Sunday, December 28, 2008

1L.1 in review

This semester has gone by faster than any that I can remember. Because of that (and because I am a nostalgic goon) I thought I'd run through the highlights and low points on 1L.1.

The semester went a lot more smoothly than I imagined it would. My personal life didn't self-destruct, my apartment wasn't a constant mess explosion, I didn't gain or lose a bunch of weight and I managed to preserve my mental health to my satisfaction. I had really hyped law school before starting, and while that made things a little rough for a while, I think ultimately I adjusted because I realized that it wasn't worth going crazy over.

In terms of academics, I really like law school. I like the class material, I like the reading subject matter, I like the way that the classes are taught (with greater and lesser skill by profs), I like that my classmates are by and large intelligent individuals who are prepared for class, I like the idea of what I'm learning. My substantive classes this semester were civ pro, torts and crim, and I found each of them intriguing in different ways. In some ways this puts me in a weird spot, because I liked everything enough to not know what I want to learn more about, whether in classes or a summer job. Yes, the workload is heavier than in college, but since I'm actually interested in what I'm learning (and since I see actual application of what I'm learning) it doesn't really bother me that there is a lot of work. Honestly, I don't think that it is an unmanageable amount of work, and I'm a bit surprised at people who do. Overall, I think law school was the right choice for me.

On the other hand, in terms of the social aspects, I'm still a bit iffy on everyone. Maybe I'm just someone who needs more time to adjust to social situations, and maybe I'll really find my niche in the spring. I hope so. I have found one really, really great friend, and there are a few people who I like to hang out with. I'm still wary though because of the drama that has happened to me and to my section-mates. Seeing the same 80 people day in and day out, hanging out with them evenings and weekends, having all our classes together, doing all of the same things at the same time - it wears on me. Its no wonder there is drama, we don't have a lot to talk about aside from ourselves and each other. I'm not used to the pressure of competition, to the scrutiny that comes with spending so much time together, and most of all I'm not used to being around so many know-it-alls. With so many cooks in the kitchen my response is usually, "Fuck it. I'm going home for some quiet time." And when you're the person that bails, its hard to make friends.

I'm also still somewhat unsatisfied with the mixing of law school and my pre-law school personal life. On the one hand I feel like I spent A LOT of time dicking around this semester (law and order, anyone?). On the other hand I feel like I almost never had time to spend with my BF, with my friends from college that also moved to Law School City, or to go back to my home town and hang with friends and family there. I think that the obvious absence of non-law school social life contributed to being unsatisfied with my law school social life. Plus, I didn't realize how weird it would be to try and talk about law school with "outsiders". My friends and family are really interested to hear how things are going and if I'm doing well and enjoying it, but for the most part that's about it. Its hard to bring people up to speed on the very particular world that law school is, and its frustrating because sometimes I really need an outside view. It doesn't help that I really miss my home town, and that every time I'm there all I can think about is how great my life will be once I'm out of school and can actually live the way that I want to.

Ultimately, in spite of being less enthusiastic about the social aspects, I really like law school and I'm glad I made this choice. This is getting a bit new year-clean slate, but hopefully I can use this reflection in a positive way to help me shape the next semester into being better than the last.

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