Issue 1, Volume 18
Well bloody hell. You know friends, I have to say – and I hope that our more sensitive readers will forgive the harsh language here – but this whole global pandemic business is really getting me a bit miffed. For all the obvious reasons yes, but also because seven weeks ago I had hoped that we would have something a bit more uplifting to write for the ‘welcome to semester two’ editorial. As it turns out, it’s difficult to keep mining new and compelling insights out of the collective sentiment of “oh god, this is still going on.”
But, here we are again, staring down months of further lockdown and curfew, another semester learning through laptop screens and zoom windows. I’d like to make some sweeping statement to capture our collective feelings right now, but it happens that that is a bit tricky as well. For many of us, particularly those who have once again had our employment and livelihoods cut off, the familiar feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are doubtless returning. For others, we’ve discovered just how poorly crafted humans are to reside in the same psychological state for long periods, and have instead transcended to a grim resignation at the attenuated lives that we’re going to be living for the foreseeable future. But, however else we’re impacted, all of us are going to be feeling a loss of connection. To our work, our study, and to our community.
Because this pandemic has hurt the law school community. If nothing else, the simple opportunity cost of this disconnection has been severe; all of the goals we might have hoped to accomplish as individuals or from our student organisations, in our education, our careers, or for the various causes we stand for, and which have all been made that much more difficult this year. It has also cost us our relationships and the time we would have had together. I’m a third year, and although a lot of us are doing the familiar three-and-a-half-year extension, a lot of us are not. If, god willing, we finally get to set our feet back in the law building next February, some number of our old friends won’t be there anymore. We often tell ourselves that in the age of social media all our friendships are perpetual; that any relationship can be resurrected with a few keystrokes, but being honest I think we know that when we graduate, and go on to live different lives, that we’ll leave people behind. There are plenty of people who have been important to me, classmates who I sit next to, who I enjoy seeing, who I have in-jokes with, or even just who have been fixtures in my life for over two years, and who I won’t be seeing again.
Which is why in these times, it’s worth also reflecting those things that still bind the MLS community together. Despite our separation, there still is something that has drawn each of us to this place, our motivations are diverse, but they form together shared passions. Our difficulties and losses are hardships, but also contain the basis for solidarity. Spend an afternoon browsing the memes shared on our Facebook pages, or seeing instances of communal support – whether it’s somebody posting a link for a digital library book, or offering class swaps – you realise that the law building itself was never the heart of the law school.
As always, De Minimis and all of our writers will be here for you, hopefully pitching in a little bit to do our part – feeding you the occasional bit of light-hearted entertainment; the occasional intriguing story or tidbit; and if history is anything to go by, probably plenty of spicy controversy and drama in the comments section. We live in uncertain times, but that at least, seems like a safe bet.
Michael Franz is the Editor-in-Chief of De Minimis.