Rule 11: Do appreciate the small things; Don’t focus only on the big things

So today’s Land law paper didn’t go as planned. It was the one subject that I felt remotely prepared for and quite psyched to sit! But as soon as I opened the paper and saw that there was no essay on family homes (the one question that has been on every land law paper since 2009) an ominous feeling overtook me.

It was a pretty tough paper. The essay questions were framed oddly and the problem questions involved very complex issues. So my hopes of doing quite well in Land were quickly shattered into tiny little pieces. And, of course, the fact that I had only had about 5 hours sleep didn’t help. That was really my bad – a lack of sleep affects you so much in an exam, especially ones that require you to think on the spot! So just a side note: remember to get enough quality sleep before an exam!

Anyway, the point is that even though I didn’t do as well as I would’ve wanted, the current score is:

Me: 4     v      Oxford: 0

YEP, I’ve sat FOUR exams in the last four days. Written 16 essays in 12 hours. And will never had to look at Contract, Tort, EU or Land law again (academically). SMALL VICTORIES, but doesn’t it feel great?!

Believe it or not though, that’s actually not the “small things” I’m referring to in my title. After my exam today, when I was in quite a meh mood, I just went back to my room and slept. And when I finally woke up, I went to Cafe Nero to get myself an iced caramel latte to wake up and prepare myself for revision for my next exam (Admin law tomorrow). Now, this is my fault but I didn’t bring my wallet because I couldn’t be bothered to look for it in my mess of a room. I brought my phone instead and was going to pay with Apple Pay. Anyone who knows me knows that I usually don’t rely on advanced technology like that, but nonetheless I’d paid with Apple Pay at Nero before, so I assumed it would be fine. But for some reason, when I went to pay, the card reader kept rejecting my payment. At this point i thought, the ONE time I place my SOLE reliance on technology, it fucks me over. Now what?

And just as I was feeling pretty embarrassed, and devising a plan (to be honest the plan was pretty much to apologise and leave without my latte), a voice behind me said ‘Miss, would you mind if I paid for your drink?’ And it was as if someone had sent me an angel from the heavens. I know that sounds a little over-the-top-melodramatic but it really was so kind. Having grown up in London as well, these kind of things really rarely ever happens.

I turned around to see this small-framed, kind young man and explained my situation, especially that I wouldn’t be able to pay him back since I didn’t have my wallet on me. The man listened, smiled and insisted that it’s ok, saying ‘that’s happened to me so many times before, I fully understand how annoying it is.’ So this complete stranger, knowing that I had nothing to give in return, paid for my drink and then looked me in the eyes and said ‘I hope you have a lovely day’. The barista was so taken aback by his kindness too, he filled a new loyalty card with the ten stamps needed, giving the man a free drink. And the man chuckled and said ‘ah, so we all win!’ And that was that. I thanked him sincerely, and bid him well.

And as I left with my iced caramel latte, a smile beamed over my face. Not because I had just saved myself £3.94, but because in the midst of exams and stress I had forgotten that I live in a world full of other people; fellow humans, constantly crossing paths with one another in a world that can seem so lonely sometimes. Everyone has their own problems. But the kind of impact we can leave on each other is so great. Most likely, I will never see this kind young man again, but he has, in the short moment our paths crossed, reminded me what it means to be kind.

So even though the big thing that happened today was that I sat my land law exam. It is the small thing that happened which has had a greater impact on me. And whenever I feel like saying ‘there’s no hope in humanity’, I think I ought to question myself and ask what kind of impact I’ve been leaving on other people; always remembering to be kind.

As Desmond Tutu said:

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

HNTBALS  out x


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