Friday, December 10, 2010

My struggle

Other law students in my classes have a serious advantage on me this semester. It all comes down to my struggle: inability to focus. This is serious. I stare my computer for hours, wasting away time playing WordTwist or obsessively scouring facebook for new or missed updates from people I haven't spoken to in years. I read about feminism and racism and chat with Fox News readers in the comments section of the DREAM Act articles. (My new nickname, which I like to think of as a term of endearment: "Troll.")

What I don't do is work. I should be either (a) outlining for my two remaining seated exams or (b) completing my take-home exam due on Monday night. On any given day, however, I spend anywhere from 2-4 total hours doing actual, honest-to-God work. On days that I don't have something due the next morning, that number hovers around 2. And it's inexcusable given that I have the entire day to get work done.

This isn't some cheery, "oh, you know LAW SCHOOL" post about how annoying this work is and how much of it there is. This is a real struggle that I'm dealing with. I'm so proud of myself when I get twenty minutes of work done that I take the next hour off, which inevitably ends up in me getting into something that distracts me until dinnertime or some other clear break in the day.

The thing is that I'm smart. I know that I am. I'm very capable of learning new and complex concepts and I learn them well under pressure. But it's a razor-thin line between "works well under pressure" and "waited to the last minute and paid for it." I'm pretty good at walking that line, but I can be clumsy. And even when I gracefully tip-toe my way to firmer ground, it's a nerve-wracking and time-consuming experience. And I can't help but wonder how I'd do if I wasn't constantly fighting this internal battle.

Some of this may just be an innate difficulty concentrating. Some of it may have to do with poor time management, and the desne reading material. Some of it may have to do with my resentment of law school, a passive-aggressive refusal to take this all seriously. Some of this is probably burnout. And some of this problem may even harken back to childhood, a regressive re-experiencing of the pressure that was placed upon me as "the Smart One" in my family at a very young age. Some of this all may be excuses. I suspect all of the above are true, to some degree.

All I know is that the longer I sit here distracting myself, the worse I feel. And the madder I get that it's another Friday night, another one of a limited number of weekends in my life that will be dedicated to this struggle. I feel like I'm missing out on life, and that, for me, is the hardest part of law school. Even as a 3L.