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.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

I'm working on an idea here that I hope to turn into something coherent enough for 600 words in The Harvard Law Record next week. The differences between being a 1L and being a 2L. At this point in the year, only just over a month in, a lot of the difference is shaped by interviews, I think... but that's still relevant.

The biggest plus about 2L year so far is possibly the added experience and perspective -- doing the reading takes less time, skimming the reading isn't a calamity, no back-of-the-head feeling that perhaps I ought to be outlining, in a study group, briefing cases, buying study guides, stalking professors at office hours, etc., no noticeable competition between classmates (not that I really noticed all that much last year), and having last year figured out what activities I liked and didn't as much like being part of, there's more time spent on things for a reason instead of just because everyone else is doing them. Sort of.

But the flipside of the positives of being a 2L are the negatives -- the lack of urgency and importance to everything I'm doing... I know the world will not collapse if I were to skip a class or skip a reading, or say something dumb if I'm called on; even "mandatory" meetings of anything don't feel mandatory, getting to higher levels of responsibility in some extracurriculars has illustrated to me that a lot of the activities that seemed "real" as a 1L are really just held together by threads of 2Ls and 3Ls -- not that they aren't "real" but that there's not as much of a framework and an infrastructure and as many people involved as there might have seemed. That point isn't real clear except in my head, I know. So nothing feels as important, and it's easy to sort of float through the week not having to care about enough or having to invest oneself in all that much. Which is a little sad and frustrating.

The other big thing that's mostly a relative negative of being a 2L is the somewhat weaker sense of community, of the built-in social network of having a section, of the same people in every class, of lots of opportunities to interact with people. It's easier as a 2L to go to class and go home and talk to nobody. Or not that it's easier to do that, but that it's harder to avoid doing that, harder to encounter people for more than a passing hello, harder to find time in common, easier to avoid seeing people. Which is countered to some degree by meeting new people in 2L classes and in activities, and meeting 1Ls and 3Ls -- though 1Ls are meeting other 1Ls and don't need to meet 2Ls and 3Ls... and part of this is interviews taking people's time and energy... but it does kind of feel like as a 2L there's less of a community feeling and more effort needs to be taken to do stuff. Countered by extracurriculars that we're actually involved in taking more time because we have positions of more involvement -- so I feel like I see lots of people all the time, but a lot of it is sort of half-social half-purposeful extracurricular oriented, so it's not quite the same as just hanging out with someone.

Apologies that this is mostly just unstructured rambling thoughts masquerading as something with a point. Hopefully by tonight, above this you'll find my 600-word masterpiece of a newspaper column built somehow around this topic (because I can't write about interviews AGAIN). For now you get the brainstorming session.