Friday, December 05, 2003

School's Out

Blogging from my final class of the semester- Contracts. In another 40 minutes, my first semester of law school will be over (except for exams), which means I made it longer than I had the first time I was here. This should encourage my parents and family, especially as I am openly flirting with transferring, which cause quite a few heart palpitations back on Cape Cod. I had to swear on my life that I would not drop out of law school, no matter how much I do not like law school or St. Louis.
The thing about law school is, to me, not that it is all that challenging. What irks me is that it seems too much like a job (I know.. crazy me.. it's a PROFESSIONAL school, duh). So far there is very little intrinsic value to law school. Maybe this will change and I hope that it does. Though I was never fully happy in grad school, at least I found some intrinsic value in thinking big thoughts.
Here the level of thought is really a very micro level, with many folks concerned only about class, happy hour and getting a job. Very few seem to be intellectually driven, but maybe I am wrong. Maybe the system forces people into a sort of narrow think that resembles neurotic fixation on outlining and purchasing every study aid known to mankind.
And perhaps it is the age difference. A great majority of my peers are here directly, or within two years of graduating, from college. Given the relative weakness of undergraduate education these days, and its attendant rampant grade inflation, some of them seem to have never had to work all that hard. And faced with a task like law school, where one cannot take a few days off and then catch up at the end of the semester, they are scared out of their wits. Maybe the experience of working and graduate school have given me a different perspective on how to study and manage what I need to do. But I also think that part of it is seeing the big picture and not getting lost on the micro tasks of day to day law school life. Of course, just like my peers, I want to do well and I want to get a good job (with the loans I have the kind of job I really need is a bank job, if you know what I mean), but I also realize that life will go on even if I am not at the top of my class. And that there are other things I need to do, outside of law school, not only to keep my sanity, but to enjoy life. I refuse to forego living for three years of law school. It simply is not worth it.
But that does not mean I do not work at all. I am more often than not, on top of my readings and attend class ad feel that I understand the material. I just don't get the whole "oh my god, it's November, I need to lock myself in the library until Break" mentality. Either people have been so scared by 1L and other tales of law school life, or they simply did not learn the material as the course went along. But does anyone really think they are going to learn Contracts in the time between Thanksgiving and the Final?
There really is so much hype about law school and how difficult it is. But to me a lot of this seems to stem from the legal professions desire to maintain its image as a learned and elite profession (yes, I am aware of our other image). From what I can tell, you may need to be bright to get into a top 25 law school, but I am not convinced that one has to be all that bright to succeed. It seems more a matter of one's willingness to keep up with the reading and briefing and going to class. There really is nothing particularly profound about battery, future interests, or offer and acceptance.


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