Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Long December

Christmas music on the Pandora station plays over crappy laptop speakers, pajamas in the Law Review Office, outlining until the library closes at 2, and coming up with new and exciting curses for the professors, administration and law school in general.

Oh Holy...Shit. It's a Law School Christmas.

Fall semester brings you the giddy-happy-stress-depression wonder that is a December Finals Season. When you're about to tear your hair out from the end of the semester "God-get-me-out-of-here-I-don't-care-about-Bankruptcy-anymore" syndrome, they send you on Thanksgiving break. A whole week off from law school, to give you time to spend with your loved ones and enjoy Football, parades, and lots o'turkey.

Yeah, about that.

Thanksgiving is for getting serious about studying for finals, and don't let anyone tell you differently. They won't, because half of your class will be in the library, causually chatting with you at the circulation desk either:
1) complaining about how unproductive they've been so far in thinly veiled attempt to scare the shit out of you because "It's only Tuesday and I only have outlines for three out of four classes and I've only done one set of practice questions!" knowing full well you're maybe half-way done with your first outline;
2) complaining about how unproductive they've been, which you could probably judge from your 45 minute Facebook chat about how any motivation has completely disappeared; or
3) Bragging about how prepared to take the exam they are; somehow completely oblivious to how close they are to having you shove your highly-prized E& E up their nose.

We have the right to remain silent. What we lack is the ability.

A word of advice: lie to your families about when you get out for Thanksgiving break. The last thing you need on top of the stress of studying, the psychological warfare waged by those people in your class, and the general crappiness of November is your parents giving you grief about staying up at school when you don't have class and could get your work done at home (no, you can't. trust me). I have lied to my family for the past three years about when I finish for the semester; and though I general condone truthiness, this one will save your life. Or at least that last shred of sanity.

And then, more advice: when you do get home, do not try to pretend you're going to study. Embrace those precious hours of peace when you can drink and eat and gossip with your family and friends.

Because then you go back to school. And then there's no escape.

It's difficult to fully explain to someone who's not experienced the atmosphere of law school final exams. One of the Kates got close: "ever been prison raped?" But it's more than that, it's like being prison raped over two weeks with a bunch of other people and occasionally, they give you nitrus oxide. There's the stress and the mental strain, definitely. But then, there's the slaphappy. The giddiness, the parade of yet-funnier youtube clips, the riding of office chairs...There's the happy discussion of holiday plans, always tempered by a bitter "when I'm finally fucking done with finals" and the stress of Christmas itself.

Oh yeah, Christmas.

I believe that depression rates spike around the holidays not just because of all of the money, cleaning, shopping, and listening to your grandmother talk you through her colonoscopy; but because there's so much pressure to be in a good mood and overflowing with the Christmas spirt and to have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

And I love Christmas. Just ask Finn. It's all over our apartment.

But finals does this thing where it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, you're excited, but you're stressed and grumpy. And guilty for being stressed and grumpy around Christmas. And you want to Christmas shop. But you don't have time. And you're pissed that you're going to have to push your shopping until the last minute, thereby making you more stressed. And you're excited to hear from your friends who are in town visiting their parents. But if you have to explain why you're not home yet one more time you'll explode.

Get the picture?

Then there's that magical moment when you walk out of your last final and directly to the liquor store. Savor that moment. I love that moment. It's like Christmas morning. But with more nicotine and vodka.

It was a good Christmas. For the first time in recent memory, I wasn't clawing the walls after two days in my hometown. I saw a lot of people, had a lot of fun and helped my little sister pick out her wedding dress.

And, I find myself surprisingly optimistic about the coming year. But, as the song goes, there's reason to believe that maybe this year will be better than the last.

It'll get off to a good start. Nikki and V are setting me loose in Sin City. On New Year's. As Charlie remarked "Oh, there's a good idea."

Hey, what's the worst that could happen?