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A Law Student’s Relationship with Time

The Tardis Doctor Who

I have a strange relationship with time. I don’t have two hearts, or travel through time and space in a blue police box. That said, my relationship with time doesn’t feel ordinary, and I think the difficulty that time and I have with each other is centred on study. Just like any relationship, we have ups and downs, but I’m starting to think that I should be giving time a little bit more attention…

Time seems to get the better of me every semester. It always starts out with the best intentions, but very soon the days become a blur and the weeks don’t hang around for long either. Before I know it, I’m reliving the all too familiar feelings of dread when I realise: “Oh no, it’s mid-semester/STUVAC/exam time already, and I haven’t done what I need to!”

The sudden realisation that a deadline has come around much sooner than expected is probably the worst feeling of law school. When you look back at how many days you spent doing other things (whether important or not), you realise that even though it seems like it’s just disappeared on you, you know you’re the one at fault for not giving time the attention it needs.

It’s usually around this stage that my attention to time kicks into overdrive, and I try to squeeze as much as possible into the limited hours of the day. Often it feels good: I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished more than I should have in the time I’d just spent. Other occasions, such as working on an assignment the night before a 10am deadline, will bring with it a sense of impending doom.

I’ve concluded that perception is the key. Your perception of time available drastically influences how you spend it and how you will perceive it when it’s gone. Even how much time you think you should have can seriously affect you. When I look at people that seem to accomplish a lot, I wonder, how much time do they have? Why isn’t time hanging out with me more often? Why does time seem to cut me short? Clearly I suffer some serious time envy.

It’s reasonable to conclude that stress is probably an underlying catalyst in my relationship with time. Stress can certainly cause an otherwise mild-mannered law student to write and study faster than humanly possible, but it can bring us to our knees as well. We may be pretty good at cramming, and it may feel sometimes like you’re bending time at your whim when you’re on a roll – but sometimes that’s just a misguided perception, and you’ll look up from your textbook at 2am and wonder where the night went. Maybe law textbooks are our own very own versions of Doctor Who’s Tardis or Hermione Granger’s Time-Turner?

So I realise I’ve just spent a fair chunk of time contemplating how to describe my erratic relationship with time… Maybe it’s time to get back to those textbooks.

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