Thursday, December 15, 2005

Law School Exam Period Paradox

So there's no question that it's a tough time. I would like to extend my particular sympathies to those who have done nothing throughout the semester and must now try to cram as much information as they can into their wearied brains.

I have been doing most of my work for exams up at the school, in the computer lab. I do get out of the room fairly often to go smoke or to grab a cuppa joe from time to time, and I've been pleasantly surprised by how nice it is to chat with people.

First of all, there's a set patter that you can go through. How many exams have you done, what have they been like. These questions let you examine issues that are more personal. How did you like the professor? What's your group study been like? Would you recommend the class? Questions that are both natural and let you share values and feelings.

And the stress doesn't (in my limited experience) lead to people being mean, but rather people expressing their feelings and finding sympathy in each other. All of these discussions end with a uniquely heartfelt "good luck on your exams." And though the form of the statement is banal, the participants know that the sentiment is based on shared experience. Nobody else really knows what we're going through, and the collective identity is strong and reassuring.

I have said repeatedly that I do not like law school, that I think its practices amount to little more than hazing. But the humanity expressed by people in times of stress is a good thing.

I still wish festering sores upon my Contracts professor, but that's neither here nor there.


Fishfrog said...

It is the very hazing that allows to connect in the way you describe. It's the feeling of equality between people with a shared experience.

Matt said...

Yes, and so law school passes the "but for" test of causation with respect to humanity and goodness.

Similarly, "but for" the Holocaust, the family that hid the Franks would never have been able to express human decency.

I must carefully guard my righteous hatred of law school.