We’re getting to that point in the year where you’ve got to start picking which academic battles to fight. Some classes are worth more, some tests worth far less than others – and it takes a bit not to overreact to whatever happens to be next in the pipe.
My study style has always been to take lots of small breaks, to jump around from subject to subject to keep my brain fresh. It’s a somewhat organic approach – my brain tells me when it’s had its fill of any given offering. I try to eat moderately well, stay on the bike for at least short daily jaunts, get my usual amount of sleep. No sense, I figure, in going 10hrs at 75% alertness as opposed to only 7 more-optimal hours. When I start tailing off I stop for the evening (although sometimes I have a skimming reading reprise before sleep.)
There are people who can laze and then crush through massive amounts of material in 8 hour blocks – I’m not one of those. There are others who can manage to schedule every second of every day down to time spent in the shower and time spent making tea – again, I couldn’t function effectively under such a regime. (Do the schedulers schedule their scheduling maintenance?) However I have made my usual ironic concession to that mentality and have posted a list of things to do on my refrigerator. It reads, “Things to do: Law School.”
Today was gorgeous. Between classes we had a larger break than usual, so I took Hush out in search of a patch kit which I found in a local bicycle shop. After getting soaked and shivery a few times these past weeks (it’s hard to ride when your teeth are chattering), I made a gear concession and bought a nifty Cannondale rain/wind jacket. I’m pretty much all set for winter riding now.
My current blog/dinner break began with reading Juvenal while eating – a dangerous proposition. I prefer the Peter Green translation which always makes me laugh – he really brings out that brilliant humor that cuts both ways. Often Juvenal does it through a witty and intelligent deflating line towards the end of something strident – which recontextualizes things a bit, forces you to think outward into a class from a negative. For example, here are the first five lines of Satire IV.
Here’s Crispinus again, and I shall have frequent occasion
To parade him before you – a monster of wickedness
Without one redeeming virtue, a sick voluptuary
Strong only in his lusts, which draw the line at nothing
Except unmarried girls. . .
Squalor and isolation are minor evils compared
To this endless nightmare of fires and collapsing houses,
The cruel city’s myriad perils – and poets reciting
Their work in August!