University 2.0

by Jinryu

… is over! I handed in my final thesis on friday, and man, was that difficult.  It wasn’t difficult because the work itself was difficult– I was just suffering a major bout of burnout from all the work I’ve been doing lately for my postgrad, the college of law, and full time work hours.  If you’re interested in the math, that’s literally 225% the normal workload of a normal person– and I was doing that for about a month.  Before that, I was only doing about 175% the normal workload.

With university out of the way, I’m down to about 200% the normal workload, which is basically working almost full time as a paralegal, a one weekend-day per week job, and the full time college of law licensing course.

That sounds a lot worse than it is, but it’s actually not too bad because the college of law work is a pass/fail sort of thing.




I’ve learned a few things about myself in the process.  The first thing is that I’m unbreakable.  I can be paralyzed with laziness and apathy, but I’m not going to lose my mind– when things get really overwealming, I just lie down and sleep– but this is very different from when I was younger and I would rage about it.

I also learned that I’m nothing if I’m not motivated.  If I am motivated, I can produce really great work– but it is really difficult for me to work on things that I’m not interested in, or which I can’t justify as an indirect contribution to some other goal.  The more indirect the work is towards achieving longer term goals, the more difficult it is to justify an energy expenditure.

The thesis was a case and point, unfortunately.  The only reason why I wanted to do reasonably well on that was to keep up my average– with a current weighted-average-mark of 77%-ish, I’m on my way to graduating with first class honours.  The cutoff is something really close like 76.5%, so if I do get that title, I’m going to get it by a hair.  However, that average is only considering all my grades up to the thesis– the thesis could still drag me under.

Why do I care about getting honours? That goes under one of those indirect things that is actually for a longer term goal.  First class honours, like many other pretentious titles, is just something nice to have on my resume when applying for jobs.  How much does an employer actually look at these sorts of things? I don’t know.

The thing about a thesis is that, really, I spent so much time on it. It’s not the world’s longest thesis, since it was only for 4-credits– however, at 16 pages long, that took me over a hundred hours of writing and redrafting, nevermind how much time it took to do all the research.  And I’m still not sure I’ll be able to keep my 77% average, because I literally submit it via email 1 minute before the deadline.  2 minutes before the deadline, I was still checking my footnotes.

I know that a real quality piece of work is never left to the last minute, which is why I’m pretty certain I’m going to lose a lot of points in stupid ways here and there.  But frankly, the motivation couldn’t let me prioritise that much higher than I did.  The situation was what it was– I’m only human, and I can’t love everything or everyone.

As someone who wants to be a professional, I still gave it my best go though.


It was especially difficult because, as of late, I’d been working more and more.  I’ve been really lucky to be hired by a former professor who is a sole practitioner running her own employment law practice– It has been very interesting work.  Paid work. Once you start getting paid for wracking your brain, you feel that there’s a reward.  Thesis, on the other hand? Over a hundred hours of, not only unpaid work, but me paying the school to make me do that work? That’s really quite hard to swallow.  What I get out of it is a number, and a few words of feedback.  If I conver the amount of work I spent on that thesis into paid work at my usual rate, I should have been paid about $4000 US/CAD/AUD, instead of instead paying the university a thousand backs to supervise my work.


Anyway, we’ll see how the grades come back.