Wednesday, 24 August 2011


May? That really is embarrassing.

Law school is slowly doing my head in. Actually, the process accelerates exponentially. To think when I began I was so naively self-assured, utterly dough-faced. It was challenging, but in a good, motivating way. Now, I simply over-think; I think. I still enjoy the law - the more I learn the more interesting it becomes, and the more confident I feel about the whole thing.

Sadly, the flip-side to all this the darker side of it all. A hyper-competitive streak appears from nowhere, destroying my generally ethical composition and sending me into a panicked mess. Mind you, that could simply be because I foolishly signed up to the Junior Moot. An excellent opportunity to practice advocacy skills, before studying Advocacy. Excellent indeed, until the problem question arrives. Having idiotically got through to the second round, I have a one in eight chance of winning in the end. Do I really want to win though? I've got this far, have I not depressed myself enough? Of course I want to win, I've got this far! And I've just learned that every finalist receives some sort of prize. I simply must get into the finals. The problem is, they drain so much time and attention from actual assessments. One of which I ought to be doing now, I have to deliver a monologue from Trainspotting. There's a particularly mature-age student who also has to do one, I am eagerly anticipating the amount of times she has to say the F word. It literally is every other word in the soliloquy.

Despite my complaints, it's all really not too bad. I am volunteering as a court welfare officer for Legal Aid (there is a compulsory service component to my degree), which I have to fit around uni and work. I don't understand how some people "have it all." Are they lying? Do they sleep? Are they happy? Are they real? I seem to be real enough, but that was before I studied philosophy (also compulsory). Now I have no idea. There are so many conflicting messages. Living for the moment is a wonderful adage, but it is entirely incompatible with law school. Or any school, for that matter. Work-life balance is hilarious oxymoronic HR speak that means absolutely nothing. Work-life imbalance would be somewhat closer, but it still leaves the impression that a life exists in the true sense.

This is why it is so important to make good use of holidays, for the purpose of disconnecting with reality. In July I managed to escape to Tasmania. Ironic considering it's long history as a penal settlement. It is just so beautiful, it reminded me of home in many ways. Green, rolling hills, pretty buildings, eccentric population. But it has a crispness to it, a sharpness of colour and light. Almost alpine at times, with snow-capped mountains, albeit mini-versions. The food was perfect. The history was fascinating, and at times a little too close for comfort. Our final night in Hobart was, after a lovely dinner, spent on a ghost tour of the Penitentiary Chapel. Converted into court rooms, and the place where convicted criminals were hanged, the place was chilling, or rather even more chilling on top of a bitter night. As lamp-bearer, I bravely led or was at the rear of the group, which of course made me feel wonderfully brave and important, albeit quite vulnerable. After some very interesting tales, we returned via a tunnel to finish the tour. I led. The guide told his final stories and we were about to leave. All of a sudden *CHING*. As if a coin or a chain had dropped to the cement floor. Hastily a torch was thrust into my hand, and I shone frantically, searching for the source of the sound. Nothing, of course. By this point, our small group was more than spooked and we desperately clambered out of the tunnel. While thrilled to have potentially encountered a 'something else' down there, I can't help but feel thoroughly unnerved to have led the group, and been quite distant from them at some points, while that something else was there. Was it watching me, was it aware that I was there? Amazing how important light is: a weapon, a shield, a beacon, sustenance, hope.

Anyway, how are all of you?



  1. Hello from Boston, dear LW.

    Aren't holidays reality, too? Are you looking at your calendar and marking free days?

    Good luck with demanding work at law school. You must be meeting many types. O, those types.

  2. I love reading your posts. Really glad to hear you're studying Law. Think you'll be an asset to the field. The irony of your visiting a penal settlement almost made me blurt out with laughter. I've been painting instead of writing. Sorry for checking on your blog seven months late--see, you aren't the only one who's remiss! :)