Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Flashbacks of 2016

A photo posted by Ciana Carrie (@thetemperamentalist) on


January

It’s the final month of summer break, and inasmuch as I wasn’t keen to return as a sophomore, I had to convince myself that I’m nearing the halfway point. After the release of exam scores for my Semester 2 subjects, I’ll officially stand at the middle line.

Since I was able to sit down and reflect in the weeks leading up to Orientation Week, I managed to deal with the emotional issues, but as long as I keep the stress levels to an acceptable level and avoid the triggers, it’d all be cool.

February

Lookie, look!

It’s the Adelaide Illuminations - in conjunction with the Adelaide Fringe Festival! I was insane enough to make my way to campus at night to capture some pictures for my album… because let’s face it, will we ever be able to see something similar in Kuala Lumpur? Jalan Bukit Bintang, maybe. Subang Jaya, highly unlikely.

And guess who photobombed my experience?

The news crew.

Yes, you read that right. *sighs* The sneaky cameraman decided to creep behind me and captured me taking a video of the illumination on Elder Hall, but thank God none of the acquaintances recognized me in the split-second footage. Not that I’m panicky about cameras, though. Then again, I was lucky enough this year to have a first-hand experience at the same time; I hid behind the crowd and craned my neck to watch the parade with delightful and colorful performers, lol.

Since a promise was a promise, I spent all 3 days with the finance friend at Barr Smith Laws, experiencing O-Week as sophomore students - in the heatwave! Still, we didn’t let that be in the way of our enjoyment as we caught up over bottomless amount of lemonade and soda with the handful of pictures. We were lucky that neither one of us ran a temperature or suffered a heatstroke. I skipped almost all of the activities as a freshman (save for the photo booth and the BBQ session) because I wasn’t keen on it, plus everyone knows that activities can be mundane if you’re participating in it on your own.

Honestly speaking, I may have had my reasons for enrolling in Criminal Law a year earlier than everyone else (and Law School wouldn’t be surprised by it either), but there was a pang of regret after the first lecture. I underestimated the additional workload and stress that I had to endure. When I ran into my Public Law lecturer outside the elevator area one Friday morning, he looked at me as if I was insane to study Constitutional Law, Equity and Criminal Law together due to its intensity. (Technically, he’s correct - it did feel like mayhem in my brain when swotvac arrived)

Having acquaintances in the same seminars will make the transition easier, because who wants to make a new batch of friends in each course for each semester every year, right? Running into each other on the first day of lectures was fine, but little did we know that there was a little surprise waiting for us.

You can probably imagine our horror when we crossed paths in not only one, but two classes. The words that I told him after the completion of our group project immediately rang in my head: who knows if we might be in the same lectures/seminars next semester?

*face palm*

God knows what the chap thought in the moment, but I was internally sweating because I didn’t mean those words. It was thrown out there as a half-joke. The time-slots were of my choice, and the decision was not tattered with undue influence either. I’ve to be responsible for it, no matter what surprises it carried.

I was rather surprised when the good friend dropped a message, asking whether we (read: my sister and I) could meet up as he wanted to pass the long-awaited Christmas presents. After firming up the time, date and place, we finally caught up in the Hub, where he was joyous to see us (although my sister would say that he was happier to see me, not her; then again, I wouldn’t want to know either). Methinks it’s because I decided not to attend the Criminal Law lecture to spend time with them both.

March - May

I don’t remember much from these three months because the academic workload knocked me out in cold blood. Autumn break should’ve allowed us some time out, but we’ were dating our assignments instead. I almost banged my head on the wall when I took a peak at the assignments.

Two of them were even due at the same time!

It was around this period that I had the crying dream and should’ve seen it as the subconscious warning of a mental breakdown. (Note: it happened months later - in the midst of a lecture. I was rushing to look for a safe spot after the lecture because I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. You’d be able to tell anyway; who wears sunglasses when the rays weren’t blinding?)



I even volunteered for the Semester 1, 2016 graduation ceremony and actually earned a thing or two about it

1) NEVER EVER be late for it, or you’ll have to receive your parchment in-absentia and lose the glory of graduating in a spectacular, regal place;

2) make sure your guests arrive on time as well; and

3) dress appropriately. It stinks to see people attending the ceremony in flip-flops.

In addition to that, a presentation for Criminal Law awaited me. While my original preference was ‘fair trial’ since it sounded awesomely challenging, I’m relieved that the teammate chose the topic of ‘mental impairment’ because of its hidden familiarity. It’s no wonder that McNaghten’s Rules (which is now codified in s269C in CLCA as the test for presumption of mental competence in s 269D of the same Act) sounded familiar - we skated on this in Canadian and International Law before.

My final thoughts on it? It’s still a wonder that I managed to remain in one piece before class (although that came at the expense of ignoring almost everyone).

June

A couple more weeks and it’s the commencement of exams. It’s an ongoing fact that the finals would always be in the way of a proper enjoyment. It was evident that I was apprehensive over Criminal Law. I would need to bring the A-game to an all-time high to hammer the exam blue and the ambitious Sagittarian in me wanted more than a bare pass.

Another exchange of presents occurred, but at my beckoning this time. It was far too early to pass the good friend his birthday present(s), but it was better if we gave it to him, now that it’s all wrapped and ready for delivery.



There’s a high chance that I’ll be busy in the weeks leading up to the actual day. Plus, the three of us could also kill two birds with one stone by catching up before the exams. I didn’t want a repeat of last year, you could say - where I wore a pair of exhausted eyes (no thanks to crying) to the hangout. Surprising everyone, including myself, I blushed brighter than a tomato in front of them. I was already feeling it the moment he tore open (yes, literally) the gift bag and perused the birthday messages. While he hinted that he’d get our birthday presents at the same time, I never expected him to follow up on his word. The item was something that I mulled on buying when I was in Kikki K a couple of months ago to buy another friend’s gift. Talk about reading my mind, lol. It wasn’t until I told him that I’m travelling during the summer break that it was good that he got the present now.

What I wrote on it sounded as if I’m unwillingly leaving Adelaide for Perth and emotional about my departure because it’ll be a long-distance friendship, and we’d have to instead rely on Messenger as a form of contact. My sister shot glances and whispered to me when he said something aloud… the World Issues student in me didn’t find it weird, but it was the conduct before that that left me with a raised eyebrow.

When he later turned to me with a perplexed expression after I mentioned that Typo is selling cat-influenced items, it left me in the hot seat because I never expected him to catch on that, lol. I’m still wondering how that word can be misheard as ‘cat influenza’, but there is a possibility that he saw the stress in my eyes and wanted me to laugh it off. *raises both hands* I’m merely working on probable grounds.

One of my friends from the Thursday’s class actually sighed because it meant cramming the revisions (for Constitutional Law and Criminal Law) to the point where we actually practiced our issue-spotting exercise together over Snapchat. (You’ll never read this anyway, my friend, and I don’t think your detective skills would be able to find my blog. *winks*) The exam jitters punched me with such force that my heart raced faster than it should when I flipped through the Criminal Law questions during the reading time.

July

We waited until it was officially the winter break before we decided on a mutually convenient date (and movie of choice) to make use of the free movie tickets (that I received from volunteering at the graduation ceremony).



That’s how we ended up watching “Me Before You”, starring Emilia Clarke (from Game of Thrones) and Sam Claflin (from Hunger Games). It was the well-deserved break that we both needed after (metaphorically) murdering ourselves as we tried to achieve our respective academic goals. It wasn’t as emotional as it was projected by people who’ve managed to watch it at the cinemas earlier, but it didn’t mean that there was a dry eye either.

As the release date of our final result crept closer, I dreamt of exams in two consecutive nights with different plots altogether. I could pin down the first dream almost immediately after I woke up to the fear of failing. The second one was harder to decipher because of its context (and the sense of reality attached to it was . . . shocking). But I’m just relieved that I’ve passed all three papers with God’s blessings. *smiles*

A photo posted by Ciana Carrie (@thetemperamentalist) on


After holing myself up in the privacy of my four walls, it was an interesting time to have volunteered for the ISC’s Welcome BBQ for the froshies - and boy, it was exhausting too. Watching the crowd flocking to the tent, waiting while we prepared the ingredients for service made the scene look like one of the Masterchef Australia’s outdoor competitions.

Semester 2 has commenced, but to a wet start. *sighs* It was raining heavily on the first day of classes.

August

We never planned to have a time out, but seeing that I needed something to take my mind off academics, we decided on hiking one fine weekend. It was good to rid the system of the burdening emotions with the fresh, hilly air. To make it more interesting, we ended the exploration with a plate of pizza in his suburb.

The original intention was not to enroll in this politics elective because I didn’t have the faith that foreign policy was my thing - if you know what I mean. I wanted something related to history or creative writing, but since none of the ones listed was suitable for me, I knew I needed to consider something unprecedented.

I swore I heard my good friend screaming with exuberance when I told him that his wish would be granted. I won’t reveal the nature of our conversation that led to the ultimate decision, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it brought a tiny speck of happiness to his day. Judging from the way he worded his reply, he desired to be in the same tutorial with me again.

Not to mention, I was more relieved towards the middle of the semester when there was a distance between me and someone. I don’t know what that person’s thoughts were, but I didn’t want the awkwardness to occur again. That incident was already weird enough to digest. That cannot be said of the workload. I almost caved in with the amount of pressure that I missed the opportunity to score a credit for an assessment by 1%, sigh. Two of the assessments were additionally due on the same day albeit an hour apart, which, I thought, would be alright. I underestimated the difficulty to the point where both pieces did not make sense to me while reading it.

If I can’t understand it, how am I to convince the marker with my arguments and propositions?

September

While the lecturers this semester didn't require us to complete assignments during the spring break, it didn’t feel like a break at all. I never traveled around the city for explorations or uncover the hidden gems of Adelaide. The only adventure that I experienced was the road trip to the Catholic winery in Clare Valley - and that was it.

I was under the weather a couple of days after that, which left me worried. If I couldn’t recover before we returned to tutorials, my chances of making a full recovery would be drastically reduced. Not only was my head on fire, my throat was a living tarred road with all the coughs and my nose was severely congested. I was more of a panda than myself. The backdated work only made it worse by taunting me for my failure to get on top of everything, urgh

October



When the opportunity to run for the recent Law Students Society elections presented itself in the form of a friend’s invite, I jumped on it because the polling period was shorter than the one for Students Representatives Council. Although our team lost by a majority and certain things happened along the way, I never regretted the decision to nominate myself and campaign for the votes. Apart from the elections, I felt like everything - the academic burden, the emotional stress, and the uncomfortable environment - pulled me in various directions. I resembled a fish struggling to stay afloat, but refused to shout that I needed time out.

Why would I want to portray the times of weakness to the shadowy world? It was something that only I can resolve it without a definite time period. If I didn’t understand why my college lecturer warned me to forget about double degrees back then, I sure do now. Depending on the combination of degrees (I’d have gone for Law and Creative Writing), battling 4 concurrent courses for 5 years isn’t for the light-hearted. The workload can be intense, especially if your exams and final assessments are due at the same time.

The late nights spent on assessments, lectures and revisions threatened to break the persistence that I’ve held for these couple of years. With a neighbor who behaves more like a nocturnal bat than the average homo sapien, it wouldn’t be long before I’ll lose my patience. Even my neighbor back home was more considerate to play soft, soothing and sleep-inducing songs. With the deck of cards I’ve been handed, it’s now arduous to play it like the ones desired.

November

I almost yanked at my hair when the examination timetable was released 6 weeks ago. Those who were enrolled in administrative law - including myself - were one of the first batches to simmer in the pressure cooker and still emerge from it in one piece. On the bright side, at least it wasn’t like last semester where ACL and criminal law exams were too close for comfort. My psyche threw in the towel the moment I found my allocated seat. I immediately knew that something was wrong because I was incapable of emotions. There was no pre-exam jitters. It was a neutral reaction where I wanted to be done with the paper and have a long sleep. If you compare this to last semester’s exams, I was panicking until the final moment back then.

A photo posted by Ciana Carrie (@thetemperamentalist) on


I sprinted from the examination hall to the tram station, needing to clear the stress from my system and catch the tram on time. The anxiety levels almost peaked when my eyes burned with tears at my inability to do better and had to convince myself to just breathe - repeatedly. My friend never knew this, but it was a pleasant surprise when he checked up on me via text while on the road. Maybe God spoke to him? Or, maybe he was genuinely concerned? At the time of this writing, I’m antsy about the overall grade - as to whether I’ll have a bare pass, resit the paper, or retake the entire course. I had to play by ear - the anxiety threatened to cause a mental breakdown.

The rest of November was spent between keeping myself calm and catching up on lost sleep. As it is, the worries kept me awake for longer than expected at night.

December

Owing to the exam arrangement, the results for the earlier exams were released a couple of days before the official date. I didn’t pay much attention to the electives because I knew it was a guaranteed pass, but it was a pain to know that I was 2% away from a credit and distinction for two electives. That’d have been a game changer for the GPA.

What led to a sudden mental crash was Administrative Law. My heart pounded with intensity because the replacement exams would’ve delayed all of the travel plans. Thank God it’s now in the past… or at least that was the lecturer mentioned when I thanked her for allowing me to pass. What I failed to realise was that my anxiety over the final grade led me to forget the errands I needed to execute. I guess it’s a huge reminder that it’s time to go back to basics: pen and paper and excellent time management.

The break that I insinuated occurred on my birthday - although not on a good start, but it’s not worth elaborating on it. My college friend, now in UK, insisted that I take the time off as he felt that I’m biting off more than I can chew. I was dealing with a time bomb - it could’ve easily detonated or exploded in my face, depending on how the results were - but I never expected it to be so evident in my words.



Unlike last year, there weren’t any drinking episodes at my beckoning. Alcohol, when ingested during emotional periods, has a terrible consequences. You drown your sorrows, but it’ll consequently worsen it. My appetite refused to improve much to my horror - I barely sampled the delectable dishes (even my favourite plate of steamed prawn) and shared the portion with friends or family.

Maybe I shouldn’t have detrimentally relied on promises and instead dealt with the matters personally. It would’ve yanked me out of unnecessary eleventh hour problems, sigh. To be honest, if it weren’t for my parents, I’d have stayed back and paint the town red or head east for some R&R.

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