Thursday, February 03, 2005

Proof that I'm a 3L

I really do love most of my law professors. Really and honestly. And I'm sincerely interested in the subject matter(s) they teach (I have to be, or why else would I be taking more than the maximum courseload this quarter?). So why am I sitting in class posting to my blog?

Because just a moment ago, I Became a 3L.

I mean, not actually -- I've actually been a 3L for months now (3L is law-vernacular for "third-year law student"). But today I crossed an important line. I think it qualifies me to say, and really mean, that I'm a 3L.

3L year is, I think, a closely related cousin of senioritis. Many (if not most) 3Ls have some kind of work lined up, or at least a plan about what non-law work they'll be doing, well before graduation. Grades don't affect your chances of getting onto Law Review (something my transfer-3L friend jca recently did through sweat and tears), they don't affect your ability to get a job or your ability to attract prestigious grade-snob firms. At this point in the year, they really don't even make you more likely to get a judicial clerkship, something I tried and failed to do this year (s'ok. I'll soldier on). So the incentive, at the margin, is simply to pass all your classes. Which is surprisingly easy to do. This means all those pesky reading assignments can be largely ignored (at least until the week before exams) and all those pesky classes can be skipped (a third of the time, anyway, if your professor is an ABA storm trooper). This leaves lots of free time. What do 3Ls use it for? Absolutely nothing. Sitting at home, surfing the internet, watching TV, shopping, drinking, jetting to Europe, etc., etc. Potential law students: this is when it really starts paying off.

So, I'll admit something here. I'm kind of an uber-nerd. Not like in a bad way (I'm actually pretty cute), but I'm *really* good about going to class, and I care enough to at least be troubled by the fact that I'm falling behind in the reading. And I had to get administrative approval of my courseload, as I'm taking more than the maximum number of credit hours this quarter. So, keeping this in mind, I would say the step I took today was a pretty big one. Here's what happened:

I was checking my email in class (this doesn't count as slacking; even anal-retentive 1Ls do it). It's kind of a small class; there are only two large rows of seats and I sit in the front (because I got to class late the first day and this is where I ended up on the seating chart). One of the emails I get asks if I can help out with an event next Thursday. Usually I just ignore these kinds of emails until I absolutely have to answer them. But I felt like answering it right now, for some reason. Completely oblivious to the fact that I'm in class, I reached down into my Strong Bad Messenger Bag and pulled out my date book to check if I was free on that day.

Then I remembered that I was in class.

Right in front of the professor.

I don't think he saw me. I hope he didn't, because I actually really like him, and I like this class. I'm just so damn slack these days. It's not his fault. Nothing personal, I'm just a 3L. And there was something about this incident that made me feel particularly slack.

I think it was just the sheer lack of concern for the fact that I'm in the middle of a class. This itself isn't new -- I have a running AIM chat room on Thursdays from 4 to 6, during our legal ethics class (surprisingly, not an oxymoron), but *everyone* blows that class off. I think this was the first time I was that laissez-faire about a substantive class. And I think that means something. Like I've reached a new low. Or a new high? Depends on your point of view, I guess.

Well, I should end this post, since class is almost over. Almost time to grab a drink from the student lounge (cheap booze is served at this time weekly) and head over to the next class for my chat room.

Man, I'm really gonna miss law school.


At February 8, 2005 at 8:04 AM, Blogger Micah said...

Nerd! You really nailed being a 3L in your post. It's exactly like that. The third year's definitely the easiest. I'm like you in the fact that I rarely skipped classes, but that stemmed from my realization that I'm paying for these courses (unlike undergrad). Still, I'd skip every now and then. We have one big classroom that is internet accessible and when the third year rolled around, that's when I'd finally "jack in," so to speak. But it was during Crim Pro, which is so slack. I figure that this just prepares you for your career where chances are you'll have internet access in your cubicle.


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