Challenge #1: Writing the Paper (Civil Law)

After yesterday’s – resolution? – to face my fears without hurting myself in the process, I thought about how to make my fears less… fearful. Most things are quite doable even if they seem like the biggest trials of our lives at the first glance. There are many things that caused frantic heartbeat, sweat pouring out, me thinking This gotta be the worst thing I’ve done in my life. Then I promptly forget about the experiences after the first sigh of relief at having them done and gone from my life.

My problem with these irrational fears is that they make me procrastinate facing them. To look at them without panicking and assess them in a practical, objective manner.
The same applies to tasks that are not necessarily fear-inducing but nonetheless difficult, huge and/or so complex that I want to weep.

After three years of entering the legal adulthood, during which period the number of unpleasant tasks I had to perform increased dramatically, I have come to the conclusion that the only way to deal with them is to start at 0% and progress to 100%. No tricks, no shortcuts, no waiting for the tasks to disappear. Just very old-fashioned – start at the beginning, and finish with the ending.

To help me deal with my irrational fears or unpleasant tasks, I thought of starting a challenge for each task I had to do – tasks that were making me anxious and stressing me out. Tasks that seem so overwhelming that I find myself running away in the other direction.
These challenges are posted in my blog because it’s a way of tracking them and seeing the progress, and also to make my resolution more firm by having it out of my head and in the (theoretically) world. I was inspired by Ashley‘s book A Story of Debt (available as ebook), which is a collection of her blog posts in which she chronicles her progress of getting out of debt. Her energy and motivation are very contagious, and her voice is a constant source of inspiration for me.

The first challenge is to write the paper for my civil law module.
Duration: March 5th – April 12th
Type: Case paper (i.e. the same hypothetical case assigned to everyone taking the module)
Topics (key words): eBay; contract during online auction; preformulated standard contract; triangle situation – provider of the platform and two users; Anfechtung vs. Rücknahme; theft & frustration; § 985 BGB
No. of tasks: 3 (Part I, Variation, Part II)
Sources: textbooks, commentaries, court decisions, articles
No. of pages: 20
Problems: 1) Both physical and electronic sources are available only in my university’s vicinity, and I am on a trip to Korea for three and a half weeks. 2) Lots of hours of research are needed in order to understand the problems and the various solutions other scholars have cooked up.
1. Tackle Part I
1.1. Read through the sources on the problem of PSC (aka AGB in German) and its relevancy in the case. Take notes (i.e. do not compose full sentences on the computer). Write down sources in brackets.
1.2. Take notes on: Geheimer Vorbehalt and Rechtsbindungswille.
1.3. Research & print out hard copies (if possible) on the problem of vorzeitiger Abbruch, Anfechtung/Rücknahme. Take notes and write down the sources in brackets. (UNIV. LIBRARY)
1.4. Take brief notes on § 138 BGB.
1.5. Consider §§ 311, 142 BGB.
2. Tackle Variation
2.1. Research & print out hard copies (if possible) on the problem of theft & frustration. (UNIV. LIBRARY)
2.2. Take notes and write down the sources in brackets.
3. Tackle Part II
3.1. General research
3.2. Research & print out hard copies (if possible) on the problem of …?? (UNIV. LIBRARY)
4. Write the whole thing out.
5. Research the problems that you have not noticed in the first round. (UNIV. LIBRARY)
6. Revise & cut.
7. Complete the bibliography (UNIV. LIBRARY)
8. Read aloud (hard copy).
9. Spelling check & final read-through.
10. Print it out & put it in a binder.
11. Hand it in on Monday, April 13th.

Anything that requires my university’s library before Step 5 needs to be done before I leave for Korea so that I can take the hard copies with me and work there.
Truth be told, I had already started on the paper, working out some outlines and swapping ideas with my friends & etc. I had even researched and addressed some problems (the easier ones) but then I was stuck and haven’t really worked on it in the past week. But now that I have a concrete purpose for trekking to the university tomorrow, I am filled with resolve!


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