Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Law school is sort of like being on Survivor. 196 of us have been tossed on this island. Every once in awhile, we win a prize and get to have a visitor, or get to go back to whatever city we came from and reclaim a teeny piece of our old lives for 36 hours. The rest of the time, we hang out with the same people, in the same classes, with the same really lame law school jokes that we all come up with in our non-existant spare time. And the dreams. Dear God. We've ALL had the most effed up dreams since we moved here. And somehow, the goal is to win. The jacked up thing? Most of us really don't actually want the prize. 90 hour weeks and soul selling to the man isn't what everyone signed up for. But does that matter? Not really. 

It's so easy to lose perspective in law school. It's an insanely competitive environment that attempts to prepare you for the insanely competitive job market by implementing trial by fire methods. And when the only people you see all day are law students, it's totally easy to forget that you were once a normal, functioning human being with a day job, disposable income, and hobbies who had no idea that the word reasonable actually has a completely different meaning than the one the rest of the world knows. There's a whole world out there, but if it doesn't involve the library, Bar Review, or Blackacre, we certainly wouldn't know about it.

And then finals season starts, and people really go bat shit crazy. Ordinarily reasonable people become patently unreasonable, and the stress level gets so unbelieveably high that you can almost hear the energy in the room humming. People lose their center of gravity and all rational thought processes. As a general rule, law students are a pretty volatile bunch from November 1 - December 20. And the 1Ls are the worst, because we've been convinced that nothing we've done up to this point matters in any way, shape, or form beyond whatever grades we get in this, our first year of mental assault. 

I won't lie. I sort of drank the Kool-Aid for a minute and started to get sucked into the madness. And then as always, something popped the Crazy Bubble and brought me back down to earth. 

K, a friend of my family's has been battling an incredibly aggressive cancer since mid-June. Everyone has been hopeful for the best since the beginning, but it's become apparent over the last weeks that the harder they seem to fight it, the more vengeful it becomes. K is tough as nails. We met in high school and got to know each other on a couple of different trips to Latin America as teenagers. I always identified with her because, even though we came from pretty different backgrounds, I saw a little bit of myself in her. We both had sweet as pie fathers, phenomenal, strong, no-nonsense mothers, and we ourselves were a little headstrong and independent. You couldn't really tell us much that we didn't think we already knew. I haven't seen her much since high school, but have always kept up with her through my mom's updates and random encounters with her mom in the mall. K has led a superstar life - amazing jobs across the country, an opportunity to work in Africa... real work doing real things to help real people. I cried when I found out she was sick, but had faith that she'd fight her way back again. Tonight I cried again. K's fight has become a losing battle, and she has been moved to hospice. We're still praying for a miracle, but at the same time praying that she'll find peace and rest after a hard fight. The part that shocks me the most is that K and I are the same age. We're adults in our own right, but we're still sort of getting started. We've been busy changing the world while keeping an eye out for a life of husbands and babies and mortgages. At our age, we're supposed to have our whole lives ahead of us. 

K has been in cancer wards for about as long as I've been in law school, and I'm the one complaining. 

So here's to perspective. Here's to the unfairness of being graded on a curve, cancer, and life. And here's to K, for reminding me what's important, and inspiring me to be a better person. Please pray for her.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27