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.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

The Children's Guide to Law School: Chapter 2 -- Going to Class

Most of the time, law school can be a lot of fun. There's cool things to do (like rip pages out of library books), fun people to meet (one or two of them), and great food to be found somewhere, although usually nowhere near the actual campus. But every so often -- only about twelve hours a week, so don't worry! -- you'll have to go to class. Going to class sounds scary -- mean old people will stand up and talk at you, using big words and sounding like experts when really they're probably just reading from a book. Of course, it's probably a book they wrote. Teachers look funny when they talk, don't they? They look like aliens from the planet Zeptar. Zeptar is in between Mars and Jupiter, but because it's full of scary aliens, they don't talk about it in school much.... Anyway, in class the teachers will talk and talk and talk, but that's not really the scary part. That's just the boring part (but you can play computer games and no one will care). The scary part is when they want you to talk. Like when the doctor gives you a shot but doesn't tell you first, you won't know when it's coming, and it can sometimes be a real surprise. You'll be sitting in your seat, thinking about the pretty colored bricks on the wall of the building you can stare at through the window, and all of a sudden you'll hear your name called. Sometimes your last name, because professors like to pretend nobody has first names, but sometimes your first name, and sometimes someone else's name, but since the professor will be looking at you, you'll just have to assume he means you, even if he gets your name wrong, even if you've been in his class for six weeks, even if he has a seating chart with your name on it right in front of him, even if you have a namecard right on front of you, even if you're his child, even if he doesn't even get your gender right. And he'll ask you a question. If you're lucky, he'll call your name before he asks the question, like, "Mr. Bubblegum, can you tell me why the judge gaboogledly googledly blah?" (so then, even though all of the words sound foreign, at least you can attempt to answer the question and only sound semi-stupid). But sometimes he'll call your name after the question, and you'll be totally lost, like, "[staring at the flowers, pretty, pretty flowers] right, Ms. Jellyroll?" And then what can you do but pretend you know exactly what is going on and just start throwing out some big long words. "Jurisprudentially speaking," you'll say, "the gaboogledy googledly bloogleboggled." And the professor will say "garumph," and call on somebody else. Which is okay. The thing to remember about class is that no one is listening to what you say. Everyone is just sitting there thinking about the flowers, playing computer games, and praying they won't be called on. You could stand up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the room, and as long as you didn't also scream really loud, no one would notice. They might wonder what smells so bad, but, since these are law students, they would just assume they'd forgotten to shower that morning. Or that the professor had an accident. And no one wants to embarrass the professor by telling him they think he had an accident. Instead they want to embarrass him by showing up to class completely unprepared and not paying any attention. Plus, your performance in class counts in no way towards your grade, so it really doesn't matter much. Just go to your six hours a week of class, count the snowflakes falling from the sky (unlike the lectures, they're all unique and different from each other), and you'll do fine.