July 21, 2006

The Serious Tips

by PG

Via 0L group blog schooled, I see Barely Legal has a humorous (but actually kind of meaning it) list, 20 Tips to Avoid Being A Douchebag in Law School. I don't think my supplement conflicts with their advice -- in fact, my points agree with some of their current posts. But go read their tips first, because otherwise the following makes less sense. And also because they are funny and I am notsomuch.

I still haven't gotten a rolling suitcase after twoish years in law school, but every time my uncle (who did need major back surgery after carrying laptops on his back for two decades) sees me with my backpack, he yells at me about how I'll be crippled when I'm his age. Yeah, but at least I'll have avoided being a douchebag in law school, which is way more important.

I'd add a 21st tip for law school -- don't worry so much about whether people you've never talked to are perceiving you as a douchebag. Most of Barely Legal's tips can be summarized as "Don't tell strangers stuff that probably won't interest them (2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17); don't bother them to help you unless it's an emergency (1, 7); and don't slow them down (18, 20)." Those are rules for life. A tip that doesn't fit under those headings -- like telling you when you can do your reading, or what kind of study plan or laptop bag you can have, or whether you should get to know a professor -- can be ignored. You're going into ridiculous debt; as long as you're not impeding people who are in equally ridiculous debt, get your money's worth. Someone who sees you having lunch with the professor you want to advise your Note, and goes around telling people on that basis that you must be a "douchebag," is an asshole who should find better things to do with his time.

There's a limit to how much law school needs to be a retread of high school -- particularly considering how many of the folks judging who's cool or not in law school were incredibly uncool in high school. This is not the place to get your nerd's revenge by picking on people even nerdier than yourself. Or to go on puke-inducing binges, now that you're legal to drink and can go to a bar, instead of wishing for an invitation to a party with somebody's dad's booze.

Which brings me to the 22nd tip, though it's for the summer before law school rather than law school itself: finish living out your high school and college fantasies now. Please don't come to law school and get into a life-and-death struggle over student government, or bore classmates with your "dude, I got so hammered last night" stories, or pick up the undergrads you couldn't get as an undergrad. A 26-year-old with a freshman girlfriend looks pathetic, particularly when he's trying to use his newfound legal knowledge to get her fake ID back from the bouncer.

July 21, 2006 12:12 PM | TrackBack
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