Affirmation

by Jinryu

We handed in a midsemester Public Law paper today, and right after having handed it in, the prof went over the strategies that we should have used on them. This paper isn’t for grades, it’s a 0% practice exam. But regardless, it felt pretty good that what the teacher was saying aligned more or less with what I had on my paper.

It’s true that there are a lot of talented people out there who are good at all sorts of things. I don’t think I’m one of them. Nor am I some sort of genius of hard work– I hate hard work. But I guess I know the basic formula of how effort converts to results.

I heard a couple of my classmates talking about the Foundations of Law exercise. I don’t want to be a snob, but I kinda avoided the question subtely when they were asking about what eachothers’ grades were. Apparently, they didn’t do so great– the funny thing was, they admit that they didn’t try to hard, yet they were kinda disappointed they didn’t do better. Is that the formula? Wishing for the results?

I went to kickboxing after school today and I partnered up with one of the beginners. I think I felt that maybe I could have some positive influence on him or something, but all in all, it was mostly a waste of my time– not only wasn’t he putting much energy into his work, but when he was holding the pads for me, I had to hold back because he wasn’t good at it. I think I’m pretty good, actually, at doing some basic fight instruction, so I don’t think it’s me– I just thought he had a really dismissive attitude of any useful criticism I gave that could make the practice session more fruitful for both of us. At some point, he told me that “wow, your kicks are really heavy! I wish I was as strong as you.”

And that’s probably what pisses me off the most about the day… this whole business of wishing.

Some people just wait for stars to fall out of the sky. That’s the problem. I don’t kick particularly hard compared the the rest of the seniors in the club– in fact, of the more experienced bunch, like [Regan] and [Shinji], I think I’m outclassed in terms of raw DPS. Of course, compared to a beginner, it’ll seem like I kick hard.

But that’s not the point. What separates a beginner from a fighter is the acceptance of responsibility. Fighters don’t wish for results. They train for them. They have a slice of humble pie when they get beaten down, and they eat it all up, every last crumb, and they use it as fuel for the next time. Then maybe next time they’ll serve.

Being in law school has taught me a lot about group work in particular. During my undergrad, I was too caught up in being annoyed with the whole process– now I’m learning to just manage the situations. If people aren’t willing to take responsibility, I won’t leave my mark in their hands– at the very least, I will take responsibility for the mark I receive, even if it means whipping the whole group into shape. It’s a skill I’m gradually developing I think… it’s not babying them. But it’s using people as tools until people step up and act like something bigger than pawns.

I think a lot of life is like that– you fall behind if you don’t step up. You’ll always be someone’s patsy, someone’s gopher, someone’s punching bag, until through some assertion of your willpower, through some assumption of responsibility for your own fate comes through.

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