Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Some thoughts on law school extra-curricular activities... I volunteered yesterday to help out with the admitted students weekend activities fair for the a cappella singing group I'm in. I sat at our table for an hour or so, giving out copies of our fall show program to any interested students, and answering any questions people had. But mostly just enjoying the free cookies, pretzels, popcorn, and Nantucket Nectar drinks they had. Admitted students get treated well before they send their deposits. We got a total of 4 interested students to sign up for our non-existent mailing list. Including an unfortunate girl whose first name rhymed with her last name. But what I foudn most interesting was that probably 15 out of the 50 or so students manning tables were people who'd been in the Parody show. Out of 1800 students in the law school, the odds that 15 of 50 would be from among the 50 people in the Parody show are probably pretty steep. (A probability shareware program I just located on the web and downloaded -- look at how dedicated I am -- tells me the odds are 4.04 x 10^(-12) of 15 or more out of 50 students manning tables would be from the Parody cast of 50 out of 1800 students. So, yes, the odds are pretty steep. Apologies if I screwed up the calculation somewhere.) The explanation is that of course it's not random chance -- the people who did the Parody show were people who were willing to rehearse four hours a night for a month. There may not be a tremendous set of people here who are willing and interested in doing that, at the potential expense of staying on top of their schoolwork. And, by and large, people heavily involved in other organizations -- to enough of an extent that they'd be sitting a recruiting table for it -- are also people from this subgroup of law students willing to put time into extracurricular activities. Because these "joiners" are limited in number, and because many have more than one interest they're eager to pursue, there's lots of repetition. One of my friends manning a table yesterday agreed with this distinction of joiners vs. non-joiners. He's a 2L, and laughed when I said I was surprised to see so many familiar faces. "What you haven't realized yet," he said, "is that every organization here is the same group of people, just with different positions." Perhaps that's not completely the case, but it many be closer than intuition places it. After all, there were Parody cast members at tables for the newspaper, the Latin-American students organization, the Big Brother-Big Sister group, and lots of others.

So, the point I'm trying to make... law school has "joiners" and "non-joiners." I think it would be interesting to see a study done comparing overall happiness, grades, and future success among the two groups (with the distinction between the two groups being, say, involvement in a substantive way (having a position with a title) in at least one activity and involvement in some way with at least one additional activity as the definition for a "joiner"). My hunch would be that joiners would be substantially happier, and peraps even have better grades -- in part because happy, busy, fulfilled people probably do better, and in part because people who are able to balance schoolwork with some extracurricular activities might just be better and quicker at the academic stuff.

I wonder if people at other schools feel this same "joiner" / "non-joiner" distinction as sharply as I've noticed it here...