Sunday, May 2, 2004

My rapidly diminishing stockpile of rationality

It is now fairly obviously May.

Which deprives me of the slender shield to my sanity of being able to claim my exams start next month. They now start this month. A much scarier prospect.

Indeed, after three years away from full-time study I’d kind of forgotten how one enters the twilight of one’s sanity in an exam period.

The colleges are hushed and closed to visitors. The libraries are full of pale, serious people and piles of undergraduates’ folders and notes. (My favourite so far, three cheerfully gift-wrapping covered binders marked “Culture Wars”). Punting is done elsewhere, in a sun that shines not on us, by tourists.

My moods are up and down, my body clock – with the slightest application of exam pressure – has magically shed its Cambridge conditioning (waking as late as 10.30) to return to my office slave settings (awake by 7.30, but possibly as early as 5.45).

People are going out less, but partying harder it seems when they do.

I am trying with various degrees of willpower and success to prune my social life, fun levels and intake from within the Beer vitamin group.

I oscillate between a confident sense that I am in a good position, and a certain dread that I’ve not really been working hard enough to get the results I need if I want to carry on into the PhD program.

I over-react to some things (finding utterly hysterical the “Sex and Cycling” article in the free local magazine “Cambridge Agenda”), and disregard others with cavalier bravado (the requirement that my committee minutes be a rational and unbiased record of proceedings).

I have sudden surges of energy and productivity, or lethargy and napping.

I am thus the model of a perfectly normal student whose exams start within three weeks and finish within four.

On the upside, today is a good mood day and while I appear to have lost the power of rational conversation with flatmates, I am churning out model essays on the theory of customary international law and global society.

I am also realising that perhaps one of the greatest privileges of my education has been taking Professor Phillip Allott’s history and theory course, which I think has changed me as a lawyer.

I also had a friendly neighbourhood physicist ask if I’d like to share a house with him and some other grads next year, if should I get to stay on.

And as far as non-Cambridge options go, a recruitment agency finally called me back last week, so the plan B of working in London after graduating and some travel may yet come to pass.

Anyway, over soon one way or another, if I can just keep the pace and my sanity.

Strike that. If I can just keep the pace.

No comments: