2012 ended quite fittingly for the unluckiest law student.
In fact, the event that caused me several facial bruises and grazed hands is also a brilliant metaphor for my experience of fourth year law.
The thing about life (and skate boards) is that one minute you’re spectacularly rolling down a hill in full flight and the next second you’ve hit a rock and landed face first in the gutter.
Over my first three years of law school I have become skilled in damage control due to my detailed and organised plans being regularly steamrolled by reality. In the lead up to my fourth year of law I thought experiences in surviving home invasions, thieves, car fires, crazy housemates and blood poisoning would surely prepare me for any mishaps life might throw my way.
The first hurdle was semester one assessment time. I approached it with special circumstance forms at the ready and an emergency first aid kit by my side. I was overly prepared. The first sign of trouble was my equity assessment and the unwitting deletion of footnotes, which took about 6 hours to fix.
Next, I felt the telltale signs of pleurisy, so I went and obtained a doctors certificate. I even toughed through a spider bite to attend a compulsory class. “Ha!” I thought, “Murphy’s law won’t get the better of me this year!”
However, once again, it turned out that I’d severely underestimated devious Murphy. There was a health scare in my family, a close friend was hospitalised, and a long lost relative turned up, reigniting a family feud that began before I was born. Then there was the time a stranger fell off his (you guessed it) skate board in front of me, breaking his leg and needing to be driven to hospital, just a few hours before my Child Law assessments were due.
Despite all my previous misadventure experience, it turns out the saying “practice makes perfect,” was only half right in this instance. But that isn’t to say it has all been for nothing.
While it seems I may not be able to be prepared for every obstacle that comes my way, over the past year year I have learned to identify and accept what I can and can’t do when life presents me with unexpected circumstances. Most importantly, I have learned that it is okay to utter the two words that most law students find impossible to say: “I can’t”.
Saying, “I can’t” will not cause your grades to crash, your life to end or the world to stop spinning. Most lecturers, believe it or not, would actually prefer you to say when it is not possible for you to do something rather than have you hand in a so-so assignment a week late.
While it may sometimes feel like your law degree is the only thing in your life, it isn’t. Everyone has jobs, friends, families, commitments, extra curricular activities and other priorities. It’s often only a matter of time until the daily juggling act goes awry.
If you’ve been also unlucky in law and have had a hard time surviving law school, you’re not alone. Let 2013 be the year for picking yourself up, having a laugh and getting on with it. Even if this means, at least in my case, typing an article with your nose.
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