Monday, May 05, 2008

Notes From The Library 3: Karma

Well with my third final (a riveting 3 hours of Criminal Law questions and essays) I am now on the back end of my law school finals odyssey. A final Torts 2 exam on Friday is all that stands in my way towards sweet freedom (until I start summer classes a week or so later).

The motivation to study for said exam however is at an all time low. The situation is hopelessly stacked against me giving a damn about the rubber test. As of this point 10/12ths of my final grade is now locked in and unchangeable, for better or for worse. This measly 2 credit afterbirth of a class can only significantly affect my GPA in the rare case of an extremely high grade or an extremely low grade. In addition, even the professor realized the wholly unnecessary nature of the school mandating a second semester of Torts and gave up seriously teaching just before the students gave up seriously learning. It's definitely going to be quite an interesting curve when these dueling apathies collide on Friday.

Never the less I should probably crack open a textbook here and there just to make sure I end up in that nice plush, comfortable cushion of mediocrity right in the middle of the curve. So as part of my continuing my regimen of diligently playing all the available angles in studying, except for the studying itself, I am working the intangibles in the form of karma.

Now regardless of your inherent beliefs or philosophies, one can only benefit from hedging your bets by accumulating karma. I'm not saying you should be devoting your life to some righteous path or radically changing your world view or priorities; although I guess if you want to be my guest. The way I see it, collecting tiny bits of karma by doing minor positive things can only help you and over time these little micro transactions will hopefully add up to something significant (kind of like the "Tipping Point" I guess).

For me, I find numerous opportunities in get bits of goodwill around the library where I spend the bulk of my days studying/contemplating why I'm in law school/sleeping. I don't know what the situation is like in other law schools or graduate schools in general, but I have never seen such a selfish, inconsiderate bunch of students. Everywhere you go there are empty candy wrappers or coffee cups or scraps of paper along the study cubicles of the library. Although we study how to read and interpret rules and statutes we hardly seem to apply this in real life when viewing signs like "No laptops on X floor" or "No food or beverage allowed" or "Please be quiet during study hours". I don't even want to get into the horror show that is the bathroom stalls.

So in the face of such negative karma, I do my little part here and there to give myself a possible advantage. I don't get all Captain Planet on the library but if I'm on my way out and there's a trash can nearby I'll pick up a loose piece of litter here or there and properly dispose of it. One of my classic moves is turning off the individual cubicle lights that other people left on; saving energy, going green, very karmic. Those little touches along with the occasional pushing of a chair into a desk, returning a misplaced book to the front, a holding open of the door for another person, and of course always saying "good morning" and "good night" to the security and janitorial staff all accumulate to powerful goodwill.

Of course there's no hard evidence that any of this will actually help me and that these could just be the pointless superstitious rituals of a lazy, desperate student; but I stress again it can't hurt to make a good case for the karma police. Perhaps there is a universal calculus of equity and fairness, or maybe doing good acts will put me in a more test friendly positive state, or achieve a psychosomatic effect on me; in the end there's nothing but aggregate positives. If nothing else the library is just a tiny bit tidier, bottles are getting recycled, I'm feeling better about my prospects albeit microscopically, and most importantly I'm doing something other than studying.

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