« Torts Question: Volto and the Kissing Cousins | Main | Bring Back Bork »

Why Law School Is Not Like High School

Last night was the welcome dinner for the class of 2006. A formal event held in the main library (which some of you might recognize as the 'laboratory' in which Peter Parker is bitten in the latest movie), it's the first evening we've all been to in which people were expected to be dressed up. 'Business elegant,' as the invitations said, and I was impressed that most people were done up in black but not fuscous. All in all, we're a class with good taste in clothes.

The most common thing I've heard so far is, "This is like being back in high school." While I can understand how some might think that, I can only imagine how most of my fellows' high school experiences must differ from mine. In that spirit, I offer Ten Ways In Which Law School Is Different From High School.

1. High school was dumber. This probably goes without saying, but you don't run into anyone here that seems... well, dumb. But then, the folks I've met here didn't go to high school in Alabama, so I'm willing to concede that maybe they all finished their senior year with a bundle of geniuses.

2. There are no Mitsubishi Eclipses. The bright red Mitsubishi Eclipse, driven generally by a 'clique' girl with matching nail polish and a bit too much makeup, was a staple of my high school years. I haven't seen that yet, and no one here would even think about matching their nail polish to the color of the New York metro.

3. There terms of battle are better. Back in my high school days, the big conflict was between the Jocks and the 'Heads. For some reason never quite clear to me, if you liked football you loathed heavy metal, and vice versa. This conflict generally took place in scribblings on the walls of the men's bathroom, with the 'Heads having the upper hand, if only because they were generally more literate. "Heads suck donkys [sic]" was about as good as the first side ever got. The Jocks had advantages of size, brutality, and a more practical dress sense, demonstrated when one Jock yanked off the chain connecting a 'Head's nose ring to his nipple piercing.

I've not found a lot of this at law school, at least not yet. (Certainly not the violence: who'd want their big fight appearing as a question on the Torts exam?) I can only imagine what such doctrinal disputes would entail, anyway? "Dear Textualists: please note that for the purposes of the signs saying 'do not dispose of towels in the toilets,' toilet paper is not considered to be towels," I suppose, or maybe something witty like, "Your mamma's so ugly she could get sued for assault just for walking down the street without makeup." Come to think of it, most of us are so wordy that the witty insults might not fit on the bathroom doors.

4. No smoking in the bathroom. Really, how can it be like high school if no one's slipping into the bathroom for a quick Camel?

5. The drinking's better. Last night six people stood around discussing whether Laphroaig had 'a distinctive peaty flavor that's an acquired taste' or 'was like sucking on my brother's Zippo.' I remember similar conversations in high school, but it was about Mad Dog 20/20.

6. Less homeroom, more spam. How can it be like high school if there's not that wasted twenty minutes each day where you're completely arbitrarily stuck in a room and fed administrative pablum? Whereas the law school gets around this by sending us twenty or so spams a day for events we're not actually allowed to attend. (So far today there's Latino Society, St. Thomas More dinner, a play date for students with families...)

7. Windows. My high school was one of the casualties in Jimmy Carter's 'moral equivalent of war on environmental damage,' and in order to save on heating costs had no windows in any of its rooms. Couple that with paint in shades of institutional brown, orange, and yellow, and it's remarkable I'm not more psychologically damaged than I am. On the other hand, Columbia Law School seems to have been designed to let as much light as possible into the study areas, perhaps on the idea that we'll be even more inspired to work if we can see just how gorgeous the day is outside.

8. No Slayer T-Shirts. If you went to high school in the early 90's, you understand. If you're one of the law students here who make me feel like a decrepit old man, just trust us on this, OK?

9. Manners. Who ever held a door for a lady in high school? "Please" and "thank you," at least back in my day, might as well have been declared obsolete or foreign words. Table manners in the cafeteria hadn't advanced much since the table of Ghengis Khan. Whereas last night not only was everyone dressed elegantly, but just about everyone knew the order of the forks, the order in which one uses spoons, and not to eat until everyone had been served.

10. Less sex. I distinctly remember there being more sex going on in high school, and more people talking about it. Though one classmate has commented on this observation by pointing out that the sex wasn't half as good. (See the comment on booze above.)

Anyway, it's not completely dissimilar to high school. We're all a 'class' again, in a way that you don't feel as an undergraduate with thousands of peers. We have class ranks, report cards, and the detrius of a structured academic lifestyle. We have deans (just like principals) talking to us about mission and duty and service. No one really feels like they know what they're doing. But I'm not going to feel my high school years are back until the guys here are handing around the Mad Dog.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.threeyearsofhell.com/cgi-user/mt/mtPleaseLinktoMe.cgi/120

Post a comment

NOTICE TO SPAMMERS, COMMENT ROBOTS, TRACKBACK SPAMMERS AND OTHER NON-HUMAN VISITORS: No comment or trackback left via a robot is ever welcome at Three Years of Hell. Your interference imposes significant costs upon me and my legitimate users. The owner, user or affiliate who advertises using non-human visitors and leaves a comment or trackback on this site therefore agrees to the following: (a) they will pay fifty cents (US$0.50) to Anthony Rickey (hereinafter, the "Host") for every spam trackback or comment processed through any blogs hosted on threeyearsofhell.com, morgrave.com or housevirgo.com, irrespective of whether that comment or trackback is actually posted on the publicly-accessible site, such fees to cover Host's costs of hosting and bandwidth, time in tending to your comment or trackback and costs of enforcement; (b) if such comment or trackback is published on the publicly-accessible site, an additional fee of one dollar (US$1.00) per day per URL included in the comment or trackback for every day the comment or trackback remains publicly available, such fee to represent the value of publicity and search-engine placement advantages.

Giving The Devil His Due

Choose Stylesheet

What I'm Reading

cover
D.C. Noir

My city. But darker.
cover
A Clockwork Orange

About time I read this...


Shopping

Projects I've Been Involved With

A Round-the-World Travel Blog: Devil May Care (A new round-the-world travel blog, co-written with my wife)
Parents for Inclusive Education (From my Clinic)

Syndicated from other sites

The Columbia Continuum
Other Blogs by CLS students

De Novo
Theory and Practice
Liberal Federalism?
Good News, No Foolin'


Althouse
Nancy Pelosi covers her head and visits the head of John the Baptist.
Vlogging in from Austin.
Omikase/"American Idol"


Jeremy Blachman's Weblog: 2007
Happy Passover
Looking for Advice re: LA
Google Books


Stay of Execution
What I've Learned From This Blog, or My Yellow Underpants
The End
Mid Thirties


Legal Theory Blog
Program Announcement: Summer Programs on the Constitution at George Washington
Book Announement: Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy by Whittington
Entry Level Hiring Report


The Volokh Conspiracy
Making the Daily Show:
Civil unions pass New Hampshire House:
Profile of Yale Law Dean Harold Koh:


Crescat Sententia
Hillary II
Hillary
Politics and Principal/Agents


Law Dork
Election Approaches
Following Lewis
New Jersey High Court: 'Same Rights and Benefits'


IrishLaw
Homecoming
Surveying the revival
Birds of paradise


Half the Sins of Mankind
Cheney Has Spoken Religious conservatives who may ...
Does Ahmadinejad Know Christianity Better Than MSN...
Borders as Genocide In discussions of climate chan...


pf.org
Progress
For lovers of garden gnomes...and any China-freaks out there
We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming


Ideoblog
Does SOX explain the flight from NY?
More Litvak on SOX effect on cross-listed firms
What did the market learn from internal controls reporting?


The Yin Blog
Iowa City = Riyadh
Jeffrey Rosen's "The Supreme Court"
Geek alert -- who would win between Battlestar Galactica and the U.S.S. Enterprise?


Letters of Marque
Graduation
And there we are
Oil!


BuffaloWings&Vodka
Signing Off


Dark Bilious Vapors
Jim (The Waco Kid): Where you headed, cowboy?
Bart: Nowhere special.
Jim: Nowhere special. I always wanted to go there.
Bart: Come on.
--"Blazing Saddles"

Technical Difficulties... please stand by....
The Onion should have gotten a patent first....


Legal Ethics Forum
Interesting new Expert DQ case
Decency, Due Care, and The Yoo-Delahunty Memorandum
Thinking About the Fired U.S. Attorneys


Ex Post
Student Symposium- Chicago!
More Hmong - Now at Law School
Good Samaritan Laws: Good For America?


Appellate Law & Practice
Those turned over documents
CA1: courts can’t help people acquitted of crimes purge the taint of acquitted conduct
CA1: restrictions on chain liquor stores in Rhode Island are STILL okay


the imbroglio
High schoolers turn in plagiarism screeners for copyright infringement
talisman
Paris to offer 20,600 bikes at 1,450 stations to rent by the end of the year


The Republic of T.
The Secret of the Snack Attack
links for 2007-04-04
Where You Link is What You Get

Distractions for stressed law students

The Other Side: Twisted AnimationsSomething Positive, a truly good webcomic

Syndicate This Site

Sitemeter

Technologies


Stop Spam Harvesters, Join Project Honey Pot