Monday, April 20, 2009

The End of the Discolored Rainbow

By CL * Other CL Posts

The above graph (click to enlarge) is intended to show the evolution of how I feel about law school. The fact that it's somewhat nonsensical flows from the message it is trying to send: my desire to be at law school is dropping exponentially, while the time I have left at law school is (surprisingly enough) declining linearly.

What does it all mean? For the first two years of my law school career, I really enjoyed it. I had a good work/life balance; I went out a lot without skipping class or missing any reading. I was able to stay sufficiently interested in my subjects that it wasn't much of a drag, and I would gear up for finals every semester by locking myself in a room for most of each day, countered by the occasional concert or night out.

This year? The work side is weighing much more heavily, even if it takes up a similar or smaller portion of my day. I can think of a few reasons for this:

1) Law school is not fun, and that becomes more obvious as three years pass.

2) I'm taking classes this semester that are slightly more bar-exam-oriented (evidence, tax) than the undergrad-major-oriented classes I took previously (law and economics, law and economics seminar, health law (viewed through the lens of law and economics), statistics for lawyers).

3) The economy is awful so half of my friends are taking an involuntary year off before starting work; this makes everyone unhappy and exacerbates the general negativity that pervades law schools nationwide.

This is in stark contrast to my experiences in high school and college. I never really had "senioritis" in either school; I wrapped up my obligations (high school: track, AP tests; college: ...let me get back to you on that) right on time and was ready to move on but also very happy to be there.

What's the difference between law school and earlier educational milestones? We've grown up. Most people graduate high school, lots of people graduate college; each is a recognized accomplishment. As a result, there's a lot of commemoration as you near the end of each, and an implicit deal with teachers and administrators that things should ease off as you approach graduation.

Law school - being a professional school - has no such deal. We're older, we're about to start real careers (sooner or later), and no one has (or should have) any sympathy for our waning desire to be here. There have been several times in my life where I was hit with the sensation of getting older (realizing that I remembered experiencing the years in which people old enough to vote were born, becoming an uncle, having the ultimately-meaningless birthdays between 21 and 25); this is the most subtle and perhaps most meaningful of them all.

3Ls of the world: we're finally not kids anymore. It's time to get to work.

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