Friday, September 15, 2006

Why Law Students Seem Boring

Studying the law is like being selectively brain-dead. The more time I spend here, the better I get at the various sorts of work that I need to do. For example, I just transferred my vehicle registration here from Pennsylvania, so I have to mount a front license plate on my car for the first time, and there's no bracket on my car with which to do so. So I found the Code of Virginia and looked up the relevant statute to find out which vehicles are exempt from front plate requirements. Then I checked what sort of violation it is if you don't have one, and how much the fine is. I'm not saying I'm an awesome legal researcher or anything — far from it — but a few weeks ago it wouldn't have occurred to me to do any of that.

On the other hand, I don't have time to go to Advance Auto and buy a license plate bracket for my car during the week, so I have to go do it on Saturday. I clean my apartment on Sunday mornings at 7 because I can't sleep past then anymore. I can figure out why it might make sense for a contractor who decides not to do a job to help the client find someone else to do it on favorable terms, but I can't remember to bring lunch to school. I haven't watched TV in a week, since the Steelers game last Thursday. I only listen to music in my car on the way to and from school.

I'm busy, but more than that, student life is just really different from wage-slave life. It used to be that I'd spend the whole day doing things that didn't make (or even let) me use my brain much, and then come home and be full of creative energy. Now I spend all day thinking, reading and having interesting conversations, and when it's over I feel like having a beer and going to sleep. Besides the inevitable classes and reading, there are also get-togethers featuring a bunch of us law students talking, get-togethers featuring a bunch of us law students talking and playing board games, and get-togethers featuring a bunch of us law students talking and watching movies. In the afternoons, we often gather to talk at meetings or to listen to people talk at panels and symposia, and if we're lucky, there's food, which we gather around and talk. So when, eventually, I get home, I do my reading if I can stay awake long enough (usually it gets postponed until the morning) and then crash. But I don't feel much like talking. Luckily I live alone.

So, for those of you who aren't in this ridiculous little club of ours: if you meet a law student, and she's glassy-eyed and taciturn, you now know why. And if, on the other hand, she's bouncing on the balls of her feet and talking a mile a minute, you know she's just that excited to be talking to a normal human being. Indulge her.


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