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.
According 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.)