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    « Cautious rights for Banana Benders | Main | Rethinking the delivery of law »
    Sunday
    Dec162018

    A special moment

    Rarified and ancient law subject ... Barely Legal comes third in the class ... A medal for his troubles ... Not much ceremony here ... Tin posing as bronze 

    Year after year, Barely Legal has watched them waltzing by: medallists and placegetters, toppers of subjects, academic Phar Laps. The kind who casually inquire after your marks, hoping you'll ask them the same question in return. The kind who go to award nights, Dean's drinks, and who clerk at only the best firms. 

    It turns out their ivory towers aren't so unscalable after all - finally, I've placed in a subject, coming third in 17th Century Taxation Law on the Islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Taught by that uncompromising Grand Wizard Lord Justice Emmett.

    This seventh year elective is a tough nut to crack - all three of us agree. 

    So I was in undergrad's heaven when my results were released last week: third in the course, and a bronze medal for my troubles. It was almost better than nicking free food from the conference luncheons  in the law foyer.

    For days, my eyes were glazed over with visions of prize ceremonies: processing through the Great Hall, shaking the Chancellor's hand, holding my medal up for all to see, my parents in the front row - Dad finally mouthing "we're proud of you".

    Then on Tuesday I got the following email:

    Dear Barely Legal, 

    Your physical medal has arrived for pickup.This can be picked up from the Scholarships Office, Level 35, Administration Tower B, between the hours of 9am and 5pm any time this week.

    Kind regards,

    Peter Tang

    Something felt fishy here - this didn't seem like a prize night to me. But a medal's a medal, and maybe they were going to give it to me now and hold the ceremony later?

    I trundled to the grey Orwellian mass that is Admin Tower B, all the way up to level 35. There, at the end of a long, red corridor, behind a single black door, lies the Scholarships Office. 

    I rang the bell. 

    "Why are you here?" a raspy voice barked through the intercom. "All inquiries are to be directed to the Student Service and Enrichment Desk on level 43. This is the Scholarships Office. Leave at once." 

    "But, but - I'm here for my medal." 

    Silence. Then, after an age, the door creaked open. Out stepped a slim man, wearing a navy jacket, chinos and a pair of Adidas runners. The modern university administrator. 

    "What medal?"

    I showed him my email and asked if I could speak to Peter Tang. The man laughed. 

    "There is no one working here by the name of Peter Tang."

    I protested, putting my best mooting skills to the test. The slim man relented, and went back inside. 

    After a few minutes, another person emerged. He was holding a small, white cardboard box. 

    "Peter Tang?" I asked.

    He nodded and held out the white box. 

    "Here's your medal. Congratulations." 

    And then he was gone. I opened my box. The medal itself was bronze painted tin, and my name was spelt Bearly Legal. 

    I won't try so hard next time. 

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