R U OK? Tips for looking after yourself at law school

A collage of images featuring Dr Faith Gordon, Varshini Viswanath, Epi Terbio's dinner and an outdoor view.

Today is R U OK? Day - a day that reminds us to ask our friends, family, colleagues, and loved ones if they are really 'OK'. We asked the ANU College of Law community what they have been doing to stay 'OK'.

Varshini Viswanath (she/her)

Bachelor of Laws (Hons)

“Having been through lockdown AND quarantine, I have had to develop some habits and wellbeing activities to keep myself sane during these bizarre times.

Other than obsessively watching the daily ACT press conference on COVID-19 for the political drama around vaccinations and for Dr Kerryn Coleman’s scrunchies, I have immersed myself in a healthy eating project: I've been watching Netflix to distract myself when I eat my greens, and enjoying the sun on our little balcony. I am also taking a break from social media like Instagram this lockdown.

While the news has replaced Instagram, and my Netflix consumption has only increased, I have found other forms of entertainment: annoying my housemates! Most nights, we end up congregating in my room and laughing about the most useless things. I believe that maintaining a social life online or in person is so important if we are fortunate enough to have good company around!”

Dr Faith Gordon (she/her)

Senior lecturer 

“I'm a senior lecturer at the ANU College of Law. My research focuses on children's rights, children's and young people's experiences of the criminal justice system, and digital and emerging technologies.

I'm originally from Annaclone, rural County Down, and I absolutely love the outdoors. Experts say outdoor exercise and nature can be extremely beneficial for our mental health, physical health and overall well-being. I have been enjoying the first signs of springtime (it is my first spring here) and love seeing the blossom and wattle when out exercising in Canberra.

During rainy days I have been reading, making some new home-cooked meals (some have turned out more tasty than others...) and using technology to keep connected with family and friends.

I have especially enjoyed the catch-ups with students, who are studying under such unusual world circumstances, yet are doing an amazing job and are so wonderfully thoughtful to also check in how their lecturers are!

Mental health has always been a feature in the research I have been involved in, including how institutions and environments, such as prisons and detention, can negatively impact on the mental health of children and young people. My work has also involved identifying and in many ways challenging how the media choose to report on self-harm and suicide.

I recently led the ANU College of Law's involvement in an event on young people and mental health in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. I was honoured to speak alongside the Deputy Commissioner of the Mental Health Commission of NSW and an inspiring youth advocate. This event highlighted how mental health is a shadow pandemic and needs to be urgently addressed.”

Epi Terbio (he/him)

Juris Doctor

“Asking family and friends if they are doing ok in this difficult time can be difficult if we ourselves are not feeling ok. It is important that we also take steps to ensure we are ok! My name is Epi, and I am currently in my third year of my ANU Juris Doctor.

Law school is undoubtedly stressful, especially if you have other competing priorities. To stay ok, I do my own version of ‘Netflix and Chill’. I usually make a dish I have been planning to cook and watch a movie or a series on Netflix while enjoying a warm meal.

Recently, I tried to recreate a Japanese curry dish that I used to have for lunch (for less than AUD 1 per serving!) back in my old uni during my undergraduate years. I cooked it up (with plenty of pointers from a block mate) and paired it with Silvanas (a frozen cookie that is the Filipino version of Sans Rival) from my sister for dessert. Chowing it down while watching ‘World War II in Colour’ or ‘S.W.A.T’ is just a treat and guaranteed to decompress the mind!”

Isabel Marsh (she/her)

Bachelor of International Relations/Laws (Hons)

"I'm a final-year Bachelor of International Relations/Laws (Hons) study, and I am currently based in Canberra. Having experienced lockdown in Melbourne last year, I’ve already had the opportunity to refine some of my most niche lockdown hobbies.

I explored woodworking, knitting, abstract painting and the world of YouTube home workout dance classes. I also, like so many others, decided to take up the subtle art of baking to fill the time in between classes and zoom catch-ups. Except, I skipped straight past the banana bread and chocolate chip cookies and landed on a French pastry classic: the croissant!

Making, shaping, and baking this moon-shaped morsel of butter has been my way of looking after my mental health at the moment. Although it’s a three-day process to make croissants from scratch, there is also something very relaxing about the precise and repetitive process of laminating layers and layers of pure butter and dough. But most of all, I’ve really enjoyed eating them and so have my housemates!"

Remember It's OK to not be OK. There are a number of support services available to staff, students, and the wider community that are free and confidential. See here to find the one that works for you.

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team