By Yenée Saw, Arts/Law III
Oftentimes I wake up in a sweat, troubled by a nightmare that I’m still in high school. But then I see my contracts and criminal law textbook on my bedside shelf, and heave a massive sigh of relief. Here are some reasons I go “phewwww!” when I remember that I’m actually in Law School and not high school:
1. The people: often you’ll hear that Law School is dominated by cliques. I’m not going to sugar coat it for you: there are some people who only stick to those who (in THEIR own opinion) offer social utility. However, from personal experience, I’ve found that it’s the case that people just want a friend – they don’t care if you combine with Arts or Commerce or whatever, people just want someone they can have a good chat to!
What’s more, you no longer have opportunistic classmates who suddenly remember your existence when an assignment due date rolls around. No more messages on MSN from people you barely know asking: “Can you please edit this?” Most Law students are self-sufficient, independent learners. Many have worked hard to get into Law School and are prepared to keep doing the hard yards for themselves. Of course, you’ll still have helpful study sessions with your Law mates that more often than not turn into pity parties, bemoaning the piles of reading left to be done.
At the core though, I love being in Law School because I love being surrounded by like-minded people. For the first time in my life, I’ve experienced true camaraderie that only comes when law students are able to geek out, without fear of judgement, when discussing whether they think the law of adverse possession is fair.
In high school, I felt like a freak for being uncompromisingly passionate when questioning the status quo. But I’ve found that in Law School, my peers are attuned to issues of global importance and really do care about the world. In fact, with law students, there is no such thing as caring too much. My peers who are champions of social justice continually inspire me. Being around people who keep pushing for change also pushes me to keep fighting for causes that I care about.
2. Class participation: There’s this thing called class participation and you’re probably thinking: “THAT’S NO REASON TO LOVE LAW SCHOOL!!!” But before you dissent, read my judgment. In high school, I always remembered feeling ashamed whenever I raised my hand (which was often) to answer a question. But really, I was doing the class a favour because the teacher would look around the classroom to no avail and I was JUST speeding the lesson up! (Who am I kidding? No one from my high school is probably reading this, no need to defend my past nerdiness!)
In Law School however, there is absolutely no shame in raising your hand and no judgement either. In fact, it’s the converse of high school: because your final grade is based upon your class participation, instead of feeling embarrassed for speaking up in class so much, you’ll feel euphoric that every contribution you make is boosting your mark. Instead of having judgemental, scathing eyes glaring at you, you’ll have admiring, deferential looks thrown your way.
It’s nice to be a nerd for once without fear of judgement. Many law students were probably volunteer class answerers back in the day, so you’re in good company!
3. Finally, it’s nice being able to walk out of the classroom to urinate whenever you want, when you want! In high school, it was annoying having to ask the teacher in a desperate, wheedling voice (in case they think you’re lying!): “Can I please go to the toilet?” Law School is great because you’re treated as an adult and that means being able to go to the bathroom without permission!