After months of back and forth communication that spanned from our Administrative Law and Criminal Law days, we caught up briefly for a quick chat about the Family Law enrolment. Now that I think back, we were a tad bit anxious about this because our academic timetables couldn’t be finalised until this was dealt with. I was more than prepared to commit mental murder at the first degree with History as an alternative choice, but, lo and behold, I remained with Family Law. It was quite alright - I waddled through it at my own pace.
As we all know, mid February marks the start of the annual Adelaide Fringe. It also brought with it the hottest temperature I’ve experienced. For someone who’s accustomed to geat with humidity, it was torturous. Chinese New Year was not spent with a feast, but a tennis match between Federer and Nadal at the Australian Open. We also had the Orientation Week campus tour, which was different from what we atte
The first week marked the start of my penultimate year - and the anxiety that castes a shadow in my Criminal Law days returned to taint the rosy semester. I’ll be candour; I knew what I landed myself into when the academic timetable was released for both semesters. The idiot perfectionist wanted a challenge again… and I don’t thrive under stress, lol.
Seeing that it was a long while since the good friends caught up as a group, we agreed on a mutual timing for waffles. The unexpected variable was the weather. It showered on us and soured my mood. Rain/showers have a calming yet sad effect on me. The lack of radiance in my eyes would’ve been indicative of the change in emotions hence everyone’s hesitance on leaving. On the overall, it was a blessing to see those two angelic and cute faces.
I’ve noticed a trend, in which April is one of the haziest month each year. I can’t remember much that transpired yet there’s definitely more that occurred. Our mid semester break fell in the midst of the Easter Triduum, which was a blessing. At least there’s no requirement to attend replacement classes. There wasn’t any time to rest because of the interim assessments as well. As I would later find out, one of it landed me squarely in the path of winter germs.
The practice moot was bearable and my body language reflected it. The moment the list of mooters was released, I was relieved that I wasn’t going against anyone I knew. There were five of us and anything could’ve happened. My heart, however, raced a tad bit when I recognised the name. An experienced mooter. Seeing that it was an ungraded one, I refused to give much thought about it. I took the opportunity to have a crack at things and see how it flowed from there.
The first graded one left me hugging my knees close to my chest in exhaustion and biting back tears. I knew I messed up but focused on maintaining my composure. My breath caught in my throat when the opposition team consisted of someone whom I’m familiar by face. There was a faint glimmer of recognition when he saw me standing at the hallway in a formal attire and having a conversation with another student. It wasn’t until I asked him the million dollar question that he was sure that it was me. I don’t blame him; we worked on a tutorial question for another course before the advocacy, lol.
The second graded one was … weird in more ways than one. The nerves and fear of failure clouded my clarity until I didn’t realise I spoke the wrong thing in the morning tutorial. It felt like someone shone a torchlight at me when his head shot up from his laptop in my direction. I still cringe whenever I think of it although I’ll chalk it up to me being under the weather. For the oddest reason, the opposition team was the same one we had for the practice, which left the four of us groaning with a smile. I panicked on the behalf of the person against me because his voice betrayed his thoughts.
As if luck would have it, in the morning tutorial the following week, the tutor decided to throw shade at us as we approached the whiteboard to be the speaker and scribe respectively. It was then that I suspected she might’ve seen me approaching him after the previous week’s class. We exchanged an awkward smile before we got to work.
Family Law marked the end of the semester for me, which threw me into exam preparation and assignment mode. I guess the tutor realised that we'd be feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders for the exam and decided to organise a tour for us - hence the attached Instagram picture and its accompanying caption. It was an eye-opener to have watched the family law proceedings as a member of the public, but whether I'll be able to transfer what I witnessed into the essay component of the exam remained unknown.
The beauty about an assignment-based course is the amount of time to complete the final research essays. It also means that I’ve to be in research mode and milk the brain dry for suitable words. Anything but the pressure cooker of an exam, thank you.
The first thought that entered my brain when we arranged for the burger date was ‘oh, boy’. The good friends needed to sit for their papers earlier than mine - and I was absolutely not in the business of throwing their revisions off. In essence, we left the restaurant with an upbeat mood and something to take our minds off the exams. For them, it’s the ‘love letters’ - to quote my sister. Don’t get us wrong; I love these two intelligent and comical brats for the smile and laughter they bring, but only as a comrade and a sibling. In essence, I’m relieved that the handwritten letters lifted their frowns into grins.
I was definitely skewered for this round of exams. For the weirdest reason, my one and only exam was scheduled on the last day of the exam period. And as you may have guessed it, waiting for two weeks came with its positive and negative benefits. It was a blessing because there is more time to revise. It was a curse because I couldn’t properly plan my winter break. I watched with agony as the rest of my friends celebrated the end of their exams. It didn’t help my cause that my neighbors were night owls on the eve of my morning exam.
I fled for a winter getaway hours before the results were released. I didn't do great, but I did alright. I passed all of the papers, which is much more important than the GPA itself - although it’d have been nice to see a higher percentage, sigh. The beauty was that I returned in the second week of the semester - with little time to sleep off the exhaustion. I craved the extra time away to flush my mind of the stress acquired in the previous semester with four equally difficult courses. Why my heart desired a challenging period, only it knew - as there were profanities and cries behind closed doors.
Yes, you read that right. I cursed. And screamed until my throat ached.
It was a risk that I gambled with because I sacrificed a week’s worth of learning for the subjects. Luck was on my side because attendance was not taken and with a tad bit more effort, I caught up with the course contents.
I struggled throughout the entire month to cope with the massive stress from cramming two heavy courses and grocery shopping into one day. Although it was a relief to place the faces to the names that I saw on the attendance list for all of the courses, I was left groaning when history repeated itself.
Let’s just say that, in hindsight, I regretted taking Corporate Law on the same day as ADR. I mean, the stress may have been a killer, but it was the continous exposure in the crammed room that left me perspiring in anxiousness. I felt like I was being boxed in and couldn’t breathe. My hand shook once and I couldn’t focus on the whiteboard in front of me! You see, in most of my tutorials, I’ve always gone for the seats - usually the corner ones - that allow me to breathe. I’m not claustrophobic, but I am easily anxious when I am boxed into a small space. I got so angry with myself once over this that I almost lashed out at another friend when he tried to engage in a small talk with me. Neither was I excited when we had to do a group assignment for Corporate Law. It’s a consolation if it’s in lieu of a final exam, but it is what it is. I was thankfully in a team with familiar faces, which made our lives easier because we were familiar with each other’s work ethics. I was rather annoyed when unexpected things cropped up - and allow me to say that it involved blood, sweat, and tears. I honestly hadn’t expected things to roll this way and, as I’ve referenced in one of my posts, it might’ve been the work of a divine arrangement.
It took me until the end of August and one missed tutorial before I was able to properly manage my time and learn to breathe. I kept giving myself a pep talk that it was just the beginning. My workling life would be worse than this and it was better for an early exposure, rather than being thrown into it without any warning.
Seeing that I had purchased the birthday presents a couple of months in advance, I figured that it was better to pass it to the good friend earlier than on the actual day. At least I’m assured that I don’t have to wait until after the actual day - because that will ruin the surprise. As we both rushed on our respective assignments, we caught up for a while and promised that we’ll hang out at a later time.
Our team and I run amok when the tutor gently chided us that we barked up the wrong tree for our assignment. I honestly don’t know how we managed to do it, but we were able to come up with a backup plan in that two-hour period and nailed everything in the span of over the weekend. The arrangement left one of the mates with a heavier workload as it correlated with his original topic. Although he didn’t say anything about it, we saw the horror and resignation in his eyes. Me being me, I offered to help out on half of the assignment. I’ve no idea how my teammates coped, but I spent so many late nights refining my section that I had to peel myself away from it and take a breath.To cut a long story, I’m relieved that we survived the sudden dose of stress and lots of fine-tuning.
The remaining weeks of spring break weren’t smooth-sailing either. Since Corporate Law’s assignment was done and dusted, it was time for me to focus on the ones in ADR. A presentation and a final research essay. I’d like to think I was alright, but, in actual fact, it almost sent my anxiety level through the roof. I was so worried that I couldn’t do up to my standards and on time.
I almost lost my jaw when I read the course outlines and noticed that the rest of the assignments were due at around the same time. It was manageable with careful time management, but I wasn’t pleased either. I don’t like to hand up everything at the last minute. I like something that is transitional… like a build up to the final assignment. I don’t know what would’ve happened if the lecturer didn’t extend the deadline for one of the assignments, though.
The presentation that we had for ADR was alright. I can’t say that it was a success because we suffered a couple of minor hiccups along the way. We had our separate assignments to tackle concurrently, which actually divided my head into three different places. I felt that I let my team down in the way that I coordinated everything. I’m sure a better leader would’ve foreseen what was to come and prevented it before it occurred, but I guess it was what it was. For reasons that I won’t publicly reveal, I offered to swap with another teammate to play the role of a pregnant employee. Yes, you read that right. A pregnant employee. I didn’t sacrifice my reputation per se because I don’t know that many law students, which is a good thing in itself, plus it’s not very often that I’m able to delve into a little bit of acting. I know that something was wrong when I couldn’t address the audience until after the presentation was over. Seeing that the lecturer and audience didn’t dislike it, I guess it was alright in the end. I’m sure that with more practice and time, we’d have been able to refine our roles further and smoothen it to perfection. Maybe I’d have asked someone to record it without inciting the lecturer’s suspicion.
Time has flown faster than I expected, much to my benefit and fear. It meant that in three months or so, it’d be my final year and the prospect of entering the workplace wasn’t pleasing. But that is not to say that I want to be a student for life. It’s just impossible. There will be a day in time when I’ve to be financially independent and responsible. Things took a sharp turn towards the end of the semester, which caught me wondering whether I drove past the warning signs and crash-landed. I mean, I knew that the aura was different, but I chose to ignore it temporarily because I knew that I would not like the answer, should it be revealed.
Have I mentioned above that I had weird dreams about visiting someone in a clinic and furniture shopping? As I later learned, both carry its own meaning, but I didn’t spend the time recording the contents of the dream to interpret the subconscious messages that my brain wanted to send over.
I would still like to think that having a paper early in the examination period would allow me more time off, but as this semester has illustrated, it might not work in my favor all the time. The panic about the paper coupled with the inability to sleep the night before sent the stress straight into the deepest pit of my brain. I remembered that I groaned when I first looked at the exam schedule: the research essay was due first, followed by the submission of the take-home assignment, and the Corporate exam almost immediately.
No wonder my sister described the journey as the highway to hell.
To be honest, multitasking the exam revision with the take-home assignment should have been manageable, seeing that I had the experience in college. Yet, it wasn’t to be. I’d like to think that someone momentarily possessed my brain during the exam because I lost concentration, but it’s most likely due to negligence and exhaustion.
A sign that I’m slowly throwing in the towel? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m not even sure myself.
Since the coast was unofficially clear for me, I decided to hide myself in the residence and only emerge from my hiding hole for necessary matters, such as grocery shopping and the like. It was a much-needed respite for me because I needed to give the heart and brain a break. Catching up with the usual bunch would have been alright, but seeing that we each have our own things to deal with, I figured that it was better this way. It was better to leave everyone be and meet up when we were feeling more refreshed and relaxed.
Although the academic results were released a day or two earlier than the projected date, it took me a while to have a look at it. You could say that I wasn’t confident enough, but the truth is that I knew everything would be revealed once I participated in the exam viewing. I chickened out at the eleventh hour and relied on the grades released on the portal instead. There wasn’t any way for me to find out who the market was. But whoever the person was, s/he must’ve been kind enough to give that surprising grade. This was the subject that I feared the most, especially after the tiny mishaps.
On the other hand, I managed to publish the ebook after taking my own sweet time and multiple plot changes. The original plot focused on the campus grounds of Taylor’s Lakeside with four students - three domestic students, one international student on exchange. Each of them were confused little brats in their own right and struggled to overcome their individual hardships in the chaotic world of university. The refined version involved me skimming a lot from the original draft and focusing on a different plot, so there you go.