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#masters degree

I was going to tell you guys about how I adulted today but instead my Mum decided to tell me that her co-workers dip peanut butter sandwiches in their chili.

No, I’m fucking done. I’m fucking done. YOU GOTTA DRAW THE LINE SOMEWHERE! YOU GOTTA DRAW A FUCKING LINE IN THE SAND, DUDE! YOU GOTTA MAKE A STATEMENT! You gotta look inside yourself and say, “What am I willing to put up with today?” NOT! FUCKING! THIS!

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Canberra, Australia

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This was the house where I lived in Canberra, ACT, Australia, when I pursue my masters degree at the ANU. An old house, but really lovely. Had a lot of memories with this house. From here, to a daycare, and back, I used to take my son. I miss the house. And I miss my son.

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My life for the past week and a half. I had two papers to write and a couple of exams before that. 

As much as technology is great, I prefer to actually write some things down. :)

One more day and I’m done! Let’s get it!

focussesh
focussesh
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I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts that semester 1 of grad school was rather…exasperating. It was hard throwing myself back into studies after 2 years off, not to mention throwing myself into a degree that required more knowledge and understanding of data than I was accustomed to. I called it ‘academic whiplash’. I felt better knowing I had some peers who were going through similar struggles, and we were able to support one another knowing this. 

I just started semester 2, and I am pleasantly surprised at how much different and confident I feel going into this semester. Knowing that I am capable and can ‘do this’ has made the start of the semester so much more reassuring. 

Moral of the story, don’t be afraid to go back to school, at any stage. whether it’s for an associates, bachelors or graduate. You’re capable!

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I’m putting up a video today that I really struggled to make. It’s about my year as an MA student, and there was a fair amount of crying and catharcisim in the making off it. My hope is that it helps somone feel less alone, particularly if they are also going through a health crisis, diagnosis ir a loss.

Please treat it and me gently. Much love xx

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True story: I’m in a hybrid on-campus/online Masters program—I’ve heard it’s the seventh top library school in the country—and I’m stuck taking only online courses this semester because apparently there were only about ten sections offered on campus in the entire program this semester. I have ADD—among other things—and I need the structure and increased sense of accountability that synchronous learning provides over asynchronous. And this entire university, the largest in New Jersey, barely offers any (if any) synchronous online courses. (I’m only in the hybrid program because the only other option was online-only.)

The semester started less than a week ago, and I’m already behind in two or three of my four courses. (Note that my GPA last semester was a 3.875, so this is not normal for me.) I was not properly prepared for this, and I did not sign up for this. I’m absolutely livid with my program right now.

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BA Thesis Update #16:

32 pages. I still need at least 8 more pages and I just want to give up. I still need to come up with an introduction and a conclusion, need to shorten some parts and include more quotations in my translation struggles part. It’s currently 7pm, which means I’ve been sitting at this desk for almost 12 hours straight. My back hurts, my brain can’t contain any more onformation and I just want to sleep. Send help. 

Current status: 8 pages left and 15 hours.

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With the end of the teaching period, I must take advantage of the winter break to prepare my final assignments.

Except for the participation portfolio, which refers to our weekly contribution in the discussion forums of the courses, all assignments at the University of Edinburgh are submitted anonymously and evaluated by the teachers without them knowing who wrote it. I trust this is an appropriate and fair method of assessment since it rules out any allegations of bias in the awarding of grades.

The University sets a maximum number of words for the texts. In my country’s legal education, culture is the opposite, as teachers tend to ask for a minimum number of pages for legal papers. It seems to me that at least some of my classmates from jurisdictions other than Scotland have also been trained to write a minimum number of words. In this context, to limit our legal writing during the LL.M. tends to be an extra challenge.

Although I am also in favour of simplifying the legal language in order to make it more accessible to the people, I must recognise that legal science is endowed with traditional expressions and technical terms that we cannot abandon. Depending on the subject, our argumentative burden may also require a longer explanation in order to demonstrate our point and convince the reader.

Therefore, to comply with the size limit, I find it essential to be able to synthesise arguments in a meaningful way and cut unnecessary words, such as adjectives unless when it is vital to emphasise a thought.

Moreover, the philosophy of language teaches us that words are loaded with meanings. Proper understanding of the meaning of words in the language in which one works - in this case, English - is essential for a lawyer.

Those who watched the Darkest Hour movie must remember a scene in which, after Churchill’s fiery speech, Halifax states that “he mobilised the English language”. In other words, lawyers must be able to mobilise the language to prove their points: words are our tools.

But being able to comply with the size limit is only half of the problem, and it is easier when we know what to say and how we want to say it. Therefore, the final work is also the time to show how well we understood the content taught throughout the semester and our ability to operationalise it.

Back home, the court is also on Christmas break, which will give me time to devote myself entirely to the essays in the coming days, I hope.

I’ll leave you with a picture I took in December 2018 from the Peace Palace, at the Hague, wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

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Grad school is like having an ice cream cone in your hand and then you are excited to eat that ice cream cone but then someone comes up to you and hacks you with a machete and you have a research proposal to present on in five minutes but you are running on 2 hours of sleep, but yet you are still standing so you’re not technically dead yet. So, with blood on your shirt, you finish your proposal, 3 exams, 4 quizzes, and then you get an email updating you about a mistake you made. Your ice cream has been consumed by ants. You are still bleeding. You smile at all who say hello. Hi! How are you? Hi, how are you?? Hi!!!! How. Are. You.

Dead inside.

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