Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Holding myself to a higher standard – My Jessup Journey.

It is no secret that I tend to have a lower view of my academic ability. I don’t know where this has come from or how it gained such strength. If I was to go back 10 years and tell 14 year old Me I would be at University, I would not have believed it. If you were to tell me at 16 I would be at law school I would think you were full of poop.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been blessed with a very, very supportive family who have always maintained I was very intelligent, and now have a partner who states the same (in his own way). I have never really believed them and a part of me still doesn’t. In the law library I often looked at the students who were participating in the larger moots with quite a bit of admiration. These students are the smart ones, the student I would never be. I had the same admiration for the peer mentors, and I still feel that I am out of place in that group.

Someone else, someone who has no vested interest in my self-esteem, a panel of three people has nominated me to represent the University in the Jessup. I am taking this as an invitation to hold my work to a higher standard than I otherwise would have.

How did I get this nomination? Trials were held over a period of time where each person interested in the competition got to talk to a panel of three academics on a subject of their choice for three minutes. The three minute speech I gave was centred around a section of an Act that denies parental rights to homosexual couples, in that short time I explored other aspects of the Act such as the reading of the bill to illumine the context of the Act and the broader impact on same sex families. I spent about an hour practicing in the park into my iPhone and did not use any notes. The other people trying out talked about topics that were more personal and not in any way law related. I also wore a suit; I only saw a few others who did the same. When I walked out of the room I was sure I had screwed it up and would not get onto the team for a national mooting competition that I was applying for. I was totally bummed out.

I think the combination of attire and topic choice is why I was chosen. I hope I do not disappoint.

After the initial elation of finding out I will be on the Jessup team the gravity of what this means started to weigh down on me. I am not smart enough to do this! Why have they chosen me? Surely I am going to let them down by being incompetent. I have decided to put these thoughts aside and give it everything I have, if I fail it will not be because I left anything to give.

I believe I finally understand the meaning of fear of failure, for me it is the fear of putting everything you have to give into something and still failing. The fear the very you have best is still below par.

Because of this fear I have thrown myself into mooting, international law and the Jessup in the only way I know how. To become obsessive about it, I have a long history of being totally obsessed with useless things. There has been a transition in recent years towards more useful obsessions (such as becoming a law student). I have hired out the recordings of the Jessup finals for the last 4 years and I am watching them more than once or twice. I have bought more mooting text books and have devoured them (another strange theme in my life is to explore and understand my world through books). When they become available I am going to purchase the international law study guide and text book and work my way through it, if I am going to pin the tail on the donkey I should probably know what a donkey looks like.

Let the obsession begin – Obiter.