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March 29, 2004

Not Now, After Finals

It's still crazy time. In fact, recently I've had lots of "oh crap I have so much to do I'm going to suffocate or explode" times. And I even worked hard this past weekend. Er, harder than usual, that is. So if I've got so much to do, why is it so damned hard to concentrate on what I'm supposed to be doing?

I ran a 5k Saturday morning that was a huge amount of fun. It just felt great to be pushing myself hard for a finite, concrete, tangible goal that I was fully capable of achieving. And it felt good to do better than expected at something for once (that hasn't, um, exactly been my experience in law school thus far). I came in at just over 26 minutes for the 5k, which isn't great, but not awful for someone who hasn't been inside a gym or done any sort of regular exercise program in, oh, about a year or more. Yes, I'm a lump, but maybe that's why it felt so good to get my lumpishness moving like that. I don't think I've run a 5k since high school, when for two seasons I was on the "cross-country track" team, always bringing up the rear. I was never much of a runner; I kind of hated it when I started, but the cross-country track team was good training for the cross-country skiing team, and that I loved. I grew to like running, too, and I think maybe I've missed it. Yes, I have.

It's good to be reminded forcefully and unequivocally of things you enjoy. The last thing about which I had such an affirmative reaction was, strangely enough, the journal competition the first weekend of spring break. Before that? I dunno exactly. And that's at least partly because law school has become such a slog. It's work. I'd almost say drudgery. But then, it's not so bad. There are bright spots, sure, but should it really feel this, um, unfun?

It's that question that keeps making me wonder whether I should be here at all. The other day Falconred, who is applying to law school right now, wondered aloud whether going to law school was really a good idea for him. As i considered what advice I might offer (not much, really), I wondered: Does it mean anything that my first reaction was to tell him not to go?

I'm apparently not alone in asking this question. Over at Stay of Execution, Scheherazade recenlty wrote: "Don't Go To Law School." She explains:

Don't go to law school because you're not sure what else to do, or because your parents really want you to. Or, at least, don't go to a really expensive law school for those reasons, unless you have the means to do so without incurring big big debt. Don't go to law school, in other words, to avoid making a decision about your life as an adult and what you want it to be like. Because if you incur big debt and make your peer group an extremely competitive and perhaps atypically unhappy group of people you will limit your ability to make that decision, clearly and well and for the right reasons.

Brilliant, as usual. And so, well, why does that seem to hit me right where I live? Is it just because of all those "oh crap I have so much to do!" moments? Is it simply that the pressure's beginning to mount at the end of the semester and I'm getting anxious about all that I have to do in the next 6 weeks? Or is it because I suspect that really, well, I just came to law school to avoid making a decision about my life as an adult and what I want it to be like?

Which brings us back to running, in a roundabout way, because it's something that woke up my body and brain and said unequivocally, "Hey, this is good." Law school doesn't do that. Almost nothing even remotely connected to law school does that. The journal competition sort of did that, but what does that mean? What does any of this mean? Does it mean I should be thinking of doing something else come Fall 2004?

And the answer to that question is clear: Not now, after finals! The unexamined life may not be worth living, but there will be plenty of time for that examination—after finals! I wish I could go to Florida "to think about where I want to be and what I want to do after this semester." But I can't. I can't even think about it. Not now. After finals.

Posted 06:38 AM | Comments (2) | law school

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