"Once we have completely eradicated our delusions it will be utterly impossible for us to experience unpeaceful states of mind." Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Goodbye life, hello law school.

As my inner mind scolded me about prioritizing going for a morning jog instead of reading the last two cases in Constitutional Law, I thought to myself "I am simply partaking in a different method of studying... oral recitation... to myself... summarizing what I have learned in past two weeks..." And when I sat down to write this blog post, instead of getting started on Torts, I reassured myself that I was simply practicing my writing skills for the upcoming Legal Writing and Research quiz on Tuesday. Yep, nailed it... I'm already thinking like a lawyer, right?... or am I actually just getting back into the groove of homework procrastination?

It wasn't until I started looking for places to live, that I realized I was actually going to take the plunge and go to law school. Up until then, it was more of just an experiment; could I get in? Was I smart enough to "pass" the LSAT (although technically, there is no such thing as a pass/fail). It was the month prior to moving, when excitement and interest began to overtake my feelings of uncertainty and confusion, and part of the reason was my keen interest in research -- I ended up reading several books and blogs on what other first year law school experiences were like, which certainly gave me an insight for what to expect. Although of course like anything, reading about an experience can never substitute for living it and upon arriving, my expectations quickly subsided as I realized that my best move, was to live in the present and ditch the expectations for the facing the real thing head on!

With the less than flattering stereotypes placed on practising lawyers, I was extremely curious to find out for myself what kind of individuals applied to law school; whether the stereotypes are true of law students from the moment they set foot in the law school doors or whether the key personality traits of stereotypical lawyers were actually born in law school. As someone who cannot relate to the description of A-type personality, to say I was feeling slightly apprehensive is an understatement, as fitting in was not so much my goal as was simply getting by.

After the first week...

So who have I met? Well, there are definitely pretentious folks who are sometimes annoying, but ultimately just entertaining. They repeatedly use phrases like "in regards to" and "if you will" and "I ascertain that". The people I have come to adore though, are those who ask a million questions, and turn the whole class into a Q & A, so the professor ends up running out of time to actually go over the assigned readings - awesome! This is actually quite brilliant and appreciated though, because it's usually these people, and these random one-off questioning sessions which also end up answering the very same questions I have in my head.

The overwhelming majority of the people I have met, are, in a word, legit. They're interesting and opinionated and for the most part, an original bunch of characters who I am certainly looking forward to getting to know a lot better. Thus far, my favourite part about this whole experience has been being  surrounded by intelligent people who actually enjoy the learning process and delight in riveting conversation. The Dean of our law school introduced himself and the coming years with a piece of advice: stay humble. With the tremendous amount of intellect and capabilities I'm encountering on a daily basis, I feel like this will not be a problem; the only arrogance I will portray is the importance I have, by association to these incredible people who I will hopefully one day call my friends (two weeks in may be a little premature... although for the record, I've definitely already referred to a few as "friend" and it feels quite right!)

As for the course content, all I can say is that my program has six courses for the first 12 weeks, and it's a lot. Mostly it's foundational, and with a degree in business, I definitely feel the pressure of trying to catch up to those of my peers with backgrounds in pre-law and poli-sci. I'm constantly being tripped up on words that I may have an 80% hunch as to what they mean, but still resort to looking them up. Words like: unilaterally, viz, tortfeasor, obiter dicta, sentinel, adduce...

That's right, not only am I expected to learn the law, I'm also simultaneously going to be learning another language. Great. If you knew what these words mean without looking them up, congratulations you're smarter than me and should think about going to law school.. or perhaps becoming a speechwriter would be a good choice too.

I am really enjoying the professors and as with undergrad, I thoroughly believe that the instructor can either make or break a class. I appreciate the individuality of each teaching style from one to the other, and even though the Socratic method is slightly unnerving, I can now see the benefit of it -- when called upon in class, it forces me to come out of my shell and ultimately get more from the interactional experience. Also, it motivates me to do my readings and briefs, to avoid looking like a dork (too late?!) The professors at my school use a "mild" version of the Socratic, and unlike some institutions where apparently the instructors grill one specific student for the entirety of the class, our profs generally move on his/her next subject after a single question has been exhausted! It's a great gauge of how well you actually know the material, espeically when you think you've got it figured out, only to get called upon and completely mix up your facts... anyways...

Two weeks in and I have to admit, I've had my share of ups and downs. Like with any new life chapter, a fresh start can be exhausting. I am certainly looking forward to the day when the novelty has worn off, a new routine is in place and friends know my best stories, although as these two weeks have flown by, I can't help but predict that three years will pass and I'll be wishing I could come back to today and do it all over again.

Soundtrack of the day --

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are always encouraged!!