i'm a veteran at this whole law-school thing. hell, i have a law degree and everything. you'd think that one more year of this would be painless and smooth. i mean, i'm in my element; i am studying my favorite subject matter, the one to which i am dedicating my professional life. i am at a world-class school, and i have every opportunity to be everything i want to be. but something's been just a little... off about this whole experience. we're four weeks in, and inside my program, i feel totally at ease and comfortable. tonight, it finally hit me exactly what the problem is in my new home.
it's that it's not really a "home." everyone's perfectly nice in the general population; no one's been outwardly cruel or horrible to me. but these kids are not interested in being a community. this is one of those schools where every person there, especially in the non-LL.M. crowd, is 100% out for himself or herself, and frankly, you're kind of in their way. this is such a misguided approach to law school, to the practice, and to life in general. good lord. i mean, it's not surprising, i guess. it's a whole school full of hardcore overachievers, people who have reached for the best all their lives. why stop now? it's gotten them everything they've ever wanted.
except it doesn't have to be that way. look, i'm a recovering overachiever myself. and i've spent a lot of time lamenting the time in my life when i settled. but there's a definite - and vitally important - difference between striving healthily for the best you can get and what these kids are doing. devoting yourself to the cold, ruthless pursuit of the next brass ring on your list, damn the torpedoes, is by far not the only way to get what you want. take it from me; above average effort nets you almost as much as bare-knuckles overwork, and it makes you a LOT happier.
so i look around at the overcompetitive, hyper-"friendly" gunner kids at my school with a combination of confusion and pity. it makes me sad for them, but it makes me feel that much better about my strategy for life. i may not be the valedictorian of my class. but i'll give this program my best. that means my best in academics, in culture, and in the bare recognition that i'm not the only person on the planet, in the city, in the school or in the hall. we all earned our way here. why not be friends?
Letter 70: Be Louder
4 weeks ago