Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Problem With Law School - Competition and the Importance of Friendship?

You know that kid in Grade 9 math class who would turn around, ask you what your answer is, then proceed to tell you exactly why they're better than you? You know. Something about how your x and y axis was blah blah blah blah and thats why you're dumb and they're not blah blah blah?

Kid, relax. You wanted to roll your eyes at their self-righteousness when you were 14 years old - and you'd probably want to do the same now.

Just. Relax. Make a friend instead. It's that easy, no?

Maybe this is just rhymeless reason. Or just minor food for thought after a long, tiring day. And maybe this is just long-accepted reality many before me have come to realize and accept. Maybe this is just how law school is. So, you know, grow up, Barb. Deal with it. And maybe this is just human nature - to compete, to get ahead at all costs. To make friendships but to always always always just look out for yourself. To be extremely aware of everyone's "level of intelligence." Then proceed to rationalize how your own "level of intelligence" stacks up against your peers. It's a constant game of self-indulgence and silently malicious culture where people rationalize their own worth by belittling other people.

Seriously. We're grown ups. Do students really have to be so mean to their peers?! Why do some students have to be so mean to each other in an attempt to get to the top? I just don't understand it. Please. Save your words and let your grades do the talking.

Does law school really have to be that way? Is that type of scornful behaviour necessarily ingrained in law school culture?

Friends, it doesn't have to be that way if you don't let it.

Before I came to law school, friends warned me about what to expect. I waved their concerns off. I said, please, I've watched Legally Blonde. I know what law school's like. I know you have to work hard. I know you don't show up to a party as a Playboy Bunny. I know I need to run away if I see Professor Callahan (okay, I seriously need to chill on these Legally Blonde references). I know. But I wasn't always so sure about believing the nature of law school culture - the outward friendliness but inward, silent malicious competition.

It's kind of sad, really. Did I put too much faith on genuine kindness?

Hey, don't get me wrong. As I've said before, I love it here. I love my program, the friends I've made. I've met many wonderful, kind people - many who don't fall under the category I'm writing about today. I love the independence, I love what I'm learning. But, you know, law school also carries with it a certain stigma. That stigma where everyone silently one-ups each other in a game of outward friendliness but inward, silent competition. Where inner rationalization of your own self-righteousness makes you think you can belittle other people.

It's sad. I just wish kindness was still a staple these days.

I'm not saying we should hold hands and sing Kumbaya. I'm not naive. Law school isn't about dancing with unicorns under a rainbow. Neither is life. There's absolutely nothing wrong with competition and trying your absolute best - that's how success is born.

But competition doesn't have to be mutually exclusive with kindness. With friendship. With loyalty, affection. Constantly rationalizing why you're better than your peers or why your answers are better than other people's won't bring you friends. Big surprise.

It won't hurt you to be nice to people.

Aesop said so. It must be true. And is that honestly, really, truthfully, so hard? It shouldn't be. Whether you're in law school or not.

Wanna hold hands? Wanna sing Kumbaya? No? We don't have to go thattttttt far, don't worry. (I don't know the words!!). But what we can do is become friends, help each other out when problem cases are a confusing puzzle, give each other a hand when you skip the Misrepresentation and Negligence lecture because you couldn't stand the professor, and to just be kind, thoughtful human beings.

Is that really so hard?

Why burn bridges when you can be kind, tactful even, instead? It shouldn't be that hard, yea?

Just a thought for the day. I'll go play with my unicorns now.

"It's just something that happens as you grow up. You realize it's less important to have more friends and it's more important to have real ones."

"Are you upset, little friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, dont worry. I'm here. The flood waters will recede, the famine will end. The sun will shine tomorrow. And I will always be here to take care of you."
- Charlie Brown to Snoopy

"People are getting smarter nowadays; they're letting lawyers, instead of their conscience, be their guide."
- Will Rogers

"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval."
- Mark Twain

"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest."

- Mark Twain

No comments:

Post a Comment