Wrapping Up

I can’t deny that I’ve been neglecting my blog recently. It was never really my goal to keep it up to date all the time but I had hoped to post on topics of interest as frequently as possible. I haven’t forgotten it but it definitely slid down my priority list as the year went on.  Since spring, I’d settled on a topic for my dissertation (I approached my supervisor who suggested undertaking an study of discrimination set within the sphere of housing injustice), completed the dissertation (after deciding to focus on intersectional discrimination since addressing all the groups that I wanted to address was practically impossible within the space confines) and relocated back to Vancouver. I did manage to finish off the remainder of my duties for the LL.M. Society and my course representative commitments (I arrived home to be greeted by this neat Student Experience Certificate) before spending a wretched two day marathon, packing up and moving out of Nottingham so it wasn’t all sunshine.
I did, however, go on trips to Croatia, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg over the past few months- some of my friends kept questioning whether it was particularly wise to do during our designated working-on-dissertation-period… but I’d exuded a lot of effort getting the bulk of the work done before the end of July and skipped out on a trip back home which almost everyone else managed to accomplish. This made me a little more homesick than I’d been previously but if there’s anything I have to conclude from the entirety of my summer it’s this… explore Europe whenever you can because you don’t know whether you’ll have the opportunity to do so again.
Perhaps this is felt more acutely by myself than my peers since I live in North America. It’s not often that a completely different country is within reach of me, I almost felt a little panicked to see everything I could. I’d hoped to write a different post on my travels but seeing my record so far, I decided it was worth discussing in this one (or you’d never hear my thoughts on it, imagine that!) I also slipped in a train trip to Scotland which was absolutely lovely. We didn’t have time to explore the highlands but it’s worth it to have an excuse to go back.
I can hardly believe that a year has passed by since I started the degree. I’ve attained a stronger understanding of the field I’m interested in and a better direction of where I want to be career-wise. Involving myself in extra-curricular activities was also extremely beneficial- I can’t recommend it enough. It enriched the entire postgraduate experience.
Having to live and work independently was definitely a new venture which I can’t sufficiently describe through words. I feel more confident and better prepared for the adult life that I undeniably have to begin now ( and I definitely delayed it for as long as I could, if you ask my grandmother).
Finally, I think the worst part about leaving is the friends that became family. I’m starting to see the merit in a two-year masters degree- we wouldn’t have to leave each other so soon. It was inevitable anyway, we knew it would happen eventually but could hardly believe it when it did. We’ll all be together for the last time at graduation (assuming that I actually do pass!) and then, that will be it. The end of my LLM experience.

Image

Children are cute but is childhood a social construct?

Ironic really, since today was the day I audited the Rights of the Child module. It was the end of the day and I was trying to convince some of my fellow LL.M. candidates to attend it with me.
I’m bored of child rights
Not really interested…
Okay, given that today’s class was just a brief history lesson, aren’t child’s rights supposed to be the fun part of human rights? The part where we can all legitimately get fired up and morally appalled at the horrific ways that children are treated around the world?
Because children do have a right to be protected. Because they are a vulnerable demographic. Because childhood is an innate part of your life that holds a special quality.
Well, perhaps not really.
The conception of childhood has always varied from culture to culture and even the modern western paradigm of today hasn’t come to a consensus as to when a child becomes an adult.
At 18, they can vote. At 15, they can live independently. At 19, they can drink. At 16, they can drive. At 12, they can be found criminally responsible.
The problem doesn’t end with the arbitrary numbers that we have forced on children as a way to questionably determine their physical, mental and emotional maturity, we have abstract ideas about what children are and how we perceive them in any case.
For instance, we separate children from adults, they play different games and wear different clothes. We have an idea of them as innocent and naive, incapable of doing harm. We know that children aren’t rational actors so we protect them from themselves by suspending some of their rights until they mature.
But what I found most interesting of all is how we bear the burden of this responsibility.
I keep finding the notion tied to bodily rights and freedom- why is it the duty of human beings to take care of and support other human beings (even if the latter human being is their offspring)?
John Locke extrapolates about the love and affection that a parent has for a child but he never goes so far as to deem it a duty, for isn’t “paternalism [an] odious tyranny” (Archer, 2004)? Of course, the main idea being that as much as children need guidance and guardianship, adults deserve their freedom just the same.
This is relevant in terms of what quite a few of my friends struggle with. They don’t want to have children and resent the society that inflicts parenthood upon them.
In the ideal world, I do want children. And, aside from the children’s rights aspect, I find myself mulling over the right of adults to not have children or to take any responsibility for any children at all.
Of course, this is a small part of the debate concerning the history of child rights but it’s a compelling one nonetheless.

Let’s try this again

They keep telling me to start a blog. They, meaning everyone. From friends to professor to career advisers.
I didn’t want to tell them how many times I’ve failed at creating this blog. My travels, for the moment, are shielded from the eyes of the internet (which isn’t always a bad thing).
Anyhow, they think it’s a great idea.
Perhaps it is, I’ve always visited academic subjects in my personal journals, so why shouldn’t I put it all up on the internet. At best, it’ll serve as motivation for someone else to become interested in the subject matter that I discuss and, at the very least, I’ll be able to review this before my exam.
So basically, I’m going to lay out a few objectives and take it from there.

1. First and foremost, I’m going to describe what I’m learning through my Masters in Law course and, when appropriate, apply it to current events and my own experiences.

2. I’ll talk about my integration into the United Kingdom educational system by examining my university to see what it has to offer myself and other students.

This is the third introduction that I’ve written for this blog. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take at least a little bit of time out of readings to actually write something.