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 22, 2004

Thank you, Waddling Thunder for writing a post that could inspire a comment that could inspire me to respond in a rambling, long-winded, and generally pointless manner. This doesn't happen often enough, so I figure I'd better seize on it. WT's anonymous commenter wrote, in response to a post about getting grades today:

the competitiveness is the worst thing about harvard - i wasn't like this before, either. the school brings it out in everyone and then makes you feel relatively stupid in comparison to people around you because you're surrounded by so many brilliant people. so you resent yourself *and* your classmates. i think this is why, in the end, harvard has such a tight, cliquey alum community. because we've all been through this ego-crushing crapfest and made it out alive.
And here's where I started typing something about how whoever's feeling this way is making themselves feel this way, because you can make the opposite argument. It's not competitive at all. Everyone who wants a job gets a job -- a good job, in fact, if that's the job you want. Everyone who doesn't want a job still gets one because it's almost impossible to avoid getting one. Everyone at any selective law school has proven themselves competent already, probably many times over, in high school and in college and perhaps in the working world. I honestly can't see how someone can really take his low grade in Torts as a statement of some greater import than "these other people gave a better answer on the Torts exam than I did," and why that statement isn't perfectly reasonable. And maybe that just means that I'm less invested in this whole law school thing, and I should feel more competitive, and it's a failing on my part. Being in the pack at a selective law school should not be some ego-crushing thing. But, you know what, I only live in my own head. I understand people can feel this way. The only thing I really feel like I can legitimately respond to is the word "everyone." It's not everyone. And I'm as cynical as anyone but it's not fair to people thinking about going to law school to have to imagine that everyone feels this way and that's the world you live in as a law student. That sounds like a terrible world to live in. And it's just not the case that everyone feels like that -- I know lots of people who don't. I mean, of course there are probably going to be people who can answer the exam questions better than you can, and, yeah, in a way that maybe kind of sucks if you thought you would be better at law school than everyone else. But I don't think it means there's something wrong with you, or that you need to hate the people who do better on exams, or that any part of this has to be in any way emotionally impactful. Life is not the National Spelling Bee. There's more than one winner. You're at one of these places? You're doing fine. Bottom of the class, you've still got tons of doors open to you. You don't have to be miserable because other people know more rules of evidence than you do. End of rant. Consider this all tongue-in-cheek if it turns out I've said anything too stupid.