It’s Friday night, and I am in the hallowed halls of the third floor law library, enjoying the silence and emptiness that both reminds me I am dedicated to my work and I have no social life.
I’m definitely OK with the first, and the second doesn’t really bother me yet.
Oddly enough, I’m learning to love studying in the library. I’ve always loved libraries, but until a few weeks ago, I never felt like I could study here very well. It seemed too forced, too cold and unforgiving.
But now that I’ve softened my discipline and given in to the temptation of sleep when I should be studying, I’ve discovered that the forced stiffness and unforgiving coldness of the library keeps me focused and encourages productivity.
So far, this semester has been… simply going. It’s not been as horrible, nor as noteworthy, as I had been expecting. I have survived weeks of less than five hours of sleep each night, read around 1,600 pages, taken two exams, and written three papers. It’s been like a continuous marching into the cold. Each mile marched seems colder and harder than the previous: cold feet begin to hurt, soreness settling in deeper with each step; legs start giving way as the weight they hold up seems to increase with each movement; breathing becomes more painful and sharp as the cold increases and the lungs tire. The saving numbness that inevitably comes softens the sharpness, while simultaneously increasing the deadness that each step seems to bring closer.
I’d never felt overwhelmed until Fall Break. I worked over 50 hours on writing a paper that seemed determined to elude me. I cannot ever remember experiencing writer’s block more acutely. Headaches, fatigue, slight depression – mostly felt only for a few hours before final papers would be due in undergraduate work. This was a new beast for me.
Until that point, I’d been keeping up in class for the most part, I felt like I could keep up with the material and concepts (with the occasional crazy topic throwing me) for the most part, and, dare I say, I was beginning to think that law school really wasn’t that tough…
Then came the paper.
God gave me strength to finish it, and somehow I have survived the past two weeks before it was due. I handed it in on Wednesday, and I’ve never been so thankful to be finished with a project as I was for this!
I am rambling.
That’s ok… I rarely get to indulge in rambling thoughts anymore. They all must be structured in IRAC form: Issue, Rule, Analysis, and Conclusion. Briefs, papers, thoughts. Boring? Maybe. I rather enjoy it. But I do miss the creative writing that I was able to do in the last few years.
This week has made me realize how quickly time has been passing since I’ve come to school. It has already been three months almost. I feel like it has been less than two weeks some days and a lifetime.
So many contradictions.
I wanted to go to a student-hosted bonfire tonight with the 1L class, but then I felt tired this afternoon and decided I’d rather sleep, then I remembered that I hadn’t outlined Torts or Contracts in over a month, and finals are coming up in about a month, and… here I am in the library.
I love being surrounded by so many books. Three floors of books, rows and rows of law reviews, law encyclopedias enough to keep me busy for ten lifetimes, horn books and treatises in abundance, everywhere I look is some gem of legal theory, explanation, or decided law.
I am meant to be here. I love this life. As pathetic as it sounds, I love being able to throw myself wholeheartedly into my studies. I am so deliciously independent right now – no one is depending on me, no one is adversely affected if I put in 15 hour study days, I can bring my work home with me, and if I want to, I can spend the rest of my life inside the library eating up information as fast as my greedy mind can grab it.
The only regrettable aspect of law school that I can see right now is its constant demands on my time. The steady deluge of assignments and mostly reading, keeps me focused on Contracts, Torts, Civil Procedure, Property, and Christian Foundations of the Law instead of those whom I’m here fighting for.
But I’m trusting God to maintain that passion – I know it is not gone, it is simply taking backseat to my learning. Once I learn more, I will be able to apply what I am learning to the problem, and I will become fully engaged again.
Honestly, it feels amazingly good to know that I am, right this minute, doing something to prepare myself for that fight. Knowing the fight will never lessen, the intensity will only increase, is both scary and thrilling. I cannot imagine going back now, nor do I want to. If I let myself, I can become worried about whether I’ll have the strength to continue, but then I remind myself that worrying about my strength is wasting what strength God has provided.
To wrap this up (after all, I really DO need to start outlining the elements of assault and battery…!!!), I’d have to say that I’ve finally found my niche. And it is at the corner table near a window on the third floor of the law library with my laptop, apple, Poptarts, 2 liter bottle of water, and books.