Thursday, February 8, 2007

Midway Point (which turned into a review of UC law)

Last night was the law school's "Midway Dinner" which marks the precise halfway point of our law school career. In everything I've done, the halfway point has always come as a surprise- a "wow, I can't believe we've only got X amount of time left". Law school does not feel that way to me. It's more of a "damn, I can't believe we still have 1.5 years left."

Thinking back to 1L year, which felt like it was 5 years long, and knowing I still have another full year left is almost depressing. I say almost because there is no way 3L can be as bad as 1L, so I really can't compare them. 1L was by far the worst year of my academic life- it was truly miserable and there is nothing in the world that could make me do it again. I'm not even sure why it was so awful- I had amazing professors who, for the most part, really seemed to care about their teaching and their students. I made some good friends and in general liked my classmates. I've never been a person who gets stressed about school, studying, or grades- yet, that's exactly the person I became after a few months. I was downright depressed by spring quarter- my parents even sat me down and tried to talk me into transferring, apparently I sounded that bad on the phone (and my parents never worry about or interfere with anything). I can't decide if its the Univ. of Chicago's fault because law school is hard everywhere, but I do have friends at other schools that seemed quite a bit happier than me and my classmates. There were definitely people who were happy here throughout the first year- the kind of people who enjoy "academic rigor" and who don't mind spending every night and weekend in the library. I am not that kind of person and in retrospect I should have listened more closely to people when they described this law school. I wanted time to spend exploring my new city with my new husband, time to read other books, and time to just sit on the couch and watch a movie- I resented all the hours in the library because it was taking away from things I'd much rather be doing. I understood I would spend a lot of time studying, I didn't understand that it would be every night, and all day every weekend, and that I would still always feel like I wasn't doing enough. I'm not saying UC is a bad place. There are a myriad of excellent reasons to go to law school here, but you can easily find those on other UC student blogs, the website, or at admitted students weekend. I wish people had talked a bit more honestly about the intensity and "rigor" of the UC experience (or maybe they did, and I should have listened better). I think at the time "rigor" sounded exciting and I was bored of doing nothing but wedding planning- I supose you really can't understand what something is like until you're in the middle of it.

So anyway, back to the midway point reflection. I'm (very) glad to have 1L behind me. 2L has not been what I expected either, but that's because I keep signing up for classes that I feel like I should take rather than ones that just sound interesting. I've decided to stop that cruel cycle and choose classes purely on interest for next quarter- and I'm actually looking forward to them! I'm hoping that by the time graduation comes around, the memory of 1L will have faded a bit, and the more interesting classes of 3L will be fresh in my mind- I might even be a little sad that law school is ending. I hope so. I've never ended anything in my life and not been a little sad and nostalgic about it. The good thing is I know I like law and I think I will enjoy the practice of law- its this rigorous learning of it that I'm not so fond of.


  1. Honest, refreshing post. My school has a non-traditional grading scale and when I heard what UChicago's was like my job dropped - sounds hard!

    Quick question - are you planning on taking fall quarter off for the baby? I am a law student too and, like you, and obsessively reading blogs re: being pregnant in law school. Hence, the question. I'm thinking of taking off a semester when the time comes but am not sure . . .

  2. Hi Anon, I'm not planning to take off fall quarter. Our classes don't begin until Sept. 24 which gives me a little more than 6 weeks at home after the due date. I am taking a lighter load that quarter. I know several 3L's who had babies during the school year and only missed about two weeks of class (crazy? super women? perhaps :)

    Feel free to email me ( anytime with questions or just to talk in general about pregnancy and law school. I talked to a lot of people about it, so I'm happy to pass on any advice.

  3. >>>I like law and I think I will enjoy the practice of law- its this rigorous learning of it that I'm not so fond of

    See, I am loving the rigorous learning. I am not sure I'll like the practice... but then, I have no experience...