Monday, February 05, 2007

The 1L Diaries: HMP

This entry in The 1L Diaries was written by my classmate HMP, who also started law school in the summer of 2005.

The past three semesters have flown by so quickly that it hardly seems so much could have happened, and yet I know I’m imprinted with the rich experiences of the past year. My first year at law school was as fun and rewarding as it was exhausting and all consuming. During my brief break between finals and work I admit that I scarcely want to hear the words “law school”, not because it has been anything less than a great experience, but simply because it’s so nice to re-discover parks, gardens and books that don’t have anything to do with the law. Nevertheless, I’m still looking forward to my summer job and all that the next three semesters have to offer.

I don’t think I had many specific expectations coming into law school. In fact, I’m not sure that I really knew much about law school beyond The Paper Chase and Legally Blonde, but I’ve found that law school can make me question and challenge myself, not just academically, but in a deeply personal way, given the intensity of the program and the close knit relationships that develop. I’ve also found that I love thinking about the law, how past decisions have shaped the current state of affairs and where the law can move in the future given the constraints of the past.

I’ve had a great time so far, and I think the key lies, at least in part, in not taking law school too seriously. I know that I’ll get a great education and a great job after school so any pressure I put on myself is just that – when I stay up all night to write an exam, it’s not because I feel that I have to or else all will be lost. It’s more a feeling that I don’t want to quit until I know that I’ve done the best I can.

Perhaps most importantly though, is the fantastic law school community. It’s been great getting to know my smart, friendly, and always surprising classmates. I know that I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself half as much at another law school where the snarky competition is likely to be more real than it is at Michigan. I’ve enjoyed finding out where my classmates have been before law school – they all have such interesting stories, and many that I never would have imagined. I’ve enjoyed reading the fights, professions of love and general distractions on the law school listserv (sometimes mirrored by the fights, professions of love and general distractions that take place during happy hour).

So for now I’ll happily return to my novel, but I’m looking forward to learning from admirable professors, being impressed by classmates I have yet to meet, as well as the other adventures I can’t yet foresee.

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