Apologies times a million for slacking. Being a grown-up is hard.
If you talk to me for like, 5 seconds, you know I’m in law school. If you talk to me for 15 seconds, you’ll hear me bitch about it. I’m not sure I’ve made myself clear on why it’s so difficult, so I’d like to walk you through some reasons why I pretty much feel like I’ve been steamrollered during every waking hour (and sometimes sleeping ones…no that’s cool, I definitely wanted to dream about Torts.)
1. Your whole grade for a class depends on 3-4 hours
No, really. Your WHOLE. GRADE. is the final exam. There’s no midterm, there’s no problem sets, there’s no “but I went to literally every office hour you had please do not give me that grade I will do anything.” Every single exam you have is like the Olympics. Yes, Michael Phelps was in like a trillion events and won all of them because he’s a pot-smoking champion with titanium ligaments and a dolphin heart or whatever. But let me state: they were all SWIMMING events. It’s not like he had to go re-train for every single event; he still remembers how to swim. Having a torts final and a criminal law final and a civil procedure final is like doing a race involving the butterfly stroke, but then immediately having to go do a shotput event, and then finishing strong with some rhythmic gymnastics. (Probably that hoop thing, too, what the hell is that even I DON’T KNOW.) You also have to train for all of them simultaneously.
2. You can’t miss class
Okay, you CAN. I’m not saying if a bus hits you on your way to class that you need to pick your pancreas up off the ground and suck it up for 80 minutes, but barring OUTBREAK!-like illness, you have to go to class. This is for several reasons. One is that they take attendance every day, because if you miss enough classes, you legit don’t get credit for the class, because the professor can move to exclude you from the final. Yes, on paper that sounds awesome (WHAT NO FINAL BEST DAY EVER) but really it means “oh hey champ do errythang again.” Because you probably can’t graduate without whatever class that is. The other major reason is things won’t make sense in your notes. Possibly ever. You read for class in order to have the professor tell you where you are right (the facts of the case, sometimes), and where you are wrong (everywhere, about everything). Yes, you can get notes from other people, but they will never look like YOUR notes, and you’ll always be a little more confused about that topic/set of cases than you will about the other days.
And this leads me to…
3. Read for class or you’re f***ed
No really. This is not like undergrad where it was better if you read, but not a disaster if you didn’t. You won’t understand a damn thing. And even if you don’t read, it’s not like “oh okay we covered it, now I don’t have to read at all,” it’s more like “oh sweet now I have to do it at a later time.” Class is where you go to get your outside work clarified. No, there is no homework: you don’t have to turn in a book report called Our Friend The Commerce Clause. But you HAVE to stay on top of the reading. IT NEVER ENDS. IT NEVER SLOWS DOWN. THE CASES ARE LIKE THAT WILDEBEEST HERD IN THE LION KING. DON’T BE MUFASA. THAT WAS WAAAAY TOO SOON BUT GOSH DARN DO I LOVE CAPSLOCK.
There’s yet another reason why you should keep up with your reading.
4. You’re gonna get cold-called
Let me see if I can paint a picture for you. You’re at a production of Cats. (Hang in there, it gets worse.) You’re like 20 minutes in or so, and you’re kind of lost, mildly bored and moderately uncomfortable. They keep using unfamiliar words like “jellicle.” You just want to call your mommy and tell her you love her.
And then the Rum Tum Tugger pulls you onstage and makes you sing “Memory.”
Everyone is now looking at you, and you’d better not screw up the lyrics, or Grizabella’s gonna write down in her beat-up notebook that you weren’t prepared. And someone dressed in a catsuit is now judging you, along with a bunch of people who paid money to see Cats.
Okay, so my analogy fell apart a little there, but you get it, hopefully. It’s scary and embarrassing and it keeps happening just like the show was on Broadway for like 15 years or some ridiculous thing.
Bigger, badder, more irritating version of That Guy/Girl. This person will not shut up. This person will make your class experience 10 percent more entertaining and 90 percent more filled-with-plots-to-murder. (Protip: don’t tell me about them. That’s premeditation and it’s gonna ratchet up your conviction. Also protip: don’t murder.)
If you don’t know who the gunner is in your class…it’s you.
6. Significant portions of school exist because horrible things happened and you’re reminded of them constantly
Much of constitutional law exists because certain people who happened to be in power decided other people didn’t matter as much. A lot of torts law exists because horrible accidents happened to people and the only possible way to even come close to fixing it involved money. All of crim exists because people did ATROCIOUS things to other people. All the gradations of homicide and assault exist because lawmakers had to decide just how horrible you have to be for first degree versus second degree. This “people are mean” element doesn’t show up in every part of law, but it happens often. And if you let it get to you, it REALLY gets to you.
If you hear me complain, this is why, or at least most of why. Law school be HARD, and there are days I feel like I’m barely hacking it, but hopefully you’ll understand why I sometimes gchat you saying “COME RESCUE ME PLEASE THIS IS HARD AND I AM WEAK.”
Memoryyyy, all alone in the moooonlight….