Thursday, 12 September 2019

Your Survival Kit for Articling

Solution-Focused Thinking

From day one, many of us feel pressure when we begin articling to be perfect: to produce perfect work and to never make a mistake. I quickly learned that this standard is not attainable for a new articling student.

"Articling is a learning process that provides us with
10 months to learn, experiment, and improve."


As long as we are improving, we are achieving what we set out to do. When you mess up, don’t dwell on it or engage in negative self-talk. Ask yourself how you can avoid making that mistake next time, and put your plan in action. Being imperfect is not something to worry about, failing to learn from our mistakes is.

A Nearby Gym or Studio

Without our health, we have nothing. When we are sitting long hours, we end up with sore and stiff necks and backs. For this reason, it is so important to stay active during articling. Find a gym or studio (spinning, yoga, etc.) near your firm that you can walk to with little effort. Work it in to your schedule either before work, at lunch, or in the evening. Working late? Leave for an hour to go work out or do a class. You’ll feel so much more focused and fresher when you return.

A Workstation that “Sparks Joy”

If you have a type A personality, like so many lawyers and aspiring lawyers do, make your desk a place that “sparks joy”, as Marie Kondo teaches. Even after a long day, take a few minutes before you leave to put things away, throw things out, and get organized for tomorrow. That way you can start the next day fresh. If you have space, bring in a plant or family photo. Make your desk somewhere you like to be.

A Good Set of Headphones

Long work hours turn in to longer work hours when you are easily distracted. Most of us have student debt to pay off, but I still recommend investing in a good set of headphones and a Spotify account. Your investment will pay off in your work-life balance and general mental-health.

A Friend

Articling can be a stressful time. If you are lucky enough to find a friend in a fellow student at your firm, you can be each other’s greatest resource. Ask each other questions, confide in each other about your concerns, and help each other achieve your goals. It will be that much more rewarding when you cross the finish line together.