Thursday, May 18, 2017

Unexplained Change

If this is what most practicing barristers will have to endure in their line of work, consider it my luck that I'm exposed to the amount of paperwork and preparation now - rather than while in the workforce. The original intention is to be a criminal law barrister after I've slogged for a number of years, but that possibility is vanishing in the same fashion as my confidence of nailing a credit for the mooting.

I know that something's changed yet I can't pinpoint the difference. I've been the type of child who loves the challenges of presentation in college, but my heart races whenever I need to do it in university. Some of the college friends have frowned at the negative changes. In their eyes, they've assumed that I'm a confident person with persistence. Now, if you give me a chance to remain behind the scenes, I'll take it in a heartbeat.

Maybe it's just me adjusting to the environment?

The practice moot was alright, but the amount of research that we needed to conduct for the written submission almost spun me in circles. There was a sense of peace when I laid the foundations for our team. It was as if, don't worry, I'll emerge from this scathed, but I'll survive - or maybe it's because the chunk that I had was the easiest to argue.

That can't be said of the second one - and part one of our graded moot. I'm not sure why, but I lost my coherence shortly before the other team concluded their arguments. It spelt trouble for me when the papers in my hand shook with fury. It also didn't help that a shovel emptied the contents of my brain too.

Could it have been anxiety attacks?

Could it have been nerves spanning from the lack of preparation?

Could it have been something else?

All questions with not an obvious answer in sight.

It faded for a split second when I addressed the de facto bench (on a side note, here's a shout out to the person who presided over our mooting: thanks for the attempt to soothe the nerves. I say 'attempt' because I was losing it internally). It was at the second half - when the questions were peppered in my direction - that my brain threw in the towel and rebelled. There was no panic per se, but more like a desire to hide in a corner of a dark room and breathe. Most folks who've worked with me in group assignments know that it's not a positive occurrence when my eyes shine as bright as the stars. I'm sure that it would've been evident from my body language when we exited the room that I didn't perform as well as I should (and craved). I mean, who exits the place shaking her head with a sigh unless there's defeat or disappointment?

It was with great effort that I pushed the emotional thoughts away - hell if I'm going to let those folks have a glance of the inner workings of my mind, especially when there's a chance that we could be on opposite teams for the final mooting. Thanks, but no, thanks. I instead focused on the fact that I did my best and there's nothing more that I could do about it, except to hope that whoever marked my oral will exercise some discretion instead of slaughtering me into pieces like a butcher. My mooting partner eventually told me that it was obvious to one of the tutors that I wasn't elated at all from his facial expression.

Oh well, the finishing line is in sight - and time to focus on nailing this. If I'm able to maintain my calmness - or at least project to everyone that I am confident, things should improve for the better. I don't have time to allow myself some breathing space because it's a wild ride there - and as long as I don't fall on my face from the high demands/expectations of myself, I'll be fine. Fingers crossed.

I really should consider joining Adelaide's version of KLPAC to strengthen the confidence and eradicate (or at least reduce) the fear of public speaking, but time is as precious as glassware to me. You wouldn't want to see how I behave when I don't have enough me-time. Trust me on that because I don't thrive under pressure.

The bright side is that winter break is in less than 4 weeks. Assuming that I don’t fall under the weather from sleep deprivation and stress, I think I’ll have to reduce the frequency of my social media use and learn simple breathing techniques on the side.

Maybe that'll help to prepare me for the intensity of Semester 2.


  1. I'm much more of a 'behind the scenes' person. The thought of speaking to an audience makes me extremely anxious.

    1. I'm also the type to flourish behind the scenes, Yum List. Give me the exams and research essays, and I'll gladly work on it alone. If you throw presentations that will require to engage with the audience, that's when you'll see me shivering with nerves. It happened in another oral assignment - I knew that I was collapsing from nerves because the hand holding the paper containing my notes shook with fury. So yeah. =C

  2. It sounds like a lot of work, all that research and then having to stand up against everyone to argue your case and you have to have to make sense, clear and coherent. In a court and really in every situation where a decision has to be made, there is some sort of bias...emotions can sometimes overtake you and you might say the most honest of words when it may not really help you.

    I'm quite the opposite and don't like to put up a confident front when I am not confident. I won't deny it, and will try my best to focus on the task at hand and look at the positive sides of things - I will certainly admit to myself how I'm really feeling.

    I remember when I had my interview for my current job I was so nervous. I was planning on being all smiley at the interview but I was so nervous that I felt my face poker-face the whole time. Also I was focusing very hard on speaking slowly. In the end I got the job and the interviewers told me I was very calm which I thought was crazy because I was screaming inside the whole time :D

    1. It was a lot of work, Mabel, to the point where I forced myself to focus while I was under the weather. No one - not even the other mooting team that was with us for the final one - was aware that I was not feeling well... I suffered from a congested nose halfway during the other team's oral presentation and could barely breathe without blowing all of the mucus out. =/

      The questions are the ones that always trip me up. I don't like to show my marker that I'm nervous because I believe that it'll look bad. It was obvious in the second advocacy that not only was I dying from nerves and sleep deprivation, the other team member was suffering from a runny nose... so much so that the person presiding over us smiled at us, as if to tell us to take a deep breath and be calm.

      I guess you're lucky that the nerves didn't show in your answers and facial expression. For some people like me, you can probably detect faint traces of nerves in my voice. But on the bright side, you got the job! =)

    2. It did sound like a hard time, and sorry to hear you were feeling under the weather too. Hopefully it didn't work against you :/ Questions and being questioned are always unpredictable, and even if they are phrased a little differently than you expected can throw you off. When that happens to me in interviews or someone asks a question after I made a presentation, that is me. Very hard for me to carry on without feeling shaky inside.

      I hope you didn't turn bright red. That used to happen to me when speaking in front of a panel - a dead give away that I was nervous. It never is a sign that one is excited D:

    3. It was, but I'm relieved that it's all over now. It's alright; I guess it served me right because I didn't sleep enough. It surprisingly didn't work to my detriment - but apart from a tad bit of noise pollution (from the throat clearing and runny nose). That is exactly what happened to me for the second moot! I knew that something was up because my hands shook like mad...

      I don't usually turn bright red, but my voice will definitely be the dead giveaway. It happened last week during another oral assignment, but I'd love to chalk it up to the emotions associated with the points.


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