Succeeding in Your First Year as a LA Student

Hi, and welcome to the Legal Assistant program! Whether you’re a seasoned student or you’re fresh out of high school, you’ll find the LA program challenging, rewarding, and fun.

While you start prepping for the year ahead, I’ve put together a few tips and some advice to help ease the way into the new school year. Some of this may be old hat to returning or transfer students, but it never hurts to go back to the basics. For new students, hopefully a few of these tips will come in handy and help you feel prepared for the year ahead!

  1. Do your keyboarding homework. Trust me. It’s not fun and you’ll probably cry a few stress-tears onto your keys, but it’s worth every keystroke. Do the homework, do the assignments, and do them on time. You can’t get those marks back later! And the practice will help you in every other course. Believe me. It’s only for the next four months, then you’re done!
  1. Plan and manage your time effectively. I know, I know, that what they all say. But it’s true, it helps! Keep a calendar or notebook handy and write everything down. Having a clear picture of the weeks and months ahead will help ease your stress and avoid last-minute panics. This is also good practice for when you’ll be keeping a schedule for the lawyer you work for. Believe it or not, there is enough time in the day to get everything done, as long as you plan ahead!
  1. Do all the assignments. I know this sounds pretty basic, but when you get to the end of November and all you can think about stressing for exams and packing for your ski trip over winter break but you’ve got that 3% assignment waiting for you at home, it becomes very tempting to let it slide. Don’t! Take the time and do the work. Every percentage point is worth it. You’ll thank yourself in January when final grades are released and that assignment made the difference between a 3.9 and a 4.0 GPA.
  1. Get to know your instructors. The classes are small in the LA program, so making a good impression on your instructors will have an impact on your practicum placement options and references when you’re out on the job. Your instructors are human too, and they want what’s best for you. Show up to class and participate actively. If you feel yourself becoming completely overwhelmed, go talk to them. They want you to succeed!
  1. Find a solid study group. The stakes are higher here than in high school, and your friend group will rub off on you (do I sound enough like your mom yet?). Find some solid friends who can help and encourage you. Your GPA will follow you forever. SAIT has lots of transfer options, but many universities expect higher grades from students transferring in from college-like institutions. Plus, a higher GPA will get you better internship options, which will help further your career. 
  1. To follow points 2. and 4. above, don’t forget to plan time for fun and relaxation. Don’t overwork yourself; by the end of September, you’ll need a physical and mental break. Go for a hike, spend time with family and friends, or join the LAS for an event or two! The Odyssey cafe on campus has board games available – pop in and sit down for a break between classes. SAIT offers many recreation courses, from Barre to Kickboxing to HIIT group classes, and some of them are included in your tuition. Kensington (Sunnyside Station, one train stop south of SAIT) has great shops, paths, and cafes. Don’t let the stress pile up until you feel like you’re drowning. You can prevent major mid-semester breakdowns by giving yourself room to breathe and knowing when it’s time for a break. SAIT offers several workshops throughout the first few weeks of the semester to help you manage your life, both academically and personally. You have lots of support and resources to help you have a healthy, fun, and rewarding time in the LA program!

Orientation is August 28, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. Your instructors and LAS executives will be there to meet you, answer questions, and kick off the 2019-2020 school year. See you there!

Maggie Wells

VP, Legal Assistant Society

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