Introspection in isolation
Updated: Jul 16, 2020
Throughout COVID 19, I find myself hitting pause, which is a curveball – especially as a law student. Rarely do we get the chance to take a breather or a moment to step back. Even though I've been dealing with feelings of loss, I have realised during six weeks of isolation that taking a moment to reflect is powerful. This pause has allowed me to do some much-needed reflection and reassessment. Other than exchanging memes, what has sustained me during this period of isolation?
Coffee is a no brainer, as is taking the opportunity to look back at my law degree. If you're a law student and haven't looked back wishing there was a time you worked harder, are you even a law student? Oddly, this isn't your next hypothetical law exam question. The answer is no.
To the relief of my tutors and myself, I can see that I've grown. I'm no longer that entitled year 12 school captain that thought I was the golden child. I've learned that due diligence is real and not just applicable in my studies – but all aspects of my life. I've learned that I have value, which should imprint itself throughout my understanding and experience in the legal field. Admittedly, there was a time where I felt uncertain about my place in law. However, during this pandemic time almost feels disposable. I realise that it's time for me to level up and take up space in the legal profession even if I do so one day at a time.
Speaking of things that take one day at a time, especially not the night before they're due, let's talk about assessments. As we go through our degrees, there are things we know that we shouldn't be doing, like leaving that assignment to the last minute, not doing readings, not giving our very best. Although we can manage these as time goes on, this is a great time to reflect on what some things you need to do to avoid the significant obstacles that you keep stumbling across. Do you need to practice your organisational skills? Is this the time to reorganise your folders? Sometimes the smallest changes can make a huge difference. Use this time to complete the small tasks that you know if you do, will be incredibly helpful once you get back to it.
Maybe even turning your back on thirstposting on Instagram will be a valuable place to start. It can be so painfully uncomfortable being an introvert and engaging in shameless self-promotion. LinkedIn has been something I've long neglected. However, I'm beginning to realise that it's not something I should look at with annoyance. It's a tool – and if harnessed correctly, it can be a very beneficial tool. With more free time, this is an excellent time to work on my resume & make my LinkedIn profile less cringeworthy. It can feel especially embarrassing when you're trying your best to get your career off the ground. Yet, you become more familiar with it every day. But I don't want to slump around or be involved in activities that aren't taking me where I want to go. I should be focusing on the 20% of the crucial things that will get me 80% of the results. The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, stipulates that roughly 80% of the events come from 20% of the causes. As such, I am reviewing where I typically spent most of my time during law school. Now I am hopefully redirecting it to more salient areas of my life. Yeah, you bet I only want to focus on the main things.
Mainly, friendships. Raise your hand if you have sat through an entire semester of law with someone you had every intention of seeing outside of class, and they were genuinely great. Okay now raise your hand if you never spoke to them again. Too real! This trimester was one where I decided I was going to be more intentional about making friends. I decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to attend all my classes in person. Also, I stopped being the student that goes in and out of tutorials like a silent assassin – seen by no one. Changing this behaviour was a great move because once COVID hit, I have fellow law students to talk to during this time. Being able to connect with friends, ask for help regarding assignments and talking about our favourite Korean dramas has pulled me through. Shout out if you've ever seen Secret Garden because it's unforgettable and impossibly romantic. Sorry men, but my standards are unforgivably high now. Either find me in a snowstorm or don't come for me at all.
Admittedly, I have fallen out of love with generic posts on how to survive COVID-19.
However, this sacred confessional about what being a law student in this time feels like has taught me the importance of connecting first with myself before connecting with others. A lesson that studying at law school rarely imparts on us.