dal niente

Month: October, 2011

Two Down, Three to Go

Did the Contracts exam today. It went pretty well. I think it’s pretty hard to get a High Distinction grade in this class, but that’s what I’m hoping for with what I wrote… I guess it’ll depend on what others wrote and how well they did it. That’s what I’m aiming for anyway. I expect at least a distinction grade for what I wrote down though.

That means that Foundations of Law and Contracts are both done. It wasn’t until I got home from the exam that I realized how tired I was. [CM] had a bit of a headache, so we both went to bed just to lie down and rest a bit, and before I knew it, I was unconscious– passed out for a couple of hours I think. I guess the past few days, things have been pretty non-stop in terms of studying.

It paid off though. I was, to be honest, pretty worried that I’d totally screw up on this exam, because I’ve always hated exams in the past. There’s also the fact that I haven’t written any exams in about 6 years or so, so I’m out of practice to that kind of stress… but all the preparations that I did made it worth it. I did 3 practice exams over the past week, I went through all of the notes for the semester– I remember the voice of Mrs. Hunter, the director of my high school band, very clearly telling us “the concert should seem easy compared to the practice you should be doing.”

It’s funny how little bits of wisdom stick I guess. Another bit was from my Contracts instructor– “You can read other peoples notes, yes, you can read summaries, but unless you try and fail at reading them yourself first you’re never really going to understand anything useful.”

Well, I feel much better now that I’ve done and written the contracts exam, and I feel like I did pretty well. I’ve got one assignment, one take home exam, and two more in-person exams left though. Just need to keep it up.

So. Tired.

Action Points

I’m pretty tired today. I think, on the plus side, that I’m all set for my Contracts exam tomorrow though. People seem to be panicking a lot on Facebook about it, but I feel strangely serene about everything. Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing my homework or something, but I’m simply not worried.

Volunteer Work

Tonight, I volunteered for something like 5 hours at a community legal centre. That was a remarkable experience.

My work there wasn’t to advise them, but I was to assist a solicitor in gathering the facts of each client’s case. I conducted the interviews on my own, and prepared a quasi-brief summary thinger for the solicitors I was working with. I’d explain what was going on, they’d evaluate the information, and come up with a plan of action for the client.

I can’t really reveal the details of any of the cases due to confidentiality, but there are a few things that I noticed, that I thought were worth mentioning. The first is that clients who come to a community legal centre are scared. They tend to be people who don’t know their rights, and they tend to be scared. Even when they think they’re right, they’re scared that proving it is going to cost them a great deal of money, which necessarily true. Plus, one can get a great deal of satisfaction even if it’s not some high profile murder or ginormous corporate scandal– I felt that in the brief time that I worked with the clients there, I’d really done something important and meaningful.

Perhaps working at the hospital jaded me somewhat. But it was a nice feeling to have, and it reminded me of working in a public library and lasalle. I guess the thing is, there’s something about publicly funded hospitals that gives people this feeling that you owe them something. At the library, and, at the community legal centre, I felt the opposite– the people were just timidly asking what could be done, but they had no idea what they were entitled to. It’s a different kind of work for the public good.

I guess, in some strange way, working with lawyers made me feel that I’d made more of a difference than when I worked at a hospital.

…or maybe I’m just ego tripping or something… maybe I just feed off of desperation? Maybe it’s because clients in a legal situation are so much more grateful than patients. Maybe I’m just jaded.

I Needed That

I won a game of baduk this morning while [CM] was still asleep. I really needed that– I was on a 15 game losing streak until then. FIFTEEN. Now that I’ve got some foothold back, I can finally just get to studying for exams.


So, in the last two weeks, I won two elections: you’re looking at the new JD Student Representative on the UNSW Faculty Board, as well as the president of the Go/Baduk/Weiqi Club. I’ve got big plans for the baduk club– however, I have no clue how to do the student rep job. Well, I guess time will tell! I’ll eventually find out just how things work because by January, I’ll be plunged headfirst into things.

Yesterday was the last day of classes for the first semester. It’s been a very interesting experience– I feel as if I’m making up for lost time or something. I did all the goofing off when I was in CEGEP and during my undergrad, so I never really got into the whole thing of working hard and scrimping and saving for grades in class. Now, I’m doing just that. It stressed me out sometimes, in the bad sorta way, but I’m learning to find a balance I think.

I recently got a job working part time for Fairfax media. I don’t know much about the company but when I tell my classmates about it, they all gasp and point at me, because apparently its like I’m helping plan the incineration of Alderraan or something. I work at a cubicle that sits as one of a hive of 50 rows and 50 columns of other cubicles. If I thought that the office metaphors to Dilbert were apt when I was in government beaureucracy, it’s an even stranger experience when you work in the private sector. In any case, it’s embarassing to say, but this job takes about 10% of the brain power that the hospital work did, and it pays about 50% more… so, despite that it’s mind numbingly boring, for the time being it gives [CM] and I a lot more leeway to live comfortably despite our sob starving student stories.

Every now and then the work really catches up to me and I feel the world coming down. It makes me feel bad at times because I worry CM when that happens. I guess I’m pretty insufferable when I’m in a bad mood about something– I’m told it’s a pretty huge 180 from what I’m usually like. But despite it, she sticks with me. I don’t think I could have done all of this without her.

One of my tutors, who is also an international student, pointed out that being in lawschool isn’t just about smarts– it’s about managing your life. He’s right. It’s not just about getting good grades. It’s about loving life and finding ways to balance all the work with the point of all the work we do. It’s not just about stressing– it’s about fighting for the things that matter, but not getting so obsessed about the fighting that you take the time to enjoy the things that you’ve fought for.

CM and I went out to have dinner at an all you can eat sushi place last night. We haven’t had all you can eat anything since she left Montreal. It’s still one of those highlights of life for me to plan my sushi-attack strategy with her so that we can pack down as much as we can.