It’s Not All Glitz and Glam

As much as I am amused by the idea that life as an overprivileged exchange student is full of stimulating discussions between great international minds and jetsetting around to exciting and exotic destinations, I have to admit that for the past few days I have been stressed. I haven’t been doing the right things to prevent it from all bubbling over. As usual, my stress has manifested itself in the usual ugly ways: caffeine consumption, late nights (read: almost mornings), increased portion sizes, weepy phone calls to busy boyfriend, annoyance with hardworking peers and worst of all, continued self-sabotage. Ah, good old big P, you are my nemesis and yet, I am your life force. Damn you, Procrastinator Demon.

Thankfully, some of that procrastinating energy went into some summer job planning. Even though I had written down the magic acronyms on my to-do list, I still managed to forget to fill out the appropriate forms. So what better time than 3:30 a.m. on a Saturday night when you’re meant to work on an essay?

As usual I am flexible with what I would like to do with my summer so long as it is challenging and enriching. I’m proud to say that I’ve always had meaningful summer jobs that have done more than beef up my CV. No doubt, they look good on paper because they are quality jobs! This year, I’ve got both relatively orthodox and wacky ideas. Either way, my plans are fluid and relaxed. Don’t get me wrong, I always take the requisite steps and work hard to attain and maintain a position; but I rarely have very rigid ideas of what I must do in between scholastic terms.

So here’s to finding something that is both intellectually and socially fulfilling. Here’s to building up to another summer of feeling like I’ve learnt something I couldn’t learn inside a classroom while contributing to something important.

Back home, most of my law school colleagues are far more stressed about their Summer 2006 plans since the whole On-Campus Interview (OCI) game is well underway. Even though I’d like to lend a supporting shoulder to those who view the summer job hunt as a stage in career development, I’m quite happy to not have to witness the ritual of second year students building themselves up often only to be clobbered down by the Bay St. bat.

Also, I’d get tired of answering the whole, “WHAT?! You’re not participating in OCIs?!”-thing. Even though a stark left/right dichotomy is imagined (you’d think that such over-educated people would have understood the concept of intersectionality and ideological spectra, but think again!), sometimes there is palpable antagonism coming from either “side.” (God, I can’t believe I called them “sides”. How about sides of a spectrum? :P )

I got royally peeved a few weeks ago when a friend speculated that her business-oriented courses would be much more competitive because (I’m paraphrasing here), “those at the bottom of the curve will be in all the social justice and human rights courses.”

Of course, being an annoying anal retentive person, I had to point out that if social justice is even an identifiable category of legal study, typically, human rights law would fall into that area. I also wondered about where subjects like black letter subjects like labour and family law fit in considering that some people may be driven to practice strictly on the management side in the case of the former and for rich gold diggers in relation to the latter. More importantly, I questioned the faulty assumptions behind such a ludicrous statement.

I feel bad for picking on that particular friend’s slip-up (Sorry, dear!), but it is a worthy example of the scathing judgements commonly directed at the law students who actively paths less-travelled. Frankly, if such routes were busier, there would likely be far fewer depressing social problems to tackle. I suppose if I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t want to head in that general direction.

As much as I recognize that people (within and without law school) will inevitably judge each other’s life choices, it is important to me to challenge unnecessary antagonisms. The “other side” may be much more like you than you think in academic standing, work ethic, even in social and political beliefs.

And so, I go back to writing my *ahem* human rights law assignment that may conclude by advising Singapore to not *gasp* ratify the Rome Statute dealing with the International Criminal Court. See? Nothing is entirely as it seems.

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