In the swing of things
Like Dylan, I too feel like I'm getting my head around how things are supposed to be. I've made several of the more feared mistakes already, including: showing up late for class, getting stuck in a seat at the absolute front of the class because I happened to show up late on pick-the-seating-chart day, raising my hand and speaking idiocy (and realizing it as the words fell from my lips), and not calculating enough time for traffic and showing up at school too late to attend my first class of the day (so I just sat outside and read).
Besides the above crap, every day has been an exercise in getting more comfortable with my new life. I think I've got a decent idea of which professors want what in terms of answers to questions (and more importantly, how each of them wants us to think about the issues--each one has a favorite approach, be it public policy, the underlying legal theory, the application of arcane rules in complex modern situations, or whatever). I've found that the reading takes me about 2 minutes per page, on average--which is a very useful thing to know when you are trying to figure out which heavy books to pull from the locker for the 67 minute reading break that you are facing. I've found that the people I clicked with on the first day are still the people I get along with best, and half of the ones that annoyed me from the start aren't as bad as they seemed.
I've been told that some of questions I asked on the required campus tour with our LWR section gave many people the impression that I was one of those scary politically bitter people. I've also been told that since that day, I have completely changed their opinion of me. In fact, one of the students commenting on my questions laughed and said, "It was just funny. You know. Here we are, the first week of classes and most of us are watching what we say and do very carefully. We want to make the correct impression for who we are. We all figured you were doing the same thing. So, we figured you were ready to fight and change the world into a more liberal place. It seemed like that was how you were defining yourself. D and I went out for drinks and discussed how it might be a little hard to swallow the endless stream of political cr*p that you were sure to spit out. Two days later, D and I went for drinks again and laughed about how wrong we were about you. Turns out, you are much more into the Simpsons and laughing about stupid sh*t than politics."
*laugh* So, hey, future 1L's--watch what you say during the first week because people really do make snap judgements about you. The good news is, apparently they are willing to get over the snap judgements if you aren't very good at keeping your mouth shut.
Perhaps the best thing about the 1L life is the freedom. Last week, I was able to fit in 13 miles of running, two hours of yoga and a trip to the gym. In addition to the new work out schedule (which my body desperately needs) I have done a fairly decent job of keeping my social life at its previous levels, and I've figured out how to finish the majority of my work before friday so that I can have my weekends off of school. One thing that will change, however, is that I'm fairly certain I will need to start donating one weekend a month to sorting and distilling the most recent material in each of my classes and making certain that I don't have any questions, confusion, etc. I'll probably also have to do a bit of weekend work on my LWR assignments when the final drafts come due--but there are only a few final drafts this semester, so it shouldn't be too bad. I figure one weekend in each of sept, oct, and nov should keep me on top of LWR and feeling prepared for finals studying. Conveniently, that small of a sacrifice should spare me from sadness at my lack of a social life.
So, yeah, all in all, I'm liking it. Friday ended with a bunch of people from my section going out for happy hour, and that was a nice way to end the week. The conversations revolved around TV shows, sex, relationships, sports, sexism, local culture, hometowns, and whatever else came up. Your typical pub fare, really. Somehow, there were two factions going to two separate bars, and I ended up at the snazzy downtown bar instead of the more rugged neighborhood haunt. I think I ended up with more of the pretty people, and also more of the younger ones (the two usually go together). It's a little weird to be at a bar with so many people who feel so much younger than me. The majority of my fellow students are still feeling out and defining things like their sexuality (not necessarily their orientation, but more how they assert it), their goals in life, their philosophy, and even their adult personality. I realize that everyone is constantly evolving, but there is a palpable fear of the unknown in many of my fellow students--many of them give off the air of never having handled a major problem or disaster--and it seems to fuel a strong effort in trying to be someone for most of 'em.
The comfort of a slightly rough childhood and some decent sized bumps in my mini-adulthood is wonderful. By no means am I free of insecurities, but I'm aware that I'm no longer trying to define myself. I am who I am. Perhaps that's why I didn't watch my mouth on the tour. *laugh* gimme a few weeks, though, most people claim that law school changes everyone, so perhaps I won't have a clue who I am come October.