7 affirmations to get me to my happy place! By Jelena Dmitrovic

7 affirmations to get me to my happy place! By Jelena Dmitrovic

Jelena Dmitrovic; When I was first asked to write this blog my immediate reaction was to feel worries. This being my first ever blogging experience I thought to myself, “I have no idea how to write a blog!”

Being in my final year of uni (and a tiny way through the gigantic workload that comes with Honours studies), I’ve noticed this sort of self-doubt occasionally creeping into my thoughts about my thesis as well. I’ve found myself thinking, ‘There are so many brilliant specialists and academics in family law! I’m no expert, how am I ever going to contribute something original and meaningful?’

At times like these when I feel a bit unsure about myself I remind myself of these 7 little affirmations to boost my spirits, to regain my positive perspective and return me to my happy place.

7. It is okay to feel like you're not an expert on everything that comes your way.

The reality is, we will always have something to learn from a new situation and someone will always have something to contribute that perhaps you haven’t thought about. Don’t let this make you feel negative about yourself! Instead take this opportunity, and every other opportunity that comes your way, to learn something new and remember you will always have your own unique perspective on things. After all how boring would life be if we all thought the same and already knew everything about everything!

6. Embrace 'the deep end'!

This is easier said than done sometimes, I know this from personal experience. The day before my first day doing reception duties at BFLC I was writing pages and pages of notes on processes, coming up with a detailed plan of how the day would unfold, and I was worrying the whole time that I would mess it all up. In my mind, ultimate preparation was a MUST for that first day. When the day came, I did better than I initially gave myself credit for and it turns out I went a bit overboard with the ultimate preparation. Looking back I think, it’s great that I took the initiative to be as prepared as I possibly could be but, you just don’t have to put this pressure on yourself to have an indestructible step-by-step process for every single situation in life. Sometimes you just have to wing it. The deep end will always be unknown but, with faith in your abilities, it can mean soft rolling waves instead of rough seas.

5. Be kind to yourself on the days when you are struggling to give uni your 100%.

Some days you may find yourself lacking motivation or just feeling like you can’t give uni your 100% and be super productive. I’ve found myself feeling like this plenty of times and in my earlier uni years I remember searching for an explanation and then coming up disappointed when I couldn’t pinpoint the exact roadblock in my productivity. This year I have tried to remind myself that it’s okay to have days that are slower than others. It’s also okay to not have an explanation for these days. I try not to think of these days as unproductive days. Just because you may not have ticked off all of the things on your to-do list that day, doesn’t mean you weren’t productive. Maybe you took the chance to have some down time and to rest, or to catch up with a friend or family member, or to get out into the fresh air and sunshine. If you use days like these to care for your wellness and to remind yourself of your passion for your studies or work, you can count that as a very productive day indeed! 

4. Accept the things you can't change.

I’m sure I speak on behalf of many law students when I say, there will always be something along the way that feels unfair: early classes on a Monday morning, unforgiving deadlines, or back to back exams. Getting frustrated and complaining about this may feel great in the moment and give you temporary relief, but ultimately it sets you into a negative mind frame for the next time such a situation arises. Acknowledging that that’s just the way things are, that there’s probably not much you can do to change things, and doing your best to just get on with the task at hand will set you into a determined frame of mind to overcome that challenge and will greatly contribute to your wellness in the long run. 

3. Celebrate your own little victories inside and outside law land.

My most recent little victory was going fishing for the very first time. Now this may seem silly to some, but for me this was a brand new learning experience entirely unrelated to uni. It gave me the opportunity to be technology-free for a few hours and to really be in the moment, to witness a beautiful sunrise on the beach, and now I have a memory to think back on and keep me happy and motivated when uni gets even more challenging. Make sure you take some time out to create and celebrate your own little victories. 

2. Don't take things so seriously.

The most confronting thing someone has said to me in law land so far is, ‘Jelena you take things too seriously’. Initially I was a little bit taken aback but when I stopped to think about this it really helped me in realising how much pressure I was putting on myself over some pretty simple, and for lack of better expression, easy-going tasks. Since that comment I have tried to take things a little less seriously, not to say that I don’t put due significance and effort into things that require it, but I am definitely trying not to overthink things. It is equally as important to set yourself realistic expectations that you can achieve and be proud of yourself for. 

1. Life is all about doing life well.

These wise words came from someone very close to me at a time when law school was really challenging and I was feeling particularly helpless. I feel like this is the best advice I’ve received along my journey through law land so far and this is now my number 1 mantra when life throws a curveball my way. Take from it what you will and whatever it means to you, but for me it means that  

This is a photo of gorgeous Jelena Dmitrovic

Jelena Dmitrovic 

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hello! I’m Jelena, a final year law student at Griffith University and Law Clerk at Brisbane Family Law Centre! 

My path to law school took some twists and turns and I am grateful for the learnings I have gained along the way: embrace every opportunity that comes your way, even when is seems more like a setback than an opportunity, as nothing is ever wasted. 

Along my journey in law land I have enjoyed pursuing my interest in family law both at university and through volunteering at the FLPA Family Law Residential 2017, attending networking and professional development events, and partaking in work experience programs. 

In November 2017 I had the pleasure of joining the BFLC team and within this unique little firm I have made some great work friends and gained an incredible amount of practical experience in just a short time. 

I anticipate admission in 2019 and until then I look forward to graduating in November 2018, travelling, and of course spending as much time in the outdoors as possible. 


To the Graduating Class of 2018! By Kiarah Grace Kelly

To the Graduating Class of 2018!

Author Kiarah Kelly

The last few weeks of this year have seen the usual Christmas chaos for most of us but for many of the students around us, these weeks have been filled with Graduation ceremonies- those important days when all of that hard university work is finally acknowledged and the next big step in their professional lives is about to begin.  To bring us into Christmas and celebrate all of those of you who have been throwing those graduation hats in the air, Kiarah is back with a wonderful piece that makes for perfect reading for law students, graduates and even the most seasoned of lawyers.


I dedicate this post to all the 2018 Graduates out there, I think you’re amazing. You’ve poured over hundreds of thousands of typed words, stayed up far too late to complete a task only to get to bed and not be able to fall asleep because you were worried the work you did was not enough. Maybe you woke up on too many mornings thinking that your day ahead was too difficult, too full. Maybe you juggled five classes, a part-time job, your families’ expectations, work experience, clerkship applications, maybe a few breakups, definitely some fun times and absolutely a handful of free LSA lunches in exchange for sitting through yet another PLT presentation AND you endured all of this madness all while trying to remember that the footnote needs to go AFTER the full stop (wait, was that just me?). In October of this year I was asked to deliver the Graduating Student Address to the end of year Law Ball at my university. I thought I’d reproduce my speech as a blog post here where you’ll find my anecdotes of my time at law school, a few attempts at humour and me doing by absolute best to do justice to the unbelievable hard work of my fellow 2018 Graduates. I don’t claim to have all the answers, I just simply don’t. In fact, I’m terrified of what lies ahead for me and I need your help with that; I have put together a list of lessons I’ve taken from the interwebs and from those more clever than I, a list of promises that I think we can look back to when we need them, as I fear the hardest parts of our journeys are still ahead.

1- Let's promise to make friends without fear!

There will be times in our career that we will second guess ourselves, where we will fear what we propose to do next, and that’s okay! Remember that every single thought you’ve ever had and ever will have, is founded in biology in some way. Fear is the brains tool used protect us. Fear stopped you when you were climbing trees as a child just at the moment where you were about to climb too high. Fear taps you on the shoulder each time you cross the road, just to remind you to look both ways. Fear isn’t anything to be scared of, I like to think that fear can become a sort of friend who is just trying to look out for you. I guess you also have to know when to tell your fears to step aside, that you’ve got this and that you’re gonna give whatever scary thing happens to be in front of you your best shot.

Which brings me to promise number 2- Let's promise to be kind to ourselves.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. I believe that with everyone buzzing around this crazy world at a million miles an hour, the most important relationship we will ever have is the one we have with ourselves. You’ll never speak to anyone nearly as much as you will speak to yourself, so don’t you dare spend your whole life putting yourself down. 

3- Let's not ever be boring!

Now there were plenty of quotes I found about being different when I consulted the all-knowing Google Image search, but, in keeping things simple I decided to use a quote by Sir Richard Branson; “it is only by being bold that you will ever get anywhere”. And to be honest, I’m going to listen to Sir Rich on this one (I don’t think we should doubt the guy who is responsible for sending people into space, for fun)! No but seriously, there is no greater injustice then you failing to be yourself. I believe that if you for some reason keep a part of yourself from the world, they’re not going to miss it, it’s only yourself that you are cheating, it’s a part of your own life your declining to live. So, don’t be boring!

4- Let's not forget to put out the fishing net.

We’ve all no doubt heard from those our elder that should we make it to the top of our own personal summit that you’ve got to put out the ladder so that you can help someone else get a leg up, too. That way you’ve got someone to celebrate with, yeah? This all-important lesson has been particularly focused around women supporting other women, but I think it’s one all people should try to live by. Author Kristin Ferguson says that in 2018 we’ve got to ditch the ladder and instead use a fishing net. That is, raise as many people as you can up with you on your journey to success, this way you can turn that party of two into a proper shindig and you’ll have a whole lot more people beside you, the more the merrier! I believe if you’ve done the work, no one can take that away from you, let’s ditch the competition. 

Last but not least, promise number 5- Do your best to weather the storms.

In 1999 Baz Lurman reworked into music an essay by advice columnist Mary Schmich and he called it ‘the Suncreen Song’. Schmich urges her readers to remember that most often, worrying is futile as “the real troubles in your life are apt to be things that will blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday”. This simply means the most challenging moments in your life, the moments of tragedy and actual trial, you won’t ever even contemplate, and certainly won’t get a chance to worry about in advance. So, don’t sweat the small stuff.

To all the graduates of 2018 out there, Congratulations! I don’t know about you but the day I got to wear my robes and throw that $80,000 cap in the air, was one of the proudest days of my life. It’s no easy feat but we’re also so incredibly lucky to have access to the gift of a university education. I wish you all the very best, I can not WAIT to watch each and every one of the graduates I know and to those reading this blog post flourish and do amazing things.   

PS: Believe it or not this is my last post on the Student Edition of the Happy Lawyer Happy Life blog. To follow my adventures in lawland further you’ll have to find me on the Lawyers Edition of this fine website (I know, it’s weird for me too!) 


Kiarah Grace Kelly

Kiarah Grace Kelly

Blogger and Happy Lawyer

Hi! I am Kiarah Grace Kelly, I have just finished a dual Bachelors degree in Law and Government and International Relations at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. I tested my legal toes in the water at a boutique Gold Coast law firm before starting as a Law Graduate at Brisbane Family Law Centre in November 2018. I’ve just been admitted here in Queensland which makes me a Brand New Lawyer or #babylawyer as the BFLC gang likes to say. My sole practice area is Family Law.

I’m looking forward to writing about and sharing with you all that I can at this crazy-exciting but daunting stage of my career. I think there’s a need to talk about our experiences as early career lawyers so that we can all lean on each other as much as we can.

I would love to connect with you on Linkedin and Instagram!


An Imposter’s Guide to Dealing with Bad Grades by Samara Wendt

An Imposter’s Guide to Dealing with Bad Grades! 

Author Samara Wendt

Grades- something you spend a lot of time thinking about at school and then at University but something I must say I have not had to consider for almost 20 years now!  And that I think sums up just how unimportant grades will ultimately become in your law life, however we can’t overlook the fact that achieving a certain grade will be necessary to land that degree and possibly that job!  

In this week’s Happy Lawyer Happy Life Blog ‘The Student Edition’ Samara Wendt shares her tips on managing some of the challenges we all have to face when our grades are not perhaps what we hoped.

(And just for the record- no-one ever looked at my GPA once I had my first job, and I must say I can’t remember the last time I asked a job applicant in my firm for theirs either…. ) 


The worst thing about ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is that there is no time of the year where it stops. During the academic semester, mid-semester breaks, waiting for grade release, and possibly the most crippling – grade release. During the semester the hard work you put in to try and prove to yourself that you belong is almost bearable by hoping that you might be alright in the end. But, once those grades are released and it’s not what you had hoped, the imposter thoughts are loud. Very loud. I will be the first to admit that I am no honours student. I thoroughly enjoy studying law and, frankly, I would not change it for the world. So, this is what I do and how I move forward when I don’t get the grades I had truly hoped for.

1. Chill Out!

Yes, I did just tell you to chill out. Yes, I know it’s really hard to do at a time like this but remember you have completed your assessments and there isn’t a lot you can do now. Every semester my stress release after all assessment is handed in is to cry. I just cry. It is not necessarily because I am sad, it is just built up stress being released and afterwards I feel great! If you need to do this, then do it! But, do not sweat on the issue of your grades. Do not work yourself up so much that you go through every emotion either trying to blame yourself or blame someone else for the end results. You will not win. Just chill out. 

2. Reflect on the Semester

While I did say not to work yourself up blaming anything for your bad grades, it is okay to reflect and consider events in your life that may have impacted your grades. Life does not stop just because you have a 2000 word research assignment due on Thursday, AND THEN a mid-semester multiple choice quiz 8:30am the following morning. Last year, I was in a job that was not working for me. While I wanted so badly to overcome the difficulties and do well, I needed to realise I had done all I could to make the job work and needed to just move on. This was an incredibly stressful and emotional time for me while trying to succeed in 4 university subjects with 3 group assignments. Needless to say, I did not get the high distinctions I wanted. I took time to consider the self-growth and character building I made during that time. Because there was a significant amount of both, and they are both achievements in themselves! I looked at the bigger picture as well, having character and life experience will also make me a better lawyer, not just having high distinctions. 

I am a firm believer there is also something to learn from every situation. Maybe you took on more hours in your job and it reflected in having less study time. You either learnt to make more hours in your day by sacrificing other activities, or you learnt that you need to either sacrifice some work hours or cut back on units next semester to manage the load. It is no loss either way because you learnt something. 

Also, reflect on what you have learnt in the unit; I guarantee you did learn something. Not all topics within a unit are equally assessed, so you need to acknowledge what you have learnt in the unit not just what was assessed. 

3. Consider Your Options

As far as I am aware, most universities allow grade reviews. If you truly feel that your grades could be looked over again, you can choose to do this. But, remember that in a grade review it is possible your grade could go down further. This is usually reiterated by unit coordinators in emails throughout the semester, as they continuously advise students to sit on their grades for a few days before applying for a review. Pretty much – chill out and come back to it. Allow time for your emotions to settle and your mind to level, before re-reading your assessment or viewing your exam, and the feedback provided. Try to do this as open minded and un-bias as possible. 

What if you failed the entire unit? Despite how you may be feeling, the sky will not fall down, and the sun will rise tomorrow. You do not have to believe me, but I have a feeling I am right about those things. It is not ideal and was not in your course study plan to fail a unit, but it has happened, and you cannot ignore it. Follow the steps above and take some time to process your result. Depending on your university/institution policies, your options moving forward may include re-sitting an exam, or you may need to re-sit the entire unit. Either way you are not the first person in that position and you will not be the last. Use the extra time on the unit to focus on the topics you fell down in, while also, revising and growing the knowledge you retained. Think of the character building and life experience!

End of semester grade release is a rough time for everyone not only ‘Imposter Syndrome’ sufferers. When you do not receive the grades you had hoped, take the steps above. But most importantly remember your unit grades are not a reflection of you personally and you should not let them define you personally. 

Good luck for your end of semester grade release! Connect with me on Instagram and Linkedin. I would love to hear how your academic semester and year have gone!

Samara Wendt

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hi! My name is Samara and I am an over opinionated, awkward and Imposter Syndrome suffering Law and Psychology student at the Queensland University of Technology. I never had that light-bulb moment when choosing to study law. I am not sure if many people so. But after witnessing injustice and suffering of those vulnerable in our world, I became determined to help. This is where going into law made sense for me. 

Despite believing in my purpose, I openly feel the dreaded law school Imposter Syndrome. You know, when you feel like everyone else has got ‘it’ together and you don’t even know what day it is. This year I became determined to embrace this clueless feeling by moving out of comfort zone. This included entering an Instagram competition with The Happy Family Lawyer which led me here! 

Here I am blogging about all things law school, student life and comfort zones in hopes to find fellow Imposter Syndrome suffers. 

Join the journey here on The Happy Law Student Blog and connect with me on Instagram and Linkedin


Why a Designer and a Lawyer are a match made in heaven! By Designer Sarah Follent

Why a Designer and a Lawyer are a match made in heaven!

Author Sarah Follent

I wholeheartedly believe that the collaboration (and relationship) of Designers and Lawyers is on the rise and here is why!

Other than the obvious benefits of bringing colour and life into the mostly black, white and grey legal industry, there is so much value in finding your designer counterpart. Whether it be co-creating simple and consumable legal documents for those who find themselves seeking legal services or bringing colour to your personal brand, a designer can help set you apart.

You might be wondering “what would a designer know about legal stuff? Surely there are much more interesting jobs a designer could be working on…” 

Let me take you on a trip down memory lane.

Simply put, I am Sarah, fun, vibrant and colourful. I have an effervescent love of life, colour and energy which is reflected in all I do. I am a designer, baker and co-creator. I completed a Bachelor in Design (Interior) in 2013, in over 5 years experience in many design roles (and all-sorts), I have developed a multi- faceted and distinctive understanding of design across the board. I enjoy the interlacing that design and life experiences bring and how these bring opportunities of evolving design to a beautiful expression. And now for the fun part…. 

I met the trailblazing lawyer Clarissa Rayward in 2012 through my friend and at the time “housemate” Freya Gardon. Clarissa was on the hunt for new staff for her cafe Ma Belle Amie in Albion, Brisbane. I remember getting the heads up from Freya for my interview with Clarissa “she is like no-other lawyer, wear something colourful and just be you.” At that time little did I know what a fruitful constellation this meeting would be! Naturally I got the job and worked in the cafe for 3 years whilst finishing my studies. I eventually left work at the cafe to explore a role in Interior Design however I was never far. Fast forward a year and I was back with Clarissa, Ollie and London. (There is much more of a story here but I won’t waffle on anymore.)  

And so, today you will find me designing and co-creating alongside my friend (and boss) Clarissa Rayward on all things Happy Lawyer Happy Life, The Happy Family Lawyer, Brisbane Family Law Centre & our soon to launch project Amicably. Clarissa has graciously allowed and supported me to develop a specialised expertise in (and fondness for) brand development, identity, strategy and digital design execution.

So back to the chase. Here are my 3 key reasons why a designer and a lawyer are a match made in heaven and why I think you should go out and explore this relationship too.

1. Co-creating simple and consumable legal documents

First and foremost, designers allow the work of a lawyer to evolve into attractive consumable legal or non-legal documents and outcomes. How people consume and find service based industries is forever changing. Therefore it is essential that your legal firm evolves too! The way you curate and convey your work and business messaging must at the end of the day resonate with those “humans” who will ultimately need and use your services. A designer is able to help create alluring visual solutions, map out, cut out and co-create with you the “actual” words, documents and messaging your firm may need to stay ahead of the game in “law land!” 

Inject joy where-ever you can. It truly has a ripple effect!

2. Shifting focus to creating and not the result

Easier said than done, I know! However, designers will guide you in introducing concepts like play into a design task and force you to take things outside “the box!” Something I always come back to is when I am inspired by something or get an idea from something I’ve seen I like to spend another 30 hours on it. Giving something space to evolve is the beauty in any design process or creation. 

3. Guide and support your brand's "tone of voice"- aka the language and words you want to use to convey your message

Lawyer talk is hard to wrap your head around when you are removed from “Law Land.” It has taken me 4 years, much eaves dropping and approx. 6  of Clarissa’s Collaborative Practice Training Workshops to understand what and why anyone would need a consent order or some such. So having someone in your firm and on your team that needs things explained like a million times is useful to see what language can and cannot stay. Non-lawyers, like myself need simple, honest and straight to the point dialogue. No amount of Acts, heavy binned papers or legal terms will help me or your clients understand the law. So give it a whirl!

Working and supporting the wonderful lawyers running firms, in house lawyers, corporate counsel, senior associates, and even Barristers in “The Club” –  such as the likes of Megan Sweetlove (I just had to drop that name in there just for the pure fact that there is a Family Lawyer with the name “Sweetlove”, it’s just amazing!) has allowed me to see (and understand) the great potential the collaboration of a lawyer and a designer can bring to the legal services industry. Back track 5 years ago my Interior Designer self would have never dreamed of being a designer co-creating alongside a trailblazing lawyer like Clarissa but here I am today and it is a dream come true. I even get to practise my Interior Design skills at time thanks to the creative, colourful, craziness that is Clarissa Rayward and her many projects! 

So in a wrap… Inject joy into the profession with colour, words, changing the way we are with one another and welcome the idea of collaborating with a designer today!

Sarah Follent

Sarah Follent

Design & Creative Director | Co-Creator Baker | Blogger | Event Co-ordinator 

Hello! I am Sarah a fun, vibrant and colourful woman. I have an effervescent love of life, colour and energy which is reflected in all I do. I am a designer, baker and co-creator. 

It is actually really hard for me to put into words what I do each day (many will agree) but I will give it a crack.

I currently work in a number of different capacities, relying on my skills in creativity and innovation as well as my experience in coordination and business to be as versatile and adaptable as possible.

Most days you will find me designing and co-creating alongside my friend (and boss) Clarissa Rayward on all things Happy Lawyer Happy LifeThe Happy Family LawyerBrisbane Family Law Centre & our soon to launch project Amicably. On other occasions you will find me caring and playing with my little soul sisters London and Daisy, baking loving, healthy, yummy and vibrant food at Baked Livingness or organising and coordinating events at Happiness Hub

Let’s be friends! I would love to connect with you on Linkedin and Instagram!

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Daring and Disruptive Workshop, with Lisa Messenger!

Daring and Disruptive with Lisa Messenger

Author Rachael Hempling

This week my colleague and friend Rachael Hempling, Barrister and Mediator shares her reflections after the two of us had the opportunity to spend a day with the ever amazing entrepreneur Lisa Messenger. I have followed Lisa for a number of years now and have learnt a lot from her approach to business and the chance to hang out with her for a full day earlier this year provided much inspiration for the business year ahead. You might think what could lawyers learn from a magazine publisher but let me tell you we learnt a lot that day as Rachael shares below. 


Last Month I attended the most inspirational and mind blowing day at the ‘Daring and Disruptive Workshop’, with Lisa Messenger, the founding genius behind the “Collective Hub.” Lisa is unapologetically raw and honest about her journey, yet manages to flip everything around to a positive even when talking the challenges and heartbreaking moments’ that she has faced. 

Attending her workshop was an absolute game changer for me. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as I prepare to pave a new path. She unapologetically challenged me to reflect where I am, yet inspired me to forge forward into the brave new world of entrepreneurship and innovation. 

So with my mind still buzzing with ideas, I thought I’d share my 5 top takeaways with you, as they were so powerful and incredibly thought provoking.  

1. Build like-minded non-competing relationships and networks.

You are likely to have a very similar client base, but are not in direct competition for the goods or services you are providing. For example, if you are a small boutique law firm specialising in conveyancing, you might want to partner or build relationships with a local boutique real estate agent. You are likely to be more aligned from an ethos point of view rather than targeting the larger nationwide agents where there may be referral policies in place. 

2. Stop seeking validation from external parties.

‘Haters gonna hate’, but you don’t need to listen to them. Be bold, be brave and have the confidence to believe in what you are doing or creating. There will always be people saying, ‘that won’t work’ or ‘that’s a bad idea’. Don’t listen to those nay-sayers and flip that negative energy around. Grow and be comfortable in the knowledge that these are not your people!

3. Incentivise your staff.

All of Lisa’s staff now have ‘skin in the game’. The more they sell, book or produce the more financial reward they receive. It makes sense, right? Your staff help you grow and expand your business in exchange for maximising their pay packets. Win win! It also has the added benefit of assisting you scale up or scale down and as the market shifts and changes. 

4. When building networks & partnerships think about a 'value-added exchange'.

So don’t approach people, influencers or potential partners with the notion of ‘what can you do for me’, as it won’t be conducive to opening a line of conversation or developing a working relationship. Think of what you might be able to add to their business in exchange for what they add to yours. For example, you could offer to showcase that Boutique Real Estate Agent in your latest blog in order to open up a line of conversation about referrals.

5. Take off the "Busy Badge"!

Most of us go through life being overwhelmed and telling people how ‘busy we are’. Wearing it like a badge of honour. Take it off, slow down and learn to rest, be still and breathe. Some people can continue running at an exhausting pace, but it can and does catch up with you. So do the work you love, but learn to schedule time out to rest as well. You are your greatest resource so be kind to yourself.

This is an image of Rachael Hempling

Rachael Hempling

Barrister-at-Law | Nationally Accredited Mediator | Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner

Rachael Hempling is a barrister and mediator from French Quarter Chamber on the Gold Coast. She is a proud member of the “Happy Lawyer Happy Life Club” and is soon to release her first digital course, ‘The Online Family Separation Course’.


Surviving Exam Block! By Hannah Trotter

Surviving Exam Block

Author Hannah Trotter

Exam time!  It must be because the ground around my house is a beautiful shade of mauve thanks to the falling Jacaranda blossoms!  I never much liked Jacaranda’s when I was at uni but these days I love them!  However for all of you lovely law students out there I suspect you are head down, books open right now and this week fellow ‘soon to be lawyer’, Hannah Trotter is sharing her tips on how to survive your exam block!


It’s October! It couldn’t possibly be but, it is! I know this because Brisbane’s weather has turned a bizarre mixture of rainy and sweaty, Christmas decorations are dazzling the shelves of department stores and my Instagram is filled with people designing and creating Halloween costumes.  Most importantly for university students everywhere, it’s exam time!  That’s right folks, time to pull up a cubicle in the library, print out those lecture slides and organise a tab with your universities’ below average coffee cart. Talk about the silly season!

If you’re anything like me, you are in the throes of submitting final assessments, catching up on classes you didn’t realised you’d missed and feeling that strange numbing sensation that occurs as exam block looms closer. Have no fear friends, for I have gallantly volunteered to spend a few moments procrastinating from my studies to share with you my tips and tricks for surviving exams. 

1. Don't Wait For SWOTVAC

It seems obvious but, if you’re anything like me, you’re repeating my go-to mantra of “there’s time! You’ve got a whole week without classes to prepare! You’re on top of this!” It doesn’t matter how organised and brilliant you think your notes are, if you’re binging the latest season of the Good Place on Netflix, you’re not preparing yourself for exam period! 

2. Organise Your Food Situation!

I am the queen of thinking first about the study, second about the pressure and, with whatever time and energy is left, remembering my well-being. Exam time can easily become a rush of craziness in which your local Uber Eats courier becomes your best friend. This won’t help your brain, your bank balance or your physical health. Set aside some time each week to prepare good nutritious food that will sustain you through copious hours of study and stress. I steal recipes from my friend Sarah at Baked Livingness to get me by! Side note: You can download Sarah’s free mini e-book here – I’m not sponsored, she’s just amazing! 

3. Stretch Those Legs!

I study the way I snooze my alarm. I sit down and when I open my eyes to the world again, hours have passed and I haven’t read nearly enough content. I’ve found the best way to retain information is to take it for a spin- literally. I pick up my notes and we go for a walk. Sometimes it’s pacing throughout the house- other times I wander around my street. Yes, I look like a crazy person honing their orienteering skills like 4th year students on excursion but, I find my brain works best when I’m up out of my chair and moving about.

4. Tell Your Friends You're Busy!

This year is ending and social calendars are filling up. You don’t want to seem like that student who doesn’t see the outdoors between the months of September and November but, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. It’s best to get ahead of these things so, shoot your comrades a text and let them know you love them but you’ll be ignoring them for the foreseeable future. Adios amigos!

5. Inhale and Exhale

Exams are stressful but before you know it, they’re over. It is okay to take a minute, re-evaluate all your life decisions and career aspirations and just breathe. The reality is, by the time next semester rolls around, you will have forgotten half of the content you crammed and be way less concerned about the immense pressure you felt this semester. Priority number one this exam season is to take a step back, check in on yourself and know that, no matter what, it’s going to be okay. 

It’s taken three years of struggling through exam season to come to these embarrassingly simple strategies. You probably have your own and think mine are insane but, each to their own! There is however, one universal tip I think we can all agree on. Over the next few weeks, campuses across Australia will be overflowing with nervous energy, stress and crippling fear of what’s to come. Above all, be kind to one another. Buy that terrified first year a Flat White. Smile at the second year who looks like they’re about to drop out. We will all be better off for it!  

Happy studying

Hannah Trotter

Hannah Trotter

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hi there! I’m Hannah and I am a law student currently in my third year at Queensland University of Technology. I graduated high-school in 2014 completely clueless about who I was, what I wanted and how I intended to get there. To many people’s surprise (including my own) I moved from my family farm on the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane to start my law degree in 2016.

Following my first year I commenced work as the Receptionist at Brisbane Family Law Centre. Having worked with this amazing team for nearly 2 years, I have been given a learning opportunity that goes beyond lectures and tutorials by providing a practical experience of the world of Law. My experience as part of the BFLC team has taught me that a Law career does not have to fit into a traditional box which has ignited a new passion for my studies as well as my future career in the legal profession.

In the meantime, I’ll stick to writing musicals, drinking coffee and playing board games.

I would love to connect with you on Linkedin and Instagram!