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It seems strangely odd to say it, but it is a sentiment that I have been repeating to many others when I mention my slightly busy time in the run up to exams, with the revision that needs to be done and the writing that needs to be done for my two other assessments, but it really is nice to have some work to do again.

My time so far at HKU has been less then satisfactory, and I’ve made that rather amply clear to those who have talked to me and in my prior post about the prestigious institution here as well. My problem with it at the core is that I don’t feel like I’m being pushed at all, that my potential is being enhanced by the mental calisthenics that I would expect that post graduate education would demand of me. At undergrad, every year I could take stock of where I was at that point and compare it to the point that preceded it and I could actively chart my improvement.

In first year I was abysmal, couldn’t do a decent amount of work and lacked the focus, discipline and the mental fortitude to knuckle down and expand my exposure to the legal world. In second year the methods learned painfully over the first year with all its mistakes was harnessed to develop stronger and better methods. Second year was an absolute nightmare as we took all of the big three together (tort, trusts and property) the acknowledged hardest subjects on the course (and compulsory I might add) but it resulted in better thinking, writing and planning as well as time management being an absolute necessity. Third year was a bit easier, the topics weren’t as hard cause they were the optional modules and Public International Law was something that I knew perhaps better then my teacher in some aspects and the course was definitely taught below the level of the reading. Yet there was still Company Law, with the formidable Eva Lomnicka that served as an excellent template on how to learn complex and demanding law which made no sense at all, and Trade marks which gave me an excellent guide to structuring legal knowledge, which to be fair I don’t think she knew she was doing, but I still use that method to teach myself topics and prepare for exams and so far it’s doing good.

At HKU on the other hand, the reading is trivial, always well above the level of the lecture and my own personal reading done on the side for some of the topics is putting me well beyond the level of the material taught. Now I accept that is tangentially my own fault for getting through the material too fast and demanding too much of myself and my course. But that sense of being engaged in an intellectual pursuit that demands me too put my A-game in has gone and it is rather disappointing to end up in that situation. I would have hoped that an institution of the pedigree of HKU would keep me stretched.

The effect of a demanding undergrad time has been the net result that I’ve been bent out of shape in a rather fundamental manner that does not permit me to be lazy for too long and without engaging myself in work that feels substantial. In my second year I recall that I vegged out for one week watching Star Trek episodes by the dozen, but the moment that finished I had to find something more substantial for me to do to pass the time as well as doing the social stuff. A day spent idly is something that has only really beginning to happen at the moment, and I can’t help but think it is because the deformity that King’s imposed on my character to make me an aficionado of hard work is fading away. The desire to be productive has only been slightly filled in the exam period by having me work hard. Let’s hope that we can find a way for the rest of the year to be conducive to that kind of work and develop a way to push myself a little harder.


One Comment

    • Dom
    • Posted December 28, 2006 at 5:23 pm
    • Permalink

    Think of it this way: in high school the teachers make you work hard. In undergrad you make yourself work hard by virtue of the high workload. Now, you have to provide your own reasons for working hard.

    Oh, I’m not saying this is the intention of HKU, but that is something you cannot change. You can, however, decide how you will react to it.

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