On my unreasonable expectations of revision.

Distractions tend to fire at me from every angle during revision time – and this exam season, I am especially unarmed.

I know that one of my more dilligent and hard-working past selves would be disappointed in me right now but I’d like to think that future selves will be proud of me.

My confidence in my classes has definitely reached a high – I even asked the visiting (very attractive) Bürgermeister (mayor) a question in my lecture hall today (and no.. it was not ‘will you marry me?’ although that was the main question running through my mind).  It’s crazy to me because I know that 6 months ago, I never would have had the courage to do that.  You don’t really tend to notice that you are getting better at something until moments like these, the imrpovements only really manifest themselves in your head in retrospect. I remember being 17 and too nervous to phone people, like calling up the doctor to make an appointment or whatever.. and now I can speak out in a lecture theatre in a different language.  I’d like to think that small accomplishments like this tend to have the same weighting in defining our success in the same way that the big, obvious ones do, like exam results.

So this is why I am trying my best to sweep away these unreasonable expectations of revision.  I am trying to look at my year abroad as a series of small, personal achievements (with a side-order of embarrassing moments.)

For example, I’ve managed to control cravings and maintain a dairy-free diet for a prolonged amount of time.  And let me tell you, the land of no milk and honey isn’t all that bad. I’d also like to think that suffering through my first ever flu without a caring mother or father bringing me toast and lemsips was a huge achievement in itself! I will never forget the feeling of HEALTH after being eight days bedbound.  I naturally sprung up and embarked on a shopping spree which I have lived to regret. But I was celebrating my leap into adulthood (as surviving the flu definitely makes you an adult) and a girl gotta do what a girl gotta do.

And a girl gotta.. take lots of breaks.  I full believe that the time spent not studying is just as beneficial as the time spent studying during this time of year.

I’ll be honest – I’m writing this post to give myself a little boost.  To remind myself that everything will turn out for the best.  Mainly due to the sad fact that I have been revising for my Europarecht exam and so have been learning some set phrases that I found in a textbook for use in the exam.. after a few hours of this I suddenly realised that said textbook was actually written by my professor and that I could not use any of the phrases I had just memorised for the past few hours without my professor thinking that I am actually crazy repeating his own work to him.  Ooops. Lesson learned anyway.

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Aperol Spritz is a German/Italian beverage that is extremely tasty (and visually great)

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Education is great.  And it is great in Germany, in the best University in the country (and no.. not only due to the fact that it serves beer in the student cafes and study spaces). Germany really gets education – I mean they even were one of the first countries in the world to introduce compulsory (and free) primary education in the late 18th century. Sometimes studying law in the German language seems no more than a series of “je ne sais pa”s.. but I am really thankful that I have been given this opportunity. And in any case, we are all just daft people learning to be less daft. Even though it may seem like a struggle right now, it is manageable.

On another note, it is set to be 29 degrees this week and I usually turn into a swollen dehydrated slug type creature in this sort of heat so I better try and get some sleep now. Revision ramble over and out!

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Trials of Law Student in Germany

This year abroad so far has certainly been very picturesque and fun-filled, but I may not have talked so much about how studying the law at Munich University is VERY DIFFICULT (yes capital letters are necessary). Obviously German is famous for its crazy long words, compiled nouns and sentences – and I can tell you first hand that the legal language is no exception. Because the legal terminology is so long and time consuming to pronounce and write, they use an abundance of abbreviations. A quick example is: BverfG = Bundesverfassungsgericht (Constitutional Court of Germany). I also came across this word the other day whilst studying: Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften. I’m not even going to try and attempt to count the number of letters in this word or I’ll end up with a headache but it basically breaks down to mean ‘insurance companies who provide legal protection.’ We need SIX words in English to translate this one German word! SIX!!

Mix these huge and complicated words with my professor’s Bavarian accent and I really start to believe that I am in over my head.

One thing that I have noticed about the German law that is quite refreshing is that there is huge emphasis on democracy. It’s highlighted in every text book and every piece of legislation. I guess that it is a product of WWII and the German lawmakers wanting to do everything they can to avoid a similar situation ever occurring again. Speaking of the war, last week marked the 70th anniversary of its end. A day to celebrate or a day to remember quietly? I’m not so sure myself.

I just did a mid-term examination on Naturrecht. During the beginning of the lecture about this particular topic I scribbled notes on Environmental laws and other such things involving nature.  Little did I know that we were not discussing how to protect animals and trees but rather were knee – deep in legal philosophy and the law of morals.  Of one’s Nature. EMBARRASSING. Can I blame that one on the language barrier?… WHat did I say about being in over my head…?

Anyway, I’m not a philosopher (trees obviously make a noise when they fall?!) but the content of the subject of Naturrecht v.s. Rechtspositivismus (legal positivism) in Germany is really interesting.  A Mr. Gustav Radbruch had a theory that judges should not just have to apply laws to individual cases and follow legislation – if there is a situation where a law does not follow the rules of equality and treating everyone the same or does not follow the rules of justice etc, then a judge should be able to make the piece of legislation void.  This was crazy for me to hear, I mean, judges don’t have that power.. they’re not elected and they have to just go with the laws that the parliament gives them.  But Radbruch and many other Naturrecht supporters believe that judges should not be left defenseless like they were in the time of Nationalsozialismus in Germany (and like they are now).  I could delve into this for hours and I’m sorry to all the non-lawyers/philosophers if that was boring – I can almost head the eyes of anyone who reads this glazing over.  Just some food for thought!

I passed that exam but I’m struggling a bit with my German studies. I knew that it was never going to be easy. I only have 9 weeks left and 5 exams to do in that time as well as trying to pack everything that I need to do before I leave. 9 weeks + 5 exams + a trip to Italy + packing my life up + everything else = not enough time. However I never have been good at maths so I’m hoping that my calculations are wrong.

To continue on the moaning, I am also really struggling with problems in my back and having to attend physio twice a week. Can I just say that I can’t be the only who, when I heard the words ‘sports massage’, didn’t expect there to be screaming involved?

Buuuuut….. I’m making up for it by following this month’s motto of ‘Essen Sie sich Glücklich’ (eating yourself happy) and trying to try out loads of different restaurants and ice cream bars (who knew vegan ice cream was so delicious). Shout out to the German health system anyway for being so helpful in the case of my pesky stressed out back.

Well I think that’s enough of this blog of self-indulgent complaints so bis nächstes mal, ciao!

(I’ll end up with a pretty photo taken on my phone of the English Garden, where I eat my lunch most days (in a bid to be more German as they LOVE eating outdoors) to relax everyone after wading through legal phliosophy)

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Weeks left in Germany: 9

Favourite German Name I’ve Come Across So Far: Heiko Wunderlich