Welcome back, Class of 2008

Welcome back, 2E’s of Capital Law! Here at the beginning of our fifth semester, I find it’s a good time to take stock of where we are and where we’re going. Time slips by so quickly.

Law school has been a lot tougher than we imagined, but we made it to the midpoint, right? Here at the end of the first half of the second year, we’d be exactly half done with law school… if only we had followed the lead of our turncoat former colleagues, those wretched people who switched to the day program. Now they’re part of the snobby “day people,” those green youngsters who until recently were still mired in extensive disputes over Property I and the system of conveyances. We didn’t follow that path. No, we decided to be “smart” and keep our jobs while losing our heads, and now must face the reality of 28 more months of night school, including summers. “I’ll pay for school as I go,” we said, “so I won’t be in too much debt at the end.” Ha.

Here at the uneasy start to a fresh semester, I like to think what’s become of us. One thing is: there are a lot fewer of us than there used to be. As you might know, I keep a semi-morbid list of the fallen: those students who started with us, but are no longer with us. People have left our class for a number of reasons: lack of interest; deciding the law isn’t for them after all; the high cost of tuition; better job offers; medical problems. I truly regret the loss of so many colleagues, and encourage those still left to hang on, because I think the rewards are worth the pain. Still, I can’t help keeping track out of curiosity.

2008-chartAccording to my official count, we started August 2004 with 91 students. Every semester, we lose about 10% of our class, not counting those day student emigres. The current total is only 46 who’ve hung in there. At this rate, I will be the only student left come May 2008, and even that isn’t certain. Last night over pizza, Prof. Darling evoked the spectre of my own dropping out. “I can imagine the sad scene when you slowly cross your own name off the list, closing your computer forever.” (I love FASHes!) :)

One of the things they warned us about law school is it tends to turn us all into competitive jerks. Either you are outwardly competitive and trying to impress everyone else, or you are competitive but covering it up. Most people pretend not to be interested in this, but one thing I’ve discovered is, secretly, they are. And what a perfect environment we’ve got for the comparing! Not only is there the all-present GPA, but we also have created a variety of other ways to measure ourselves, usually in pompous, sanctimonious, self-aggrandizing ways: all the clubs, elections, societies, and just plain old cliques and study groups. (In some ways, law school is more like high school than college. At least in college, there was a pretense that we were supposed to act like adults now. I’d pay extra tuition never to hear about another “important” law school election again.)

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4 Responses

  1. JUSTME says:

    So you are telling me in Law school you have pressure to: have a high GPA, belong to clubs, elections, societies, and just plain old cliques and study groups.
    This makes me recall an elementary school that wanted to take away the grading process. They said they didn’t want to be “A sage on the stage, but a guide at the side.” Their theory was that small children should just feel good about school even if they couldn’t read, make change with money, find where they lived on the map, or knew anything about spelling or history. They felt it would just be better to you know, uh like send home reports that said “Tommy is an okay guy.”

    I remember a parent or two protesting this thinking, even to the point of bringing a tape recorder to the meeting so any quotes by the teachers could be put in the newspaper and would be accurate. Eventually the school gave up the idea. They really hated being a guide at the side when they were on tape.

    Just think if this non grade system had been implemented. You might now be content to be just a garbage driver, or maybe even a bum on High Street. But you would feel good about yourself right? According to these educators.

    In any event I think this web page should now have a count down calendar of the days left before we bid law school and law school tuition goodbye.

    About the driving discourse, yes if they drive slower they are an idiot, or if faster they are an idiot.

    Remember everyone in society does try and find someone who is lower on the totem pole to make them feel better. Even a heroin addict will take pride in the fact they have been using less years than another addict. A murderer will take pride in have killed less people than Gary Gilmore.

    A measure of a man and his character is who he uses for the yardstick against which he measures his own achievements and failures.

    And there is an old saying from the Nun Story (look it up Audrey Hepburn) “You can cheat yourself but you can’t cheat God.”

    To this I say, you really can’t cheat yourself, you know if you have made a 100% effort or if you have slacked off.

    Whenever I see people slacking off, including myself, I remember Jerry who has cerebral palsy. Anyone who has good arms and legs, and can talk easily and isn’t making the best of all he or her has should walk in Jerry’s shoes for a while.

    While he has not the education of many of us, he is as competitive as the finest athlete and I bet no one at school told him he was okay.

    Knowing you have tried 100% with your talents will get you the best sleep at night

    Sorry this is so serious.. Signed Justme

  2. Matt says:

    Man, I think Justme needs his or her own weblog! It just seems like he or she has so much to say!

  3. Marcus says:

    I agree–JustMe is quite prolific!

    And it’s not a “semi-morbid” chart, but a flat-out morbid chart. Amusing all the same, at least from the outside. It must be hard to lose colleagues that you liked, even if you barely knew them. I mythologize the days of my fellowship at the National Library of Medicine, even though it was only one year. Any intense experience–few are more intense than law school–seems to generate such reactions.

  4. JUSTME says:

    JUSTME is getting a weblog it is coming soon..

    Here readers can write in and ask any question from personal realtionships, how to get a loan, communication skills, how to fix a mail jeep, and yes.. home construction tips.

    As JUSTME will soon have loads and loads of extra time, this weblog will be the place you and your friends can go to for not just advice but GREAT ADVICE

    And I promise NO GUILT TRIPS on you for smucking up your life and having to ask for the advice to begin with.

    Signed JUSTME