Are you married to the law?
Any law student who tells you they’re single is wrong. We’re all in committed, sometimes unhealthy, relationships. The law and I have been together for five and a half years, and like every relationship we’ve had our ups and downs.
It starts off great. You can’t stop thinking about the possibilities the future holds for the two of you. Your friends (who are studying far less attractive degrees) are secretly jealous; you’re the life of every party; your parents are really happy for you.
Months pass and the honeymoon period ends with an argument about referencing. The gloss starts to rub off and the look on your parents’ faces sours from elation to mild concern. You start to feel like a shell of your former self.
Saturday night rolls around, but you and Law decide to stay in. There’s a lot to do tomorrow – assignments, readings, study. Sometimes, the night ends in a screaming match and books being thrown across the room.
The big things (exams and assessments) seem to matter less and less as time goes on. Remember how much effort you put into your first law assessments, and how much harder you could have tried last semester? What about appearance? You don’t see many first years loafing about in Ugg boots, hair unbrushed and looking like they haven’t slept. Diet has gone out the window, too.
Other days, you get the feeling that you’re putting a lot more in than what you’re getting out of the relationship. A credit? But I spent hours baking that essay!
After a particularly bad day you might even flirt with your other options: medicine, engineering, a South American holiday. But you know you’re going stay together.
Eventually you realise that your savings plan has also taken a hit and you’re in considerably more debt than you were at the start of the relationship. Law demands all sorts of trinkets to stay happy: expensive books, pretty highlighters, exorbitant uni fees.
But, of course, the relationship has its good times, like when you get a distinction on an assignment and feel like you have it all worked out. Also, Law has some pretty funny stories you don’t mind hearing again and again, like that classic tale about a snail in a ginger beer bottle. On the other hand, Law also tells some pretty boring stories – you hear that one about ASIC and Adler ALL THE TIME.
After five years of courtship (yep), things are starting to get serious. Where do you go from here? So like other couples, you decide to commit. In fact, you’ll find that being admitted as a solicitor is a lot like a wedding. For starters, you have a lawyer to “give you away” to the court. There are “vows”, tears and an “I do” at the end. Your parents are beaming with pride and you might get cold feet if you weren’t so inspired by the momentousness of the occasion.
So it turns out that being a lawyer is a lot like being married… except in this relationship you have multiple Partners to keep happy.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: This story was first published on Survive Law on 28 June 2011.
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