Now all I need is a hot pot to keep in my locker

September 24, 2009 § Leave a comment

In law school, they don’t give you personal coffee mugs–they give you personal coffee pots.

This was a gift I received today at the HLS “Love Your Library Fest”, which basically consists of 1Ls running around the library scrounging up as much candy and free swag as they can carry (highlighters, pocket editions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, mini-flags, and your own personal coffee pot), with no regard for those who are actually trying to study. The funny thing is that the people who seem the least concerned with being quiet while walking through the library seem to be the library staff.

In other news, my head is about to explode with trying to decide between all of the student activities, practice organizations, and journals. 1Ls are basically slave labor to these groups, and I have a feeling that many, if not most, law students drop many of their organizations once they make it over the 2L hump. Here is a good analogy: Harvard hosts multiple (think 10-20) special events, talks, panels, information sessions, etc. each day, many with free food and most of which seem to be aimed at 1Ls. Harvard is a very large school, full of eager beavers. The eager beavers pack into these events, grab up the free food and chairs in a this very Hobbesian-state of nature dash and grab , listen intently for 10-15 minutes, and then leave in droves once they’ve decided they’ve gotten all they need. I have attended at least 5 different events in which literally half of the other attendees packed up their stuff and walked out less than halfway through.

So my guess is that 1L is very similar: everyone rushes to sign up for activities, journals, organizations, update their resumes and attend a few meetings, maybe spend a weekend subciting, and then quickly begin to dropout when they realize that they have overstretched themselves and need to focus more on their classes and job search. This is just my guess, but I have a feeling it explains why all of the groups are so desperate to recruit 1Ls.

Despite my cynicism, I too am being easily lured in by all the fancy activities with their tasty treats and nice spokespeople. Journal of Law & Gender? I have a gender–sign me up! Free Indian food AND books at the Human Rights Journal Information Session? I do love naan and I’m sure I’ll have time to read a book about school choice in South Africa! Harvard Couples Association? I’m in a couple! (Not to mention, they had the best home-baked nom noms at their booth). So right now I’m very full and haven’t spent my own money on food in days, have more swag than I know what to do with, and am contemplating at least 10 different student organizations. Ultimately, I know I’ll whittle it down to 2-3 (4?), but right now I can’t even think straight. On top of that, I’ve read so many hundreds of pages in the last 4 weeks that I think my brain has reached its saturation point–now, when I read anything that I won’t be cold-called on to explain, my eyes just sort of skim over the words and my brain absorbs maybe 10% of the information. One of the only things keeping me sane right now is the fact that everyone I talk to is in the exact same mental state. The most common response to the typical “How are you?” question is “Ughhhh.” Not really a word…just a noise.

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