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.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Waddling Thunder writes about telling people that he goes to Harvard and how he avoides saying it, telling people instead that his school is "near Boston," and when he's finally forced to say "Harvard," it ends conversations.

Normally, I agree with much of what Waddling Thunder has to say. But I can't help but wonder if what's turning people away isn't that he finally says "Harvard," but that they see that he's going through pains to avoid it. By saying stuff like "it's near Boston," or "it starts with the letter after G," or "the school that Bob Clark was dean of until he retired," and avoiding just answering the question with a straight answer, it becomes an unnecessarily big deal. It's just a school. It's not a big deal. Who cares.

Yes, it's a good school. And, yes, it probably means that I did slightly better on my LSAT or had slightly higher grades in college than someone who goes to an unaccredited law school in Guam somewhere. And, clearly, both of those are measures of someone's worth, inner goodness, and value to society. It's just a school. I'm glad I go there, I'm lucky and fortunate to have gotten in, but it doesn't make be a better person, a smarter person, a more interesting person, or a taller person. It does make me a poorer person, for now. And, in the winter, a colder person.

But if someone acts like it's a big deal -- ooh, I can't say the H-word because it'll scare people away -- then it becomes a big deal. If you just say it and move on -- "yeah, it's a good school, I like it there, but I'm sure the education and the students aren't really that different from at any number of schools" -- then I can't imagine why it would make people walk away and stop a conversation.

I'm not being fair to my colleague. He says this behavior is particular to lawyers, and, now that I think about, besides in the one in-person job interview I had (the rest were over the phone), I don't think I've met a single lawyer since I started law school. And job interviews ought not count anyway, since they know where I go to school. They have my resume. So maybe when I start doing lawyerly things and meeting lawyerly people, my reaction will be different and I'll concur with Waddling Thunder's observation. I have no way of knowing at this point.

But my hunch is that it just doesn't have to be a big deal.