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Tuesday, December 7


I can't figure it out myself, to be perfectly honest.

Why is it that I haven't been to a single lecture in over two weeks? Why is it that I simply cannot get out of bed in the morning, or even at midday? Why is it that this situation does not overly bother me, or at least didn't until last night? It is this that is bugging me most.

I know that I should be going to lectures, that I should be getting up and going to bed at a reasonable hour, but I can't seem to break the cycle. Is it that I don't want to break the cycle, or is it merely a rut which I've got myself into, and need to climb back out of?

Starting with the (very) late hours at which I go to bed and then get up, there is a German word which fits perfectly: Teufelskreis. It translates literally as 'Devil circle', but basically means the same as our 'vicious circle'. One negative element leads to another, which in turns leads back to the initial one, and so on and so forth, leading to an unbreakable circular sequence of events.

This is exactly how it works with my sleeping patterns. I go to bed very late one night, usually due to drinking or socialising, say around 5am. I then don't get out of bed until around 3 or 4 in the afternoon (incidentally, this is usually a Friday night / Saturday daytime thing), which in turn leads to me not getting tired until 4, 5 or 6am that night. The cycle repeats itself endlessly, with me living my life approximately 6 hours out of sync with everyone else.

This is the absolute truth: since Friday night, I have not gone to bed before 6am until last night. It's been almost daylight when I go to bed, and there are sometimes even other people just getting up and moving around as I get into bed. I can hear other people waking up and starting their day just as I get into bed, that's how bad it has got.

Last night was a bit of an exception, as I said. I promised myself last night that today I would turn over a new leaf. I even looked up the German translation for 'turn over a new leaf', in case I had to explain my absence to any of my friends in my lectures. I made a list of things to do, and I assured myself that I would make it to my lectures.

My week of lectures doesn't start until Tuesday anyway, so this was the perfect opportunity to start a new week by getting everything back on track. I would go to all of my lectures, I would do a shitload of things that needed doing, I would basically get myself sorted out.

Of course, that didn't quite happen.

I went to bed just before 2, with the alarm set for 7.30. Yes, not a huge amount of sleep, but I can get by with just 5 hours sleep each night, so long as I make it up at the weekend. The problem was that I hadn't properly woken up and gotten out of bed on the Monday until nearly 2 in the afternoon. Hence I could not sleep at 2am on Monday night.

Try as I might, I could not fall asleep. I was tossing and turning for hours, before eventually drifting off sometime around 4 or 5. I gave serious thought to just calling it quits and getting up, playing on the computer or something for a couple of hours and then returning to bed, I was that wide awake.

My alarm went off at 7.30 this morning. It felt like someone had thrown a gallon of icy water over me to get me to wake up. I hate my alarm so much, because it always manages to wake me. It's really fucking loud, and I wouldn't be surprised if it woke my neighbour up every time it went off. Stupid alarm clock.

Needless to say, I was in full zombie mode. I could barely stand, didn't want to open my eyes, and had no control of my fingers. I was fucked. And in no fit state to contemplate 2 hours of German Constitutional Law. I had a quick look at myself in the mirror, for all that I could see in the darkness. It looked like I had huge bags under my eyes, which isn't a rarity at the moment.

I flicked the light on above the mirror, instantly cursed 17 different deities, and tried to prise my eyelids open once more. I wasn't greeted by a pretty sight. Me at 7.30am is never a pretty sight, but this was worse than most. Big green bags under each eye showed how fucked over my body felt, as if I needed confirmation, since I could already feel how fucked over my body felt.

I reset the alarm for 10.30, with the intention of still doing everything that needed done, and making it to my afternoon lectures, which started at 3. My sleep was once more restless, with some vivid, yet non-memorable dreams and frequent interruptions from the various sources of noise on my floor. I'm nextdoor to the kitchen, and the head of my bed is right on the other side of the wall from the sink, which means I hear more noise than most. Usually I can sleep through it, but not today.

When the alarm went off again at 10.30, I was more lively, and positively sprang out of bed to switch it off. The problem came once more when I lay back down. I need to stop doing that, because it is the main cause of my long, long lie-ins. If I just stayed out of bed when I switched my alarm, I would be able to break this Teufelskreis without a problem. As it is, my bed is too comfortable to lie in without falling asleep again. Perhaps I need to put a brick in it or something.

Thankfully I didn't sleep until a ridiculously late hour, only to midday (ahem). At least it was still daylight! There's been a few times over the last couple of weekends when I've woken up to darkness. As in the second lot of darkness of the day. That's never a good thing.

I did do a couple of things on my list, although they were the minor things, it has to be said. Did I make it to my lectures? Erm, no, no I didn't. I should be in one right now. Shit.

I can't say what it is about these lectures that makes me not want to go. Yes, I find the subject matter very boring in a couple of them. Extremely boring, in fact. I've fallen out of love with law, something that happened a long time ago. Last year at King's I barely studied any law at all, instead choosing subjects that were in the Law School but had the least amount of law in them possible. This is coming to the fore again here, since I am only doing law, pure law in various spheres.

I simply don't want to study law any more. I want to do more interesting subjects, subjects which broaden my horizons, which make me think outside the box, subjects which basically aren't law. This is why I'm so looking forward to my Jurisprudence module back at King's next September. Jurisprudence is the philosophy of law, and focuses on such questions as why have law at all, and why do we have this kind of law. It should be fantastic.

But here I am, in December and not even at King's, and I'm pining for it already. This isn't good.

More reasons why I don't go to my lectures? Yes, I find them difficult. I find it difficult to understand what is being said, and I find the entire system completely alien. The system of law, that is. Although the lecturing system is a bit different to England too, with more audience participation in one lecture than we had in an entire year's worth back home. I struggle to understand the lecturers sometimes, and there is absolutely no chance when someone asks a question.

I barely make any notes, because I can only concentrate on doing one thing in German at a time. If I stop to make some notes, I lose track of what is being said, and then find it very hard to pick the line of reasoning back up. In lectures last year, I would be writing down everything almost word for word, working about a sentence behind the lecturer's voice, but still understanding everything and being able to write coherent notes on what was being said. I can't do that any more.

I should fall back on my textbooks to help me through, right? I should do, yes. I have bought the textbooks for my subjects, but they remain pretty much untouched. I've flicked through them a couple of times, but the German is so dense as to be practically impenetrable.

All this points to one thing: my German is not good enough to study out here. Sure, I can get by in shops and in conversations with people, but for academic study, specifically legal academic study, it is insufficient. I've worried about this for sometime, and have tried to take steps to remedy the situation, but to no avail. For me, this is thoroughly depressing. I came here to better my German, not to learn the law, but I find myself struggling on that front too. Sometimes I even wonder if it's worth all of the hassle and hardship.

So there you have it: this is the rut I find myself in, the Teufelskreis I cannot break out of, and the general state of affairs that I don't want to be a part of any more.

What annoys me most is that last night I promised myself I would change my ways, but the previous weekend's sequence of events had already set in motion the eventual cause of my inability to set things straight. No doubt that by getting out of bed at midday today, I have ruined my chance of making it to my 9am lecture tomorrow.

Not that I want to go anyway...


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