It is 01:49 am. My hand is cramping up, forcing me to drop my pen and awkwardly do finger exercises. I’m locked in my (by now stuffy) room, making notes on how to become a judge in Spain (necessary information I will no doubt need in the future). Lana del Rey’s songs are playing in a desperate attempt to distract myself from the faint party music making its way from the kitchen into my room.
It is truly strange to make hand-written notes again. I only make them when I have to learn things by heart because the writing and then the hand-written notes help me remember what I can’t forget during the exam. But after one year of Covid and, thus, of sit-down exams that were replaced by papers, take-home exams, and whatever other forms of examination my professors came up with (making YouTube videos, for one of my courses), my hand muscles seem to have broken down to the bare minimum. Writing page after page after page in stress, day after day, is simply too much and makes my hand feel like I smashed it into a wall.
Though, I must say, the hand cramps do have one central advantage: they force me to take breaks and, in these, allow me to socialise with my housemates. These conversations are like breaths of fresh air, of life outside my four walls, of what I could be getting worked up over. And the gossip, luckily, is abundant. My one roommate kissed someone who the person living in the apartment under ours (and a friend) liked first. Scandal. Also, a newly emerging couple that I was strongly rooting for broke up when one of the two kissed a stranger in front of the second. Outrageous.
Then, after a few minutes of soaking up the social drama, back to my room I scuffle, ready for another couple of hours of trying to understand why Spain has so many different courts while being pleased by finding that one of these many is a Court of Violence against Women. Inspiring.
Edit: One exam down, the newly emerging couple that broke up is now back together again on casual terms.
Jesler van Houdt