Posts Tagged ‘ law ’

A Cup of Exams with a Dash of Hope

Ladies and Gentlemen, that time of the year has come and gone – at least for me. The time where every one of us squares our shoulders, brace ourselves, and look ahead to our impending doom. The time where excuses are hurriedly invented in an attempt to escape the torture, mental breakdowns under the strain are common, and the stress leading up to it as well as actually undergoing it leaves you feeling distraught, fearful, depressed, and on occasion, murderous.

Despite popular belief, I am not referring to the Harry Potter 7 (Part 1) movie. I am referring to the dreaded curse that is exams.

All of us were students once. And unless you were extremely rich, extremely lucky, or extremely well-versed in playing truant, all of you would have done at least one exam in school. Some would have only done about 40. Others, around 100. The usual amount is often somewhere between 4917 and the number of times Taylor Lautner took off his shirt during the Twilight movies.

Including the times he wanted to rip it off, even when he wasn’t shooting Twilight.

It’s especially hard for us poor university students. Especially those doing law like me. Every single one of us aspires to perform with flying colours and score 7s. Every single one of us aims to smash every exam and assignment while mocking the stragglers, graduate with a HD, and go on to lead a highly successful and well-paid life as a lawyer/judge.

The truth, however, is far less bright and cheery. Many personal accounts by friends and colleagues within the UQ Law Faculty attest to claims that the subjects are extremely difficult. In fact, it was common consensus that for our last exam, Torts A, everyone’s marks were bumped up by 10% to prevent the majority of the students failing.

So, with that cheery thought in mind, I knuckled down to study for my exams, filled with such confidence that only a naive 17-year-old could hold.

I mean, come on. I still believe that David Beckham plays because of a love for the game. not the obscene amount of money.

But what I want to share with you, the readers, is what happened on my last exam. To give a little background information, this was a Torts B exam, open book, and worth 70% of our grade. No pressure. Our orders were to wait outside the exam venue until they called us in. The exam would start at 5.45pm.

I rocked up, feeling relaxed and confident. I even started chatting to some of my friends, discussing holiday plans. Exam? What exam? Bah, we’ll smash it!

Yep, life was good.

At around 5.30, a middle-aged man with a microphone began calling us in, reminding us that no entry was permitted without our Student ID Card. Those that didn’t have it would have to go to the UQ Student Centre and fill out an entry form (no, not to win a prize), and then return to the exam. No extra time will be permitted, and so on. The docking of precious time as well as the demeaning stares of the examiners, the UQ Centre staffers, and your fellow students would be punishment enough.

So, at the sound of the overweight man’s hollering, I grabbed my bag, pulled out my wallet, and opened it to find…

No Student ID.

I paused only for a second to double-check, looking up to meet my friend’s questioning eyes with a look of horror, and took off like the Batmobile to the Student Centre.

Or perhaps like the entire male gender when faced with the prospect of having to watch ‘The Notebook’.

Let’s put some things in context.For want of a better analogy (because I don’t watch movies much), remember Liam Neeson in Taken, where his character had to chase after a ship as it’s leaving with his kidnapped daughter? He had to run his heart out or else he would never see his daughter again. Well, my situation was similar in that I had to race to get the permission slip and return within 10 minutes, maybe even less, or else I would lose valuable time in my exam. And in a Law Exam, five minutes may been the difference between a pass or a fail.

But that’s where the differences end. Unlike Liam Neeson, I was not in my physical prime, but rather was a slightly overweight lad in skinny jeans and a heavy backpack. Additionally, I was not chasing after my daughter, but rather to sit an exam on time. But I was just as determined to get it.

Obviously, I must have misplaced my ID when I was replacing my cards yesterday, and I was thus up the proverbial creek without an ID. Now, the distance between the exam venue and the Student Centre would be around 200 metres. To me, it felt like an entire hemisphere away. Partly because I was stupendously unfit (the most physical activity I ever do was climbing a flight of stairs – and even then I get exhausted), and partly because my bag was filled with a file folder full of notes and a heavy textbook. Yeah, wise choice to bring it.

But finally, I made it to the Student Centre where thankfully I was the only non-staff member there. A guy in his early thirties sitting at his computer behind the counter asked in a dry voice: “What’s your Student Number?”

Lungs burning, I gasped it out, all the while trying not to collapse in exhaustion.

Slowly, the guy started to type, then turned back to me. “I’m sorry,” he said, speaking about as fast as a child who is learning to read. “What was it again?”

Recognising that perhaps my painful gasps could perchance have made my speech hard to understand, I repeated it.

Then, AGAIN, the man asked with the sluggishness of an injured turtle: “Sorry, 4-3-2 what?”

I said it out once more, swearing that I would disembowel him if he asked me again. I was convinced that he was doing it deliberately just to make me late, as punishment for not bringing my ID Card.

Finally, he muttered an “Oh, your exam is at 5.45” and strode off to retrieve the printout. Still panting heavily and now forced to wait for the Human Sloth to get the form, I decided to have another look inside my wallet. Here’s how my thought process went.

“Let’s see…Fifty bucks, my driver’s licence, my student ID, my…”

You’ve gotta be kidding me.

In the confusion of replacing my cards inside my wallet yesterday, I put my Student ID behind my driver’s license instead of in front of it, like I usually do. This meant that, when I opened my wallet to check my cards earlier, I saw my license and assumed my ID wasn’t there, when in reality it was inside all along. I let out a loud “DAMMIT!” much to my chagrin and the shock of another lady behind a computer. By that time, the staff member had returned with the now-unneeded permission slip. Catching sight of my ID card, he drolly commented, “Oh good, you found it.”

I didn’t have time to punch him as I stood up and bolted for the door, heading back to my exam venue. But the cheeky idiota even had the nerve to shout after me, in his mind-gratingly slow voice, “Don’t run! Walk!” I suppose that he thought that making kids late for exams and possibly ruining their lives was a fun thing to do.

Muttering threats under my breath, I started running back to the exam venue. To tell the truth, it was more like fast-walking / stumbling, on account of the fact that I had already used up my month’s supply of energy running there. My legs were cramping, my lungs were on fire, and I was sweating more than when I made sexist comments at a pro-women’s rights rally.

Apparently Popeye has a female counterpart….and she hits harder than a girl.

But somehow, through the grace of God, I arrived at the venue in time – they were still shepherding people inside. Usually, I would be ecstatic at finding my card and not being late, going as far as to be “…walking, and leaping, and praising God.” (Acts 3:8). Unfortunately, I only had energy to be doing the latter, though mentally I was thanking God to within an inch of my full brain capacity.

I stumbled inside, threw my bag down at the designated area and grabbed my notes, heading into the exhibition hall (it was an open book exam, don’t worry. I wouldn’t cheat – I don’t have the skills for it). And that’s when I found out that I wasn’t given a seat number, and as such, no seat. Without further ado, I swivelled around until I found the nearest examiner, and asked him where to get a seat number.

The examiner, a cantankerous old man who looked like he had much better things to do than to, oh, I don’t know, help people, pointed at the door and said “Get one from the guy at the door.” As I was leaving, he added a pointed “Obviously you weren’t listening!” I’m sure that he would have gone on talking about the state of the youth today and the rowdiness of pop music if I hadn’t walked away. But seriously, I wanted to inform him that I couldn’t have listened because I was off on a wild goose chase elsewhere. He probably wouldn’t have been interested anyway.

Oddly enough, he looked somewhat similar to this.

So, once that was all sorted out, I finally collapsed on my chair with my hair dishevelled, my top button undone, sweat pouring down my face, and breathing heavier than the monster in every scary movie when it’s right behind you. I think the girl next to me was giving me strange looks throughout the whole perusal period – either my sweaty and dishevelled demeanour and painful gasps for air made me look extremely handsome (very unlikely), or I looked like I was about to be sick (more likely). I was literally sweating all over my exam paper, so much so that I gave up trying to wring it dry after the fifth time.

In the end, though, I managed to get through the entire exam in one piece. In fact, I might hesitantly say that I would have done well. Apparently, adrenaline is a better boost than studying.

So kids, what have we learnt today?

  1. God, no matter what, can, and will, help you in your time of need. No real need to explain myself in this one: But for his help in (a) giving me the strength to stagger around the university, (b) making sure the student centre was empty, (c) allowing me to arrive back in time for the exam….and so on, I would never have been able to do as well as I would have, or even make the exam on time. Once again, all thanks be to God.
  2. The UQ staff, unlike the previous, will not. The staffer at the Student Centre moved and talked at the speed of the Flash…on sleeping pills. In fact, even his hearing wasn’t 100% – he was out to give me a hard time, I swear. And the old guy at the examination hall was simply despicable to me. If no one got the movie reference, I’m moving on. In summary, the staff at UQ do not care if you make mistakes – they will even try their best to ensure that your mistakes kill you off.
  3. Always check your ID card is in place when entering a University Exam. Self-Explainatory, again.
  4. Your parents will not be amused by your story of heroically making it to your exam on time. When my epic tale of adventure and bravery was regaled to my parents, I expected them to pat me on the back and compliment my perseverance, maybe even laugh at my lack of fitness. Instead, they gave me a lecture on how my disorganisation nearly cost me a seat in the exam. Problem is, they’re right. Bet this wouldn’t be a good time to tell them about the time I dismantled every pen in the house then…..

This story is one of me, though God’s help, overcoming adversity (my own disorganisation) and being able to sit the exam and hopefully doing it well. Unfortunately for my friend, he wasn’t so lucky. He forgot to bring his notes.

Do you have a bad exam story? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

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A Rant about Stories, Using a Story

Ladies. Gentlemen. That weird guy in the back with a DeLorean. How are things in the future?

Firstly, I apologise for not updating this since July. Three things have demanded my attention:

  1. Uni work, assignments and readings. Self explanatory.
  2. The Australian 2010 Federal Election. Since I’m doing Constitutional Law as part of my degree, the current hung Parliament scenario now is almost like a dream come true. I’ve been boring my parents with the possible legal and pragmatic scenarios that could happen at any time, so much so that they are thinking of switching my degree to Bachelor of Leatherworking. Is that even a real degree?
  3. Plain Laziness. Yeah, sue me.

Today, though, I want to talk to everyone about something that has been bothering me for quite a long time: The State of Writing.

Huh?” You may say. “Is the state next to Washington?” And then I will hit you.

Or you may ask, “Whatever do you mean?” Good question.

Books and stories used to be really well written, with famous authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Hugh Lofting, and to a lesser extent Captain W. E. Johns producing marvellous works of fiction. Who could forget the best-selling Sherlock Holmes series,

or the intrepid Biggles series,

or even the famous vampire novel, Dracula?

Oh, har de har har har. That DOES serve to illustrate a point, though. Stories today have been “dumbed down” for the shorter attention span of the public, who can’t even sit through a 5 minute speech or 100 word document before getting distrac – OOH! BUTTERFLY!!

But how is the writing getting lousier? The creation of Fan Fiction. Yes, the very thing that allows people to use their creative juices and think of great alternate adventures involving their favourite characters in TV, books, movies and so on leads to a massive lack of quality writing. Many FanFiction writers (not all, I do stress) create stories that have poor grammar, or no description, or their characters inconsistent with the original show/book without saying so. Or even all three.

If you want to have a look, go to FanFiction.net and just click around on a couple of stories. Without a doubt, there will be many that are poorly written. Enough that would make you feel like buying the poor sap a dictionary.

(A/N) I would like to stress here that there are some FanFiction writers who are great writers, and their stories are marvellous. However, those that do not tend to bring it down for the rest of us. No insult is intended. Please don’t sue / kill / use a cattle prod on me.

To illustrate a good story, let me tell you guys one. This is how I got into writing in the first place. A story of love, determination, and friendship.

I was just a young kid, living the high life in the school system. I would painfully meander along to class everyday, strive hard to score good grades, and hang out with my friends during recess. Afterwards, it was homework, television, music, and piano to while away the lonely nights. Life was just, well, mundane.

Until one of my best friends changed all that.

I had known Kelly for a long time, ever since I was young, and she was one of the few people who would give me the time of the day. Often times, people would ignore me and regard me as a weird outcast – but Kelly never did that. Most days we would hang out and talk (always with other friends around, of course), just enjoying the other’s company.

And I committed what, in hindsight, was definitely a bad decision. I fell in love with her.

Oh, it was a gradual thing. I only noticed it when I discovered that all I wanted to do was to talk to her, to hold her close, and be the best friend that she could ever want. Maybe even more. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. And by then it was too late.

Being the romantic that I was, I decided to confess my true feelings to her. Being the coward that I was, I decided to do it by letter. Night after night, when my parents thought I was simplifying a polynomial equation to the lowest algebraic factor, I was actually hard at work pouring out my feelings on paper.

Finally, it was all done. I chose Valentines Day to give it to her (cheesy, I know), and boy, was I nervous. I was figuratively sweating bullets and wetting my pants, and my teeth were literally chattering. In hindsight, I much preferred it that way rather than the other way round.

Gathering up my courage, I strode up to her, card and rose in hand. She was on the phone, and just as I approached, she hung up and turned to me, her pretty eyes aglow and excitement radiating off her face.

Before I could get a word out, she leapt forward and hugged me, words tumbling out in a rush.

“Oh my god, I can’t believe it! Mark just asked me to be his Valentine! I’ve had a crush on him for, like, ever! Ohmigod, I can’t believe it! This is the happiest day of my life!”

***

I still can’t remember how I got through the rest of the year. Needless to say, I burnt the letter and the rose when I got home (to which Greenpeace objects strenuously). I was devastated, heartbroken. But eventually, I got over it. Kelly never knew about my feelings, since I decided that our friendship is more important than my selfish ambitions. All I wanted was for her to be happy. And to this day, Kelly and I are still really good friends.

I started writing short stories after that, as a way of keeping myself occupied. And now it has become a full-blown hobby. Other than assignments, church, and TV, this is what I do in my spare time.

But you know what? I still think of her from time to time. To use a line from a song by a band called The Young Veins:

“I tried to love you, but you still love him, so
I’ll keep my distance and lie to the truth….”

And I’ll never know what would have happened had I told her just one day earlier.

***

So, what was the point of all that? The point was, I made it all up off the top of my head.

But before you start booing and throwing rotten grapefruits, that was done to demonstrate a good story. There was good grammar, formatting, and the story flowed logically. And most importantly, it was interesting. And that’s all that matters.

Before I go, I’m going to leave you with a something written by a real author. C.S. Lewis, author of the bestselling Chronicles of Narnia series and other great Christian books (which I recommend everyone reads), also wrote this great paragraph in is sixth Chronicles of Narnia book, The Silver Chair:

Gay,” said Puddleglum with a deep sigh. “That’s what we’ve got to be. Gay. As if we hadn’t a care in the world. Frolicsome. You two youngsters haven’t always got very high spirits, I’ve noticed. You must watch me, and do as I do. I’ll be gay. Like this…”

Stirring stuff. I bet Puddleglum voted for the Australian Greens Party.

Did you ever have a bad experience with a poorly written story? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

My Thoughts on a Blonde Movie

NOTE: This is NOT a review, partly because I have not seen the full movie, and partly because I’m too lazy. This will, however, give my thoughts and impressions on the first part of Legally Blonde.

Legally Blonde certainly is a movie that has taken the world by storm, involving the ditzy Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) who, after getting dumped by her boyfriend for being too…err…ditzy, she joins Harvard Law School to prove him wrong. She goes through many ups, downs, and sideways motions, making new friends and enemies, and also finds the time to get an innocent defendant freed. In the end, she rejects her ex-boyfriend, watches him crash and burn out of law school, and gets engaged to some other guy. (Alright, the ending isn’t EXACTLY like that, but hey, give me some creative licence).

Now, I only got to watch the first half hour or so, until the part where she got her manicurist her dog back through legal jargon. I watched this today, in my Law Lecture, so that we all got to laugh at the legal inconsistencies. No, not really, we were supposed to critically analyse it (a la Grade 12 English), but there were some funny bits inside.

My thoughts?

  1. Elle said at one point, “He’s [the ex-boyfriend] the one. I love him.”. And then in the end, she marries some other guy friend. Come on. I know lawyers aren’t supposed to be people of their word, but it’s too obvious; the whole “I-love-him-oh-no-wait-he’s-a-jerk” thing is kinda predictable now. Like I said, relationships never work. Too much commitment.
  2. The lecturers can be really mean! Elle got kicked out from the lecture room for not preparing her reading for that week, and she gets interrogated for answers in other sessions (They call it the Socratic Method). I wonder what horrible teaching institution still utilises that today? (Hint: It starts with “The”, and ends with “Singapore Schooling System”….
  3. Manicures are good stress relievers. Oh, come on. When Elle got flustered, she dashed to a manicurist, and she was all better. Really? Really? Manicures make the world better? Quick, get to the UN immediately! We’ve got a solution for World Peace! Either she really IS that shallow, or the manicurist must have put a little extra….something….in that nail polish. But then again, who knows with girls these days?
  4. Who puts first year law students as defence counsel in a murder case? Would YOU trust some nervous, inexperienced, first year student as your barrister? Though it would be a hoot to see them, after the trial, walk up to the judge and ask them to grade their closing arguments…..

But, all in all, it was a hilarious movie. As English teachers constantly drill into our impressionable young minds, every piece of media has things to teach us. So kids, here’s some things to remember:

  1. Procrastinate all term, and just be overly cheerful in cramming in the last week. When Elle had her final exam to get into Harvard, she studied really hard and became even more perky, reaching levels that would have shamed the excitable Sesame Street puppets. So, all you have to do is procrastinate, then study and be almost-insanely excitable. You’ll ace it for sure.
  2. Harvard has very lax admission screening procedures. If the previous step fails, then don’t worry. All you have to do is make a video essay of yourself in a swimsuit, talking absolute crap, and the Harvard Board will let you in. That’s what Elle did. Though this will probably work better if you’re a girl than a guy.
  3. And finally, my favourite: No matter how ditzy and air-headed you are, you will still manage to become a great lawyer. Believe in that, all you platinum blondes! -.-

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great movie. It does have some good points about it, which is more than I can say for its sequel, which belongs solely in the trash. And you know which movie is joining it…..

What did YOU think of  “Legally Blonde”? Leave a comment and give us your view!

The Random Musings of an Attention-Seeking Author – 08/03/2010 to 14/03/10

I do apologise for not writing much…but unfortunately, there IS nothing to write about. Life has been unbelievably routine, and amidst the rush of lectures and homework, the dullness left is pure drudgery. However, there HAS been some interesting bits and pieces of random events that have provided some relief:

  1. I have been slightly sick the past few days. Actually, more than slightly – I’m starting to think I could be one of the patients in an episode of HOUSE M.D. Now, you guys might think that being sick is all doom and gloom – I can’t get much rest, I cough my lungs out, and I’m behind on my schoolwork. (The latter is also partly due to procrastination, but let’s not dwell on stuff that is actually my fault). However, being sick has ONE silver lining: I don’t have to exercise. Small price to pay, hmm?
  2. I met a guy at church today who resembles the actor Joshua Jackson, who plays Peter Bishop in FRINGE. Not kidding. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of him, but here’s a picture of Joshua Jackson:

    Now, imagine him a little fatter, and with more hair…..he could be an alternate version of Joshua Jackson / Peter Bishop! Which kinda ties in well with FRINGE’s whole “alternate universe” theory……

  3. As part of my Critical Legal Thinking course, I had to learn about “faulty arguments”. One of them was the argument of Correlation and Causation, where two statements appear to correlate, but may not actually do so. The example I read was hilarious:
      • An overall decrease in the number of pirates over the last century corresponds with an increase in global warming over the same time period.
      • Therefore, global warming is caused by a lack of pirates.

    Huh? Huh? You can’t make this stuff up. And people say lawyers have no sense of humour…

  4. Now, if you have read the previous article about the Brisbane Bus Service, you would have noticed that I said that I wore shorts to uni. That was a truly rare occasion, as I prefer jeans….and I look waaaay better in them. However, a few days ago, a school bus from a girl’s school rolled up to uni. The one day I dressed down, a busload of schoolgirls came trucking into the campus. I just can’t win.

Alright guys, that’s it from me. I have to try to get some work done tonight….or just procrastinate again. I mean, at least that’s better than seeing me in shorts, right?

Do YOU have a fashion disaster you would like to share? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

The Random Musings of an Attention-Seeking Author – 05/03/2010

  1. Lecture @ uni today. Ended early, which was good…but it was raining when we came out. Ugh.
  2. I’m looking for a book called “The Law of Torts” by Balkin and Davis (4th Edition). Does anyone have it and can give / sell to me? I will love you forever.
  3. The weather has been rather odd lately, and it seems to have a vendetta against me. Boiling hot sun, and then rain, does not help when you are wearing jeans.
  4. Homework….nah, I’ll do it later….
  5. Remember that the “World’s Worst” contest is now on! Check it out here.

That’s it from me. Take it away, boys!

Remember to check out the “World’s Worst” contest is now on! Check it out here, and leave a comment!

University: First Impressions

Hey guys. Short post today, because uni really took it out on me. It was akin to being ambushed and beaten up in a back alley – my brain feels like mush.

I had two Lectures today at the University of Queensland, a Criminology Lecture, and a Law of Torts lecture. Some comments:

  1. Criminology wasn’t bad, though the lecturer (I keep wanting to say “teacher”; force of habit from my high school days…) talked quite fast. It was slow enough for us to hear, but fast enough that when you started writing notes, you looked back up and thought “What did she say?”
  2. Since Criminology technically is an Arts subject, there were plenty of people who where doing psychology. I happened to sit in the very spot where all around me were Hong Kong psychology students. Hmmm…..conspiracy, methinks?
  3. Law of Torts lecture was immense. So much information….if that’s what’s on the first week, what will the rest of the year be like??
  4. Apparently Criminology textbooks like to play hide-and-seek. Went to two different faculty libraries trying to find the elusive textbook……and couldn’t. I had to settle for an earlier edition. But rest assured, I will find it! (Or buy it)
  5. It was drizzling all day. And it was really humid. So, wet on the outside (rain) and wet on the inside (sweat). That’s Brisbane for you. I’m just happy I don’t live in Melbourne.

And I’ll have to do it all again tomorrow. Sigh….

Do you have any tips on how to beat the University blues? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

The Random Musings of an Attention-Seeking Author – 01/03/2010

Well, it’s raining again….the dark, dreary downpour that never seems to let up, eh? Nothing really much TO do today….so this, I write.

  1. I’m currently penning a story about a guy from my school – it’s part of a project I took on to pass the time. I challenged myself to write a one-page story for every single person in my Grade….and after the better part of a year, I have about 9 left to do. Which says less about the hugeness of the task and more about my short attention span.
  2. Watched the Manchester United vs. Aston Villa football match – the Carling Cup Final. MU fought on to a well-deserved 2-1 victory….and I screamed in joy like a little girl.
  3. Preparation for my first year of Uni (Law at UQ)….and I’m feeling a little nervous. Any tips, guys?

Hopefully something new happens later. Check back here for further updates!

Do YOU have any tips for a new student at UQ? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

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