Tuesday, February 15, 2005

That Oxford Tutorial System

"And, do we have a "MacDuff" here?"
"Yes, that would be me."
"WOULD be you?!?"
"Uh, yes, it IS me..?.."
"Okay, thank you. English is your first language, is it not?"

Ugh. Thus began my first tutorial in Conflict of Laws today, an auspicious start to be certain. And given my lack of preparation and normal inability to converse in legal subject matter 5 months before a 100% examination, it proved ominous indeed. For the ensuing 75 minutes, I contemplated leaping from the window or asking about the Che Guevara poster on the wall, rather than sit silently while the seconds ticked excrutiatingly on, reluctant to speak words that would be quickly trampled upon. So - I can therefore verify that not reading any of the 40-50 legal cases the night before your tutorial, preferring instead the drama of online Texas Hold'em, is not a winning strategy for the would-be Oxford legal scholar.

Heh. In the end, it wasn't so bad that I can't laugh about it here. The other three in the room seemed rather ill-prepared for tutorial #1 as well, though I definitely managed to score a victory in the coveted "least said" category. And there are 7 more of these to come, so opportunity on the horizon to seek my redemption. After all, this was embarrassment rooted largely in laziness, not in stupidity (though in not preparing properly, there was a fair share of that also). So the preparation for next Tuesday begins firmly in the morning. I suppose this solid dose of humility is as good a way as any to kick my studies into the necessary gear. Sir Francis Bacon, a Cambridge man (alas), provides some wisdom well worth remembering on the point. To wit:

"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not;
A sense of humor to console him for what he is."

On that note, laugh I did as Irony reared its fantastic head moments after the tutorial. Walking back to College, a few elder, Eastern European tourists wandered, lost, in my direction. After an hour spent listening to questions fly over my head, I jumped at the chance to help them out. "Yes, of course, I can recommend a few classic Oxford pubs. Just follow me," was my response. Fitting symmetry. And also an ice-breaking story for the St. Hugh's "Speed Dating" event tonight...


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