Sunday, March 05, 2006

You Thought I Was Joking, Huh

I told you, there really are kegs in the courtyard, Thursday night"Bar Reviews," and a Law School Prom--at every law school:

From Harvard Law School's Admissions Blog:
I asked first-year student Arvin Abraham to tell me a little bit about life outside the classroom at HLS. Here’s what he said:

"I came to HLS expecting to be working all day every day; I wasn’t going to eat, I wasn’t going to sleep, I was just going to study. I was pleasantly surprised when after my first few weeks here I found myself going out more than I ever had as an undergrad. Even after finishing my first semester, the quality of social life here still amazes me.“Coming from undergrad at UCLA, I thought that there was no way that law school was going to top that experience. I had watched Paper Chase and read 1L and my perceptions of HLS were colored to the point that I thought I was going to be entering a three year academic boot camp. Law school definitely hasn’t turned out to be that way. “Just like in undergrad, there are people here who go out all the time and some who never go out. Most people, myself included, are somewhere in between the two extremes. I feel like I study a good amount, and I’m fairly involved on campus, yet I’ve always had time to hit up our Thursday night 'Bar Reviews' and go out on the weekends.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Bar Reviews—HL Central, a student organization on campus that’s devoted to planning social activities (you can access their website at, will pick a random bar in Boston or Cambridge, procure free drink tickets and free cover, and tell the entire school to head over. I try to go every week, and this semester my schedule has really helped to facilitate my attendance because I don’t have class on Fridays until 1:15, which gives me plenty of time to recover from the night before.

The Law School Council and the Dean of Students Office also sponsor events such as outdoor porch parties with free beer and food, watching the world series on the big screen in our student center, even speed dating. So far this semester it’s been too cold for outdoor parties, but we just opened up a pub in our student center, which is awesome and helps to make up for the lack of outdoor socializing opportunities. In fact, just yesterday, I went to a karaoke night there before heading out to Bar Review.

It’s definitely possible to stay on top of your work and have a great time at Harvard and I couldn’t be happier with my choice to come here. Not only have I had plenty of time to eat, sleep, and study; I’ve also been to enjoy all that Boston and Cambridge have to offer.”

Okay, so it's true that law school offers plenty of diversions and a pretty unrestricted schedule--it's not like we're freakin' medical or dental students, you know? When our classes end, that's it--no lab work, rotations, clinical work, any of that weird stuff. But that said, there are plenty of nights, especially the month before finals, where you're in the library till closing, and then after it closes you move into an empty classroom and study there. I have done that. I have stayed at school till 1:30 am, although I know plenty who have spent the night in the "all night reading room" (pack a toothbrush). Plus, journal work, a clinical class can make you spend some late hours on top of the reading/outlining/paper writing you have to do just for your classes. Law school isn't work until death (I still think med/dental students have it worse), but it isn't party party either (I think we do have it worse than most grad programs since you have to work awfully hard to fall within the curve).

I definitely knew the slacker types in law school, as well as the crazy freaks who spent all night at the library. I fell somewhere in between--I'd log in late hours when I had a project due or a had to start outlining a few weeks before finals, but you pretty much didn't see me at the library until then. I took weird, small seminars no one else took and went home right after class. This wasn't always the case--in my first year, I pretty much was at the library from 8:30 am till 11:30 pm when it closed, even though I lived just across the street from school. I mean, I packed lunch and dinner. So I kind of stopped doing that second and third year. I decided to have a life. I went for long walks every day. I cooked. I decided to explore the city I lived in, and not just the area bookstores. I didn't go to the kegs in the courtyard or the bar reviews (and hellllll no to the Prom) but I did go to a few plays/concerts each semester and did my own thing. Such that people told me, upon finally seeing me in the library around week 15, that they thought I was out this semester on externship or had taken a joint program in another department. That's when you know you're really, reallllly avoiding the people at school.

When I do the law school thing again in a five months (aaaaahhh!), I am going to try to pace my work so that I don't have to pull as many late nights at the library. I mean, I knew all the library guards by name. We even exchanged CDs--we had a repoire. You definitely have been there too long when the janitorial staff start switching shifts. And I am definitely going to get a series subscription to the nearest decent playhouse.

We'll see about the Prom. I never really had a Prom, but it seems awfully silly to have one now, don't you think?

But speed dating? What's up with that?


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