21 April 2009

Enlightenment

Posted by Shake sense into me

Law school took a turn for the worse recently.

The social situation got outtacontrol. Seriously. Out. Of. Control.

Lesson to all the 0L's out there:

Law school is a place where you are just beginning your professional career. This means, basically, that your classmates will be your colleagues, maybe even your boss one day. When you are going out and getting trashed, singing "I will survive" at the top of your lungs - keep it classy. This is possible. Do not appear desperate for attention. Do not get a DUI in law school. Do not act irresponsibly. There are so many alcohol events in law school, it is easy, in one night, to lose all respect you had among your peers. Further, there are often DAs, PDs, and attorneys at these events - your reputation starts here.

Further, your professors are just the beginning of your network - they know people. Powerful people. Get to know them. Get them to like you. Most of them don't even care if you don't volunteer in class - go to office hours, e-mail them, get them on your side.

Watch how you act, react, and your words. There is a reason people say law school is like high school, and it isn't only the amount of hooking up that goes on - although that is a lot of it. Part of it is the far reaching rumor mill - people you neverwouldathunk, think something about you. If you walk around, not friendly, secretive, stand-offish...even if you genuinely have good intentions, people are not going to take this well. People who you don't even know exist.

So be wise, 0Ls. Next year, when you embark on what could turn in to the best year or the worst year of your life, be aware of what you do, what you say, your facial expressions, and who you associate with. It is absolutely possible to fly under the radar. But I think the best place to be is everyone's friend. Be a person that you would want to befriend - don't be fake, be yourself - but don't be disrespectful. Don't go an get trashed, and expect no one to know about how drunk you were, the next day, or next week. You don't want to be known by your fellow colleagues, as an alcoholic, or someone who is out of control. You also don't necessarily want to be known as stiff or not willing to have a good time. Find a balance. There are plenty of sober people in law school who are a lot of fun. But don't put yourself in a position where you have lost a significant amount of respect. Respect is key. Earn it. (You don't just get respect, by the way...)

Most importantly, don't cut out the people you love right now, next year. It is nearly impossible to maintain your close relationships. But it isn't impossible to pick them back up where you left off when you have time. If someone is truly your friend now, they will understand 100% that when you tell them you may not be able to call, e-mail, gchat, hang out with, etc. for a weeks, months, at a time. But be true to your word and make sure they know how much they mean to you, so they don't feel compelled to abandon you. Put yourself in their shoes, it would suck to lose a friend for a few months.

The moral of the story is, be true to yourself and always remember why you are in law school - know that this is a means to an end, an end that never really ends so long as your goal is to constantly develop professionally, intellectually, and personally. Law school is not as bad as it is made out to be, for many. But for some, it sucks. Don't let it suck for you. Use it to your advantage.

/rant.