anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

Essay is DONE.

I am FINALLY done with my abortion essay and it's exactly 2000 words. I deleted an entire argument that I spent an hour constructing last night because it was a bit too tenuous and I couldn't defend it to myself; this eliminated half the excess word count for me, so that was pretty great. I pretty much shortened the quotes from the judgments that I put in, but of course, I left Scalia J's hilarious 'magical second' quote as intact as I possibly could.

If Dr K doesn't give me a better mark for this essay than the one I did for his class in the previous term for which the effort was abysmally minimal, I think I might just kill myself. By 'better mark' I obviously mean something that starts with the number '7'. I'm not actually sure if this essay is that good; there's really only one part that I think is pretty damn good, but that's probably one-eighth of the entire essay. The rest of it is just me pointing out the obvious - Germany doesn't care about the woman's autonomy! It only cares about protecting the life of the foetus! It therefore does not reflect the Casey quote in this regard!

Oh my god how stupid is that? I failed to figure out the trick so I'm pretty suspicious that I fell right into the trap of Stating the Obvious for half the essay...

Fuck it, I'm too tired and exhausted to think about this anymore and I've wasted way too much time on it. The effort that I put into this essay is seriously disproportionate to its ultimate practical significance...which is really zero because it's not even counted. I suppose it's a matter of pride then - I don't want to submit something half-arsed like I did all term last term, and it would be nice if my favourite professor thought that I was capable of something more than a crappy merit.

Speaking of a crappy merit, my Terrorism essay upset the living shit out of me. I handwrote the whole thing in the library last Friday so I had no idea how many words it actually was. I should have been somewhat alarmed when my conclusion was on page 9, but I'm not good with estimating things in a numerical way (I literally can't do it); so imagine my utter shock and panic when I was typing it out on Wednesday night (it was due Thursday) and I discovered that I had reached the word limit after typing out only half my essay. The word limit was 1,000 words (seriously?!). The final word count of my draft was 2,019.

I tried to reduce the word count but gave up when I got it down to 1,500; it was 2 a.m. which meant time for my headache, and I was tired, so I went to bed. At 2.20 a.m. I emailed Prof Gearty to ask him if I could exceed the word limit at all. When I woke up the next morning and checked my phone, I was ecstatic to find a reply from him saying that it can be exceeded by 200 words.

Oh my god, I don't think it's possible to stress enough how important those 200 words were to me. I was fucking DYING trying to eliminate HALF - HALF - my essay. Cutting out arguments was one thing; raping my wonderful language was another thing altogether and that hurt so much. In the end, I spent about half an hour in the morning before I had to go to my 11 a.m. class cutting it down to exactly 1,200 words.

The point of all this, though, is that the horrendously watered down final version of my essay, which was actually pretty good in its original conception, is absolute shite. I can't even look at it without wanting to throw up - that's how bad it is. I contemplated giving the original version (the 2,019 words one) to Prof Gearty and telling him to look at that essay if he wondered why I submitted that piece of crap to him, but I thought that might be a little bit too self-indulgent.

I'm actually still pretty amazed that I managed to cut it down to size, literally. I anticipated that I would run into the same problem for the abortion essay, though not to the same extent because I was typing it and thus I knew the word count, so I emailed Dr K to ask if I could exceed the limit. Alas, he said no. Thankfully, I didn't really have to cut out any substantial arguments like I did with the Terrorism essay and I managed to leave most of my flowery language intact and still keep to the word limit exactly. This is success, I would say.

This reminds me of the feedback that I got for my disastrous Use of Force essay a few weeks ago, the same essay that I tried to finish under conditions of jetlag but failed miserably like hell. I had a 61 for me - Prof tried to make me feel better by saying that she graded everyone based on the absolute worst case scenario they would do, but still. Anyway, apart from saying how my structure needed work, she said that my use of language tended to be too strong because I called some counter-argument that I was refuting 'ludicrous' (it might have been 'ridiculous'). I wanted to laugh at that because I am genuinely disdainful of arguments that I think are stupid, and I guess it comes across subconsciously in my writing. I mean, I'm not saying that the choice of the word 'ludicrous' wasn't deliberate; obviously it was. I'm saying that I don't realise the impression that I create with such words, that they could be alienating. It's actually pretty obvious now that I think about it, but yeah, considering the kind of condescending crap that I wrote in my Comparative Constitutional Law essay in law school, this 'ludicrous' thing is really child's play.

The bigger point, though, is that she said that I wrote well and that it could be a problem when I had to write a legal essay. It's basically the same problem I had with law school when I first entered it - I couldn't stand legal writing because I thought it reduced the English language to a mere function, which offended my pseudo-artistic sensibilities. Language is obviously a function, no matter what language; but my primary love is writing and so I just hated the way language was used in an utterly unsophisticated manner in legal writing. I still don't like it, but I guess I'm used to it now. The challenge, I guess, is trying to make myself get past the good writing thing in order to finish an essay on time under exam conditions, and to write exam answers that actually answer the question in a way that makes sense to someone who is not in my head. All this is just for this course, of course, until someone else tells me that I need to be more structured in my writing or whatever.

I don't know what I'm saying anymore. I'm really falling asleep. I will end this by saying that I think my Jurisprudence prof is one of the nicest people I've ever met. She's so encouraging. I went to her after class to tell her that she made a mistake with the attendance register (marked me absent for one class when I was actually there, albeit 20 minutes late) and after she apologised for it, she went on to urge me to speak up in class. I was like, Yeah, but I don't really have anything to say... She actually said that I did a good essay and that I was doing well in the course. I was too ashamed to tell her that I don't contribute to the discussion because I don't do the readings most of the time, so I just said that I didn't like to talk in class - which is also true. She was really understanding and said that it was not for everyone, but nonetheless, I should try to talk in class more because it would help boost my confidence.

How nice is she, seriously? She makes Jurisprudence so much better - she's really good at explaining weird concepts in a way that's not boring at all. Jurisprudence makes my brain hurt to the core and I am totally totally TOTALLY lost this term, but I'm still glad that I'm taking it because I feel like I'm learning a lot more than I would if I hadn't decided to take it. It's not just the actual philosophies, but the extremely disciplined and logical way of thinking that characterises philosophy. I love it.

Okay I need to sleep.
Tags: llm

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