Volume 10, Issue 10
Hiatus: (noun) a pause or break in continuity in a sequence or activity.
Hello semester two, I see you, and you’re putting up a good fight. Yeah, the sheen of first year has worn off; clerkships have crept their way into my life, and keeping up with subjects and research papers is just downright exhausting. And then, when three days before clerkship applications were due a close family member took his own life, I almost let you win, semester two. Almost. But you see, I discovered the best way to remedy you- the Hiatus.
I am the first to admit I say yes to far too many things; social, extracurricular and academic. And I’ve always (stubbornly and stupidly) maintained that I’m not a quitter. So, when I found out about my cousin’s death, I wasn’t emotional. I mean, physically, it hurt – it felt like someone reached into the middle of my abdomen, took some vital stabilising organ, and then just bailed on me and my open wound. It still does feel like that. However, I wasn’t emotional, because it simply wasn’t practical – I had shit to do. Yet, once I submitted that last application, all those pesky human feelings crept in. Every time I sat down to study my brain would start asking ‘Why couldn’t he see how much we all loved him?’ ‘Why couldn’t he feel my love?’ ‘Should I have tried harder?’ ‘Did he die thinking we didn’t care?’ I’d take the Consti take home exam a million times over than have to experience a minute of these kind of thoughts.
Safe to say, I felt defeated. So, I decided to take a Hiatus, and here’s what I learnt. Firstly, please don’t think you have to experience the death of a loved one in order to feel defeated – sometimes it’s accumulative. The straw that breaks the camel’s back can be an average mark, or forgetting you were on call in class (take note teachers- this is v stressful), or accidentally sleeping through your alarm. And that’s completely okay. Seriously, you’re the best (and only) judge of how you’re feeling and you do not need to justify them with excuses. Secondly, feeling defeated is not permanent, and you can remedy that feeling.
So, if that camel’s back breaks, here’s what I’d suggest: Let it.
Go find people that love you, let them know how you’re feeling, and do not return to MLS for at least 48 hours. If you’re going to miss class, email your teachers to let them know (they’re real humans, guys!), and then turn off your phone. Ignore the people messaging ‘Why aren’t you in class?!’; ‘Oh my god I cannot get my readings done this week!’, because once that camel’s back is broken, these problems are not problems. They’re luxuries.
Do what makes you feel good – go for a walk, hang out with your dog, or just lie in bed for hours staring at that weird crack on your window pane that kinda looks like Dobby. But the main point is – forget you study law. Please please please, give yourself permission to fall a week or two behind, and opt to get on top of what’s going on in your brain and that weird tight knotty feeling near your diaphragm (we’ve all felt it). Personally, I believe a Hiatus will benefit you more than reading Work Choices before you get to class. Yeah, this is not going to magically fix your problems – we signed up for the JD and eventually will have to get back to working hard. But, I can guarantee the Hiatus will make it a lot easier to be inside your brain. And that’s so important.
So let’s accept that we don’t have to be 100% on 100% of the time, and embrace the Hiatus. And as a side note – screw you semester two, we got this.
Dominique Logan is a second-year JD Student
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