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.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Happy New Year!

My plan was to write a quick limerick about heading back to Boston tomorrow to finish studying for exams. But the best I could up with was:

I go back to Boston tomorrow
The best rhyme for this line is sorrow
I will ride a big bus
Perhaps the driver's name will be Gus
And get ready for my exam horror.
And pretend that horror and tomorrow rhyme

And that's not very good at all.

But fortunately I read the Jan. 1 post of a fellow law-student weblog writer (see this other weblog) and it strikes me enough that I can probably just write a paragraph or two reacting to it. So, after this long introduction, that is what I will do.

In case you don't want to click over and read his post, basically he says (and I apologize if I'm not doing his post justice -- it contains lots of big words like "chimerical" and "ephemeral" that, to be perfectly honest, I don't really know exactly what they mean) that most people he's seen have been panicking over law school exams but he's not because he sees exams as big fantasy monsters who scare people but only if they let themselves be scared. And I suppose I certainly agree with his conclusion -- that everyone who came before us has survived and there's no reason to panic -- but I'm really not into this whole "exams as monsters" analogy. Exams are exams. Everyone who's gotten to law school has taken lots of exams already and has probably done pretty well on them. Of a world of glib responses I could choose to give when people ask me how law school is, my favorite is "school is school." Because I really believe that's true. Law school is not terribly different from undergrad. You read, you write, you go to class, you do extracurriculars, you make friends. And you take exams. We've done all this before, we're good at it. They're just exams. So you study, you do your best, and they're done. They're not monsters, they're some questions the professors have written to see how well you know the material. If you learned the right stuff and have a good day, you do well. If not, you do less well. But everyone coming out of law school has his or her pick of jobs, and no one has to live in a cardboard box because he got a B-minus in torts. So calling them monsters -- even if you say you're not really scared of them and they're just pretend monsters -- I think just feeds into the whole idea that exams are somehow these awful things we have to conquer and overcome. They're just exams. I'm not denying that I've been spending time studying, or that I'd rather do well than do poorly, but really everyone here has already taken enough exams and done well enough academically over the course of enough years that we should all have enough self-worth to know that no matter what we get, we're all fairly bright people, and a B-minus doesn't mean anything except you didn't write a particularly good response to this particular set of questions.

The last sentence of his post reads "I’ll leave my panicking for the workplace, when large sums of real dollars are at stake, and I’m responsible for them." Sigh. You know what, I'll leave my panicking for when I find myself falling out of an airplane without a parachute, or I have a wife and kids and they get sick.

I'm imagining that for most jobs that deal with large sums of real dollars they feel like abstract sums of fake dollars anyway. Sigh.