Saturday, December 02, 2006


My friend Caitlin, at the bank where I used to work in Pittsburgh, once told me I was "entirely too functional." I've been called Martha Stewart, which anyone who's ever lived with me can tell you isn't a very apt analogy, and I've been told that I talk like a self-help book. I realized the other day that I've never said "I hate you" to anyone, even if that's how I felt at the time. I'm just... careful. I care about being emotionally healthy and I care about other people being emotionally healthy. And here in law school, I feel a lot of pressure to stop doing that.

Exams are coming very soon. Our first one is in nine days, and I have a lot of work to do to be prepared for it. Anxiety, for me, is nearly a binary condition: either I have it or I don't. If I do, it's pretty debilitating, but most of the time I don't. Accordingly, my goal for these exams is to make absolutely sure that I'm not anxious going into them.

To be calm on the big day, I have to be prepared: that's a given. But I also have to be relaxed in a larger sense. My life has to be in order as much as it can be. That means, as exams approach, I'm not going to give up sleep, or laundry, or showering, or washing dishes. I'm not going to live in the library. I have to do the things that make me feel like me, and if that means less time spent studying, that's fine with me.

I knew all along that this would be the approach I'd have to take to preparing for exams, and I knew it would be difficult. I hate walking through the halls at school and hearing everyone talking about how late they were up last night outlining. It kind of makes me miss the attitude that infuriated me so much when I was an undergrad: then, we all did work, but we all pretended that we didn't. I have to learn not to let other people worry me so much.

The take-home lesson here for me is: yes, I'm entirely too functional, and I'm fine with that. And after exams are over, and when I get my grades in the spring, I'll still be functional. That knowledge—not any desire to beat my classmates to the best grade—is what's going to get me through the next few weeks.


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