Monday, September 7, 2009

Random Law School Update 1

Last Location: Washington, DC
Arrival Date: August 25, 2009
Departure Date: Undetermined

Current location: Washington, DC
Arrival Date: August 25, 2009
Departure Date: Undetermined

Next location: Washington, DC
Arrival Date: August 25, 2009
Departure Date: Undetermined

I spent some time debating whether or not to change the name of my updates. I have not, nor have any intention, of committing to the idea that my travels are over. To the contrary, I must admit to having spent some oh-so-precious moments of my free time over the last week planning trips that will never happen. And I like to think that I will partake in grandiose adventures over my winter and summer breaks.

That said, two thoughts have prevailed my decision to start writing Random Law School Updates rather than Random Travel Updates. Firstly, any travel that I do accomplish from here on out will be done in the context of my being a law student in law school. And secondly, I imagine that months down the line, as I am spending my dozenth straight night pouring over legal topics at the library, the concept of writing a “travel update” will seem painfully far from the truth.

So here begins my newest and perhaps grandest adventure yet. Law School: Year 1.

I have, for the most part, left the details of this undertaking out of my previous communications. But it should be noted that this past week is actually far from the beginning of my Law School experience. It started three years ago when I first began studying for the LSAT. Two years ago, when I spent several days in Adam’s apartment in Korea submitting applications. And a bit over a year ago when I accepted and deferred entry into Georgetown’s class of 2012.

Why Georgetown? I had three major considerations in choosing a school: prestige, location, and gym facilities. Georgetown is good on all three points (particularly the gym facilities) but what really earned Georgetown my vote was their innovative alternative curriculum for first year students. This “Curriculum B” proclaims to teach law in the context of to its economic, social and philosophical framework. All of the things that I wish I had had more time to study in undergrad. I was sold.

The first week has been exactly what I would have expected had I envisioned a precise middle ground between my two law school vision extremes. My optimistic extreme was that law school would be a fun, happy and constantly inspiring place with idyllic surroundings and some free time to pursue personal ambitions not related to practicing law. Less optimistically, I speculated that law school would be a narrow pit of reading and despair that I would fall deeper and deeper into as the year progressed.

I have yet to confirm or deny the later vision, but a strong work ethic and strict discipline will definitely be required if I am to prevent it from coming to fruition. The optimistic view may still prevail; I love my apartment, my campus and the proximity of everything to everything else. But if my first week is any indicator, it looks like my free time will be pretty severely limited. Also, as much as we are using a broader social framework to evaluate the law, the readings aren’t always as interesting as they would be if I were to study philosophy, sociology or economics independently.

More importantly than my prior expectations, is that I do not feel in the least bit unprepared or under-prepared for law school. My travels have in no way detached me from my foundation in academia and have indeed given me valuable insight to the practical consequences of policy making and incentive structures. The experience that I can best compare to law school, was learning a foreign language abroad in an immersion setting. At first everything sounds like gibberish, but the more you read and hear, the more you truly start to understand. You aren’t expected to know everything right away, you must trust that you will figure it out as you go. I have faith that I will.

Most importantly, as one of my friends made me put it the other day, I am happy.