Talking to someone, perhaps someone who studies the same thing as you or not, can lessen the burden you’ve put on yourself by allowing you to vent about what’s bugging you! Finish off your walk with a coffee and BOOM – you’re ready to take on the day, fresh, energised, and less stressed!


Check out Deakin’s free services

If you are feeling in a really dark, intense place, you can always schedule an appointment with one of Deakin’s professional counsellors. They also have links to online assistance tools. These people offer a confidential form of support, and can even recommend more tools to help you unwind. There’s often a stigma around ‘seeing a therapist’ but this is so unwarranted – there’s nothing wrong with seeking help for even the smallest of issues, and having someone to talk to who wont judge you (because it is literally their profession) can be a very rewarding experience.


We hope this helps you get through the next few weeks (in particular) with final term assignments and exams coming up! Let us know if you have any other ideas on how students can unwind, we’d love to hear what works for you 🙂

If you or someone you know is really struggling with mental health issues, there are a number of online and phone services available, such as Beyond Blue and LifelineLifeline.