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2nd Verse Same as the 1st?

As this semester began, some older students cautioned against any feeling of accomplishment for making it through the first semester.  They would warn that the work only gets tougher and more voluminous.  I nodded in apparent understanding of their admonishments.  I had heard that it doesn’t get any easier; one just learns how to manage, how to adapt.  Adapting, after all, is what we (humans) should excel at.  Having trudged steadily through the annals time into this upright posture, and thereafter spread into and occupied every conceivably habitable locale.  Surely I could share in this proud and timeless tradition.  If the Inuit and Icelandic could scrounge centuries of life from cold and icy climes, surely I could find life and energy in this austere, scholastic place.   I knew there were many things I could improve from the semester before (like write some actual briefs).  I was convinced that I would execute every bit of law school life with more confidence and discipline.  It was almost a regression to the puerile wishy-washy hopes I had when I moved out here.  I should have known better.

If first semester – indeed, life in general – taught me anything, it should be that everything requires effort.  And some things require a herculean effort.  I was not about to simply fall into more adept patterns of study.  In fact, I fell further from anything characterizable as such. The 2nd verse, it seems is worse than the first.  Not only have I fallen further behind schoolwork than ever last semester, but my friends at school notice an absence, my roommates stopped trying to include me in events – assuming, apparently, that I will be uninterested or otherwise occupied, any hobbies have fallen completely by the wayside – I no longer regularly attend Thursday music sessions at the Freight House or take random drives or hikes, I haven’t seen any plays or read anything extraneous to school, I haven’t been blogging or writing, I haven’t been in closer contact with family – who needs support more than ever, my partner, back at home, and I continue to grow apart despite our efforts to communicate, and I generally feel worse and worse about myself and my decision to come here.   That is not meant as a scary warning, it is simply the truth of my experience right now.  I have talked with a number of people uncertain they made the right choice of coming here.  And by coming here, I really mean coming to law school – not coming to VLS.  At least for me, that’s the real issue.  I came to law school uncertain it was the direction for me.  I simply wanted a vocation that allows me to serve worthy causes – to help people, strive for justice, and create a better relationship with the environment.  There are endless ways to accomplish those ends.  A simpler life may not have been so terrible.  As far as VLS is concerned, I don’t really know that my experience would be any better anywhere else. Certainly, no other law school could offer ‘a simple life’ the way one in South Royalton can.

However, the rural setting is a stress source as well, more so than I expected.  I can imagine, perhaps, being slightly better acclimated if I had the diverse and abundant distractions of a city to turn to.  If I could wander out after exhaustive readings and see some music with a drink or chat with friends who have no idea what law school is, and don’t care.  I am well aware that Vermont is filled with things to do.  My first semester, I dove into exploring the new area.  Now its not so new, but there is plenty I haven’t done.  I suppose it’s more about the motivation and determination to get out.  For example, I had a pass to Stowe, which went underused.  I needed to go 5 times to save money from buying the season pass.  I went only 3 times.  For weeks I told myself that I couldn’t afford the time to go alone, but really I didn’t want to go alone.  I wanted a partner.  I went once with a friend.  I made plans to go with others but they always fell through.  I managed to go twice by myself, and it turned out fine, indeed enjoyable, both times.  I maybe would have fit a few more in if the winter weren’t so weak.  But I didn’t.  The point is that it took a lot of pushing, and eventually the parental push of an older roommate, to get me going to Stowe alone.  But it was fun.

Maybe, that’s the answer.  Maybe I need to strive to cultivate a more confident inner enjoyer.  Enjoyer is a word I’ve never used, but apparently spell check recognizes it.  Perhaps I need to be a better solo enjoyer.  More accurately, I need to be able to get myself out better, even by myself.  And that will have to come at the cost of time devoted to schoolwork, which I am also behind on, significantly.  But it may help with my overall feeling and life here.  Everything gets impossibly huge so quickly when all the pressure of school is put on top of it.  I need to learn when to ignore that pressure, and of course remember when to respect it.

Maybe I’ve only confused everyone, but I believe I’m learning, right now, how to adapt a little better to life here.  It involves big changes, a lot of responsibilities, and a lot of stress.  An hour ago I left a meeting with Dena Mark Mihaly.  The deans apparently divied up the 1L class so that each students had a personal meeting to discuss . . . whatever.  The emails mentioned discussing how the year was going.  The first thing I talked about, were some of the more personal struggles I’ve been having.  Such discussion is far from easy for me.  But, Mihaly is a warm, understanding, and charming character.  I immediately began describing some of my more intimate difficulties here.  I suppose I have needed to talk things out more than I ever could have guessed.  Happily the short chat with Mihaly has already encouraged me to write my first real blog of the semester.  Though only 3 weeks remain, maybe I can pull it together.  Hopefully.


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