LAW SCHOOL| the s word

Yup, you guessed it, stress.

I never thought I’d sound like such a cliche, but I guess cliches become cliches for a reason?

I’m almost halfway through the first semester of my second year, notoriously known as the hardest semester in the entire degree, so I’ve heard anyway. There’s a number of reasons for that in my opinion, and let’s just go through that first so we can figure out where the stress is stemming from exactly.

1. Extracurriculars
As we all know, clerkship season is looming, which means this semester is the last four months you can try and cram as many as those coveted but oh-so-vague extracurriculars into your CV as possible; volunteering, student associations, part time work, competitions, anything under the earth that is even remotely law-related, the list goes on. Time management (buzzword on its own) has never been so crucial.

2. Study load
The subjects are notoriously difficult as well this semester, and although I don’t think anything is overly complicated right now, it is definitely a struggle and a half to keep up with the readings, whether you’re doing three or four subjects. In fact, I know many people, including myself, started falling behind as early as week two and three. With mid-semester assessments just around the corner, it’s really time to tackle those readings.

3. Improving your WAM
Again, clerkship clerkship clerkship, the worst word of the year. Most people found transitioning to law school at least a little bit difficult, and given that we all had the intelligence to get in, it really comes down to adapting to this whole new way of learning, and as a result, marks first year  generally does not reflect a person’s ability. However, those marks will come into play in determining whether you can get a clerkship position or not. Consequently, many people need to do extra well this semester, in order to pull up their average. Given point 2, i.e. the difficulty of the subjects, this is not an easy task to achieve.

4. Networking
It’s time to start networking, some of us may have started doing this last year already, or even in our bachelor degree, especially if you were in commerce. However, these events are on all the time now, whether held by the Law Student’s Society or law firms, and can take up a lot of your time and energy, and some can go on for as long as three hours. These events can be scary enough on their own, and the time you are at an event is time you are not spending on your readings, hence the falling behind.

5. Comparison
With LinkedIn becoming more and more predominantly used in the professional world, it becomes a place that you can research (and by that I really mean stalk) about the experiences your fellow cohort has had, what your lecturers did before teaching, or that HR person you spoke to, that grad on the panel that was just so Goddamn well spoken, and just about anyone in-between. And let’s be real, we all know that comparing yourself to others is one of the most pointless activities, but, we’ve all fallen down that rabbit hole, and end up feeling as though we are not good enough, because we don’t have a running list of experiences and achievements accumulated over the last two decades of our lives.

Let’s just leave it at those five things for now, and after reading that, I’m sure you can understand where the stress is coming from. All the things correlate with one another too, and often end up having a bit of a snowball effect. Let’s move onto a more upbeat list now, things you can do to somewhat deal with the stress.

1. Notice the changes
Of course, a healthy amount of stress and pressure is good for you, and some people even perform better under pressure. However, when everything’s completely whacked out of balance, that’s when things can go from meh, to bad, to terrible. That’s why it’s important to look out for signs in those moments that you are affected by the stress more than usual, and to deal with them promptly.

2. Speak up
There’s no magical week that all the stress is laid down on you, we all experience it differently, and that’s why it is really up to you, ultimately, to look after yourself. Friends and families are going to be there for you too, of course, but instead of waiting for them to check up on you, it makes things a lot easier (in comparison at least) to bring some of your problems to their attention.

I feel extremely uncomfortable speaking about this kind of things to a counsellor myself, but I know people who do benefit from more professional help, again, this will depend on how you operate as an individual.

3. Self-improvement techniques
There are a lot of articles on self-improvement out there, so that’s an option too. But make sure you’re not drowning yourself in information, give yourself some time to absorb everything, and try to adapt one or two things into your every-day life, and see if it is making a positive change.

4. Stop the blaming
A lot of the time, we are aware that we are acting irrationally because of the stress and pressure, but that realisation may make us feel even more frustrated and guilty, and we start blaming ourselves for the most minute things, like going out to that one dinner when we should have stayed home studying, not sleeping early enough the night before, and just being a crappy person to those around you because of the stress and pressure. There’s really no point in blaming yourself though, since that won’t get you anywhere.

For me, I like to think of things I can do right now to improve the situation I am in. And the most recent things I have done is start journalling, and trying out a new study technique called pomodoro.

As always, I don’t have all the answers for you unfortunately, do email me if you have any questions or just want to chat though. Let’s leave things with a quote from one of my all-time-favourite authors, and go from there.

Of course it’s happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?

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all i want for Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! Regardless of whether you’re religious or not, Christmas is a time where families and friends gather together and enjoy some great food, something that I am always down for. This year, I had three Christmas meals lined up.1Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Firstly, I had a Secret Santa night with my friends from law school, we made roast chicken, roast vegetables, and some crispy skin salmon for my Pescetarian friend (we all stole some haha). I was on dessert duty, and I made a salted caramel apple pie from a recipe I saw on Sally’s Baking Addiction, it was my first time making a proper pie, and I gave lattice a go too, although not the neatest pie around, it was still delicious.

Next up, I spend Christmas Eve with my high school friends, we realised that it was the third year that we had celebrated Christmas together, and that seems all sorts of crazy. We had Korean BBQ, but unfortunately, given the nature of KBBQ – i.e. cooking meat the whole time, I didn’t manage to snap any photos. For any KBBQ fanatics out there, doing it at home is super easy! We have a stovetop BBQ pan, and there’s a Korean grocery store close by that sells a variety of marinated meats, making everything a breeze!

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I spent Christmas day with my mum. She had to pick someone up from the airport, which meant I cooked everything myself – which I’m pretty darn proud about tbh. I made roasted pork loin, roasted carrots and pumpkin, green bean casserole, also a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, mashed potato, and for desserts, I made some of my mum’s favourite cookies, cinnamon roll cookies, a recipe from the Domestic Geek. There were so much food though, which meant we never made it to the cookies, but they do make for a pleasant afternoon pick-me-up with a cup of coffee, so I ain’t complaining. It was my first time roasting pork loin, and only half the crackles turned out well, better luck next time haha.

The highlight of the meal was actually the gravy, it was my first time making gravy from scratch using the drippings from the roast, and it was so so so black and full of flavour and delicious and omg I can’t even.Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Oh yeh, I also dyed my hair purple, originally I was going for a purple ombre, but it kind of turned out more of a reverse ombre if anything? I do like it, although it’s weird having dark coloured hair again.

The holiday season has just begun, I’m going to Japan and Korea at the start of January, which I am both excited and nervous about. However, that does mean that I am going to spend the remainder of this year writing up an essay for my intensive, since it’s due while I’m overseas, and I really don’t want to be writing it on my trip.

I hope you all enjoyed Christmas, whether you spent it with friends, or family, or just chilling by yourself, it’s definitely nice to finally have some time off! Hopefully I can get a more reflective post up in the next week or so, 2016 has been such a weird year, and for better or worse, it’s almost over!

WORD VOMIT | if I hear the word squad one more time

We’re heading towards the end of 2016, and the one word that I sincerely hope we can leave behind in 2016 is the word “squad”. I know I know, unpopular opinion, but hear me out.

I don’t know about you, but the first time I ever heard the word squad was in reference to Tswizzle’s gang of girls in VMA or Billboard or whatever award show it was back in 2015 I believe, at the time, I thought to myself, damn, that is such a cool group of girls, good for them. And then time passed on, and the term started bombarding popular culture and social media, everyone had their squad, and everyone wanted everyone else to know about it.

And that’s when my frustration began. Why do you need a squad? How many people do you need in a squad? Maybe it’s just me, but I just feel like having a squad requires at least 5+ people, and to a lot of people, that’s just impossible. I know personally, all the friends I have made have been pretty much one on one, as in we wouldn’t really have that many mutual friends, or we would, but they’d mostly be acquaintances, and we would never really have a “squad” that we would hang out with day in day out. Don’t get me wrong, I do know people that do, but then again, I always question the sincerity and bond those larger groups have. Sure, you can go out with them every now and then, but when something terrible happens in your life, how many people in your “squad” will be there for you?

Maybe I’m just overthinking this whole thing, as per usual, but I feel as though “squad” just put some unnecessary added pressure onto the expectations society already places on us, we have to be hard working, we have to be doing something with our lives, we have to be happy, we have to have a “squad”, for us to be seen as a fully-functioning individual in the 21st century. There are so many things that’s wrong with that mentality, but that’s a whole other thing.

I have friends (wow did I really just say that), but I don’t see them as my “squad”, they’re people that I connect with, my companions, the ones I care about and the ones that care about me, and squad just diminishes all the feelings I have towards them.

I don’t know if I’m the only that feels this way about “squad”, but surely not, no man’s an island. But hey, if I am, then so be it, I don’t need a “squad” to agree with me anyway.

on my mind | september 2016

I’m going to start a new section in my blog (yup, another one), where I’m literally just going to talk about whatever’s been on my mind, a brain dump if you will. I think I was kind of iffy about starting this because people in my day-to-day life are aware of the existence of this blog, and I didn’t want things that I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with some of those people in real life to somehow creep into their life via this blog. But then again, I thought, fuck it, live a little, what are they gonna do? Judge me? Plenty of that happens without me giving them a reason to, and seriously, sometimes you just gotta not think about everything that’s supposedly reasonable and logical and just do it because your heart is telling you to, something that I’m working very hard on myself.

So what has been on my mind?  It’s a hard feeling to explain, but I’ll give it a go. My mind has been all over the place, but at the same time, there are some sort of clarity that I have never felt before. I don’t want to put anything concrete down as of yet, because I am uncertain about some of those things myself, and I feel like typing it out would just make it seem more real than it actually is.

The most prominent thing is that I realised how vulnerable every single individual is, and how the smallest thing can actually have a ripple effect, something that I never really put that much thought into before. I think that’s the thing, we hear all these terms and phrases being thrown around, ripple effect for example, but it’s hard for us to put our life on pause for just a second, and realise what those things actually mean, to society as a whole, and to us as individuals.

And that leads to the next thing, how becoming conscious of something changes it completely. Change might be the wrong word, but I’m sticking with it. Once the awareness is there, you see it everywhere. A simple example of this, which I’m pretty sure I first heard in year 11 psychology, is that when you start to wear glasses, you realise how many people that walks by you everyday is wearing glasses. Another instance where something similar occurs is when you first develop a crush on someone, and then you start seeing them everywhere. I don’t know the scientific explanation behind this, but it stands true also for things that aren’t exactly physical, things that are more akin to ideas, at least for myself.

I’ve said this before so sorry if you’re sick of hearing it, but I love birthdays, my own especially. Call me narcissistic or whatever other term you want, I really couldn’t care less (ha, the irony), I’ve never really delved into why I love birthdays, and that’s not what I’m about to do right now. Anyway, the point is, I celebrated my 22nd birthday last Saturday, and the events that occurred around that time has had an unexplainable effect on me, mostly mentally, and I don’t know if this is just a phase that I’m in, or if this is the new me, but one step at a time, I’ll take things as they come.

My best friend advised me to start keeping a diary, but I don’t know, that’s just such a foreign idea to me, and I feel like putting pen on paper would make things even more concrete, definitely too concrete for my liking, so I think this is the outlet I’m going to use, and we’ll see how things go from here.

expection vs reality | graduation

I was always one for special occasions, birthdays in particular. I know it doesn’t mean a lot to some people, birthday is just another day after all, but hey, if there is a day that I can make things all about me, then that’s exactly what I’m going to do (vain af I know).

So it only makes sense that come graduation, I was expecting it to be this amazing day, where all my friends and family will come and celebrate with me, and we’ll all just be enjoying ourselves, since seriously, what could go wrong all things considered?

A lot of things, as it turns out. I don’t really wanna go through the nitty gritty of things, but there was just a lot of stress and worry throughout, although you wouldn’t be able to tell if you looked at my instagram, since social media is a lie.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, of course social media is a lie. No one has the obligation of uploading a photo of themselves crying about whatever shit they went through that day with a caption that details that experience, it is an individual choice. And as normal citizens, not “social media influencers” or whatever title they go by nowadays, it only makes sense for us to want to share the best part of ourselves in front of strangers’ eyes, and it has been that way decades before social media took over.

I don’t really know what I wanted to express through this post tbh, it’s just a little rant/reflective note for myself I guess. Stop putting so much pressure on certain days having to turn out spectacular, and just roll with it when shit starts hitting the fan. I don’t know if I can ever become that person, or even if I want to. But I think I’m fine with being the way I am, as long as I can stay true to myself and don’t feel the need to hide it from others, for the time being anyway, and that’s all that really matters I guess.

Oh and here’s a photo just ’cause.

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Since I still have another two and half years (at least) to go with JD, getting my certificate didn’t feel all the significant in the end, although it does mark an end to three of the best years in my life thus far. There isn’t really much more I can say other than um, congratulations to me!

LAW SCHOOL | dobby is a free elf.

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At last, I am officially done with first semester of JD, exams and all. Results don’t come out for another couple of weeks, so at least I can absorb myself in some ignorant bliss for the time being.
I don’t think I’m ready for a blog post dissecting the last four months of my life just yet, but I’m hoping to get one out during the holidays after some self-reflection! These holidays are going to be pretty chill over all though, I’m going to catch up with some friends that I have not seen in way too long, get back into things I enjoy but just didn’t have time for, blogging for one, brunch for another.

I am going to try and do something I’ve never done before, 30 posts in 30 days. I have got some serious backlog going on, and I figured this is probably the best chance I have of catching up with that, and if it doesn’t happen, then this post shall hold me accountable. Be excited for the upcoming month, I know I am!

LAW SCHOOL | here’s to the first of many.

 

It’s happening, I’m going to start blogging about law school, because 241298379 pages of reading and 12 hours of class every week for the past three month isn’t consuming enough of my life.

So I had my first law exam today (yesterday technically), and let’s just say, it was definitely an experience. I’ve never spent so long studying for an exam, and never feared failing more. But hey, what’s done is done. What did I want to talk about in this post again? Oh yeh, how it all doesn’t really matter, but kind of really does.

It’s easy to say that you should place little importance on your marks, since you know, you’re not defined by a number, focus on the big picture, and all the other wise sentiments being thrown around. After all, it is only a two-hour exam worth 70% of my mark in one subject, out of 24 subjects in the entire course, so percentage wise, it’s only worth around 3% of my overall mark, but hey, if everyone could think about things rationally in terms of how much they actually matter in the grand scheme of things, then what good would learning curves and reflections be.

But it is true, a mark on an exam never will define you as a person, however, it certainly does affect you in many other respects. For me personally, law school is certainly the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life, it might not the case for everyone, but it definitely is a common consensus amongst many. And to come out of an exam feeling like I’ve done even remotely okay makes me so happy, because I’ve conquered the challenge of sitting the gruesome exam already, regardless of what my mark is. I think that’s sort of easier to put into perspective than pushing the idea of “marks don’t matter because they shouldn’t”.

So here’s my take on exams, study for it, give it your all, and then maybe marks won’t matter. But hey, what do I know, I’m only one exam into this whole thing, maybe by the end of the three years I’d read this post and laugh at myself for being so young, innocent and naive, but that would just prove my point on the learning curve thing, so at least I got that right. Here’s to hoping.