Issue 4, Semester 2
By Ying Wong
Though it's only been a semester and a bit since I ensconced myself in the hallowed halls of this institution, this question has plagued me for some time.
Over the past few months I have found my ability to navigate social interaction and engage in quality #banter grind to a halt. I’m seeking reassurance as to whether anyone else feels the same way.
Perhaps it's all the reading and trying to make sense of long, complicated judgments for the greater part of any given day, but I've never been more stern and serious than at this moment. It has become second nature to approach all aspects of life through a lens of cynicism and stone-cold realism, when, in the past, the world seemed filled with endless possibility, art and the stuff of dreams.
It’s as if the cave-like, oppressive mood of the JD Silent Study Area has encroached on my ability to process information in any way that is not completely sober, and my only solace is to sit in the slightly brighter, slightly less silent, but still very intense Student Enrichment Centre to mellow things out. And when that’s your only solace, well, yeah, look, it’s depressing.
Unfortunately, (and perhaps consequently) what I find funny now has also dramatically decreased in quality and relatability.
Every so often I stop and realise that I'm spending my evenings relaxing by watching YouTube videos of a British man opening decades-old cans of food (it's fascinating), or procrastinating by playing a Sporcle quiz where you have to guess 197 world flags in under 20 minutes. Both activities fill me with bountiful joy, and yes, even laughter. When the comedic highlight of one's week is reading Lord Denning's musings on cricket in the summertime, it's clear that something is not quite right.
Obviously, when the comedic material you have to work with is of questionable value, striking conversation can be difficult. I cringe at my own attempts at light chatter. The other day, I was walking down the stairs with a classmate, and found myself thinking, 'Now would be the most opportune time to tell her about my favourite tap in the law building' (the cold one on Mezzanine). Needless to say, that conversation fell flat on its face and I'll probably never speak to her again. (That was a lie. She's my friend and she forgave me, but it was still awkward). As someone who used to work in sales and talked for a living, this is some disheartening shit.
The worst part is, if I ever produce a decent bit of wit, or successfully attempt banter, I'll replay it in my mind over and over to milk as much joy as I can get out of that single moment of blissful social interaction. Heck, typing it out just cements how pathetic my days are.
Key takeaway: it's easy to feel like you’re buried so deep in the metallic innards of the law school that you lose sight of yourself and who you truly are. And sometimes it's good to write a self-indulgent piece about how that makes you feel on a public forum. It's probably not going to make you any new friends, but at least now you have another embarrassing conversation-starter up your sleeve.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to share your own dull moments, if only to make me feel less ashamed of having just published my insecurities. Good luck with the upcoming semester.