Vol 13 Issue 3
By Jackson Willows
I’m a first-year JD student and I’m 24 years old. I haven’t done much difficult stuff in my life - I studied Arts in my Undergrad. Safe to say, the JD will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I’ve got a bad habit of not being able to finish things. Just a few examples: I studied to be a personal trainer in 2012. I didn’t even finish my gap year. I started in the new Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree at ANU, but the economics was too hard so I dropped out. I tried managing a café but the work was hard and the hours were long, so I went back to study. Finally, I transferred into Arts after three semesters off and managed to make it through to graduation last year. Add to those my attempt at the Hunt Bikes Snowy Mountains 1000 in 2016 and my thru-hike attempt of the Larapinta Trail last winter (both ended in injury) and you can see a trend. I’ve started many more things than I’ve finished. I’m hoping to change that.
The JD should be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, otherwise my life won’t be a progression. Ideally, each new thing a person tries should be the hardest thing they’ve done up to that point. That doesn’t mean it must be objectively hard, just that it must be harder than the last thing they did. When I learned to ride a bike at 18, a 20 km ride was hard for me, but within six months I was riding a fixie up Kunanyi/Mount Wellington – probably the hardest thing I have ever done. Each ride along the way was a progression. I’m hoping the JD is going to be something of another mountain: physically and mentally difficult, quite steep, unrelenting and sufficiently rewarding at the end. I hope for your sake it has been or will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
So, why have I decided to tell you about it? There’s no stand-out reason. I want to be a staff writer with De Minimis and I need to write semi-regular pieces to do that. I’d like to make myself publicly accountable so that I take my own commitment seriously. It’ll be good to have some platform where I can straighten out my thoughts and practice my writing skills. Writing for De Minimis will also give me something to post on my barren blog.I can’t guarantee quality writing (this is awful and I’m not even procrastinating desperately), but I can guarantee 600-800 words twice a semester. God knows what I’ll end up writing about, but I am intending my articles to be a space where I can periodically check my own temperature - somewhere I can come back to, and remember why I’m doing what I’m doing.
I hope I’m not overstepping the mark in calling it a ‘column’. I don’t know ahead of time what it’s going to mean for me, but I’ll certainly know when I look back on it. Hopefully it won’t be a shallow account of my time as MLS. Maybe it will provide a relatable account of a JD student’s experience. Perhaps this is a lofty goal.Maybe you’ll find some value along the way.
This has all been a diversion. I’m supposed to tell you why I’m doing the JD. That’s tough. My reasons at the outset, as is the case for a lot of people, are a loosely associated clump that can’t be articulated precisely. I’d like a job when I graduate, to know more about how the country runs, to be progressing over the next three years, to be stimulated - and I didn’t want to do the GAMSAT. So here I am. It’s not very convincing, but at least it’s honest.
I’d say the JD, much like my writing this column and any other major decision you’ll make in life, will make a lot more sense retrospectively. Things only truly take their shape when we have had time to grapple with them and understand their greater significance in our lives. I’d like to assure those folks who might not be sure of why they’re here. There’s no shame in that and you’re not alone. I’m in the same boat, and in my outstretched hand is an oar.