WHY

I have committed to finishing this semester. This because: one reason: I am a stubborn son of a bitch. I committed to it. I paid for it. I’m going to see it through.

So little do I think of it, and so much I hate it, that any thoughts about its utility to me are thrown deep into the shadows. Moreover, that I doubt even a clear head would think it useful. However deep they’re cast, I must cast them deeper.

I have one goal and one goal only: make it through the semester. Keep going to class. Keep paying attention. Keep doing the readings – as little as I can get away with. Make it through the semester. Just keep through.

To get me through the semester I shall do whatever I must. If that is watch television I shall do it. If that is go out to the theater than I shall. The gym as much as I am able. A book if I can stomach it, here and there. All subsumed beneath one goal: get through. Get through.

And one thing above all, I think, shall get me through. And that is the idea that, come May 9th, I will be able to get on my bike.

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WHY

A story:

When I first applied to law school, I thought: a Doctor of Laws. It’s a doctorate. It’ll be comparable to a PhD. Maybe a little watered down. But a lot of PhDs today are more than a little watered down. And hey, if I spend a little more time learning a practical professional skill and a little less time… well, I was going to say, teaching hungover 19-year-olds how to spell or add, but that’s a rather practical professional skill for those who’ve taken the tweed. A Doctor of Laws. I can respect that.

When I first started law school, I thought: This isn’t quite a PhD. It’s all taught. There’s no research, no creative element. No expectation that one will contribute to the body of human knowledge. Only about 10% of the students are able to do any real writing by means of the law review, and that’s one short paper… their last semester. This isn’t a doctorate. It’s a master’s degree. A three-year master’s, too. Not great – but it is what it is.

When I was halfway through the semester, I thought. This isn’t quite a master’s. There’s little critical thinking, or application, or challenge. It’s time-consuming and it’s a fight not to fall asleep, but that’s as close as it comes to being hard. Do the work. Recite the facts. Prove that you’ve done the reading. Take the exam. Get good grades. This isn’t graduate school. This is a BA. Oh my God, I’m getting a second bachelor’s.

Now that I’m in Semester Two I feel no hold to saying: this does not rise to the level of BA 2. My undergraduate degree was far in advance of this. Silly, easy, trapped in a failed system that’s trapped in the past. This is high school. This is the fucking eleventh grade. That’s what this is. I’m in high school again. I’m sad and I’m angry and that is why.

I didn’t have anything else to do. Little money in my purse, nothing on land much interested in me. The dilemma of the no alternative: may excuse much.

But this?

WHY

Let me attempt at positivity of outlook, and start with a list of the things of law school which are good.

I am taking a path which, however ill-directioned, has been trodden by noble Legion – presidents and prime ministers, people of the highest pay and power. (“The Foosteps Defense”)

I am getting through it, for its own sake. (“The Boot Camp”)

I am proving, for the first time in my life, that I am able to succeed in normative, lecture-hall report-card academe. (“The Grade-point”)

I have been given a good introduction to several legal department. (“The Survey”)

It beats flippin’ burgers (“The Ivy Nuremberg Defense”)

Not bad. Useful at least. But let’s delve.

FOOTSTEPS: Made by friends, leading off a bridge.

BOOT CAMP: I’ve done harder things that weren’t wastes of my time.

GPA: I am the poster-child for not giving a hell ass damn. (Moreover: having gotten good grades in Semester One, I am entirely without motivation to do so again. I have proven to my satisfaction it can be done. Proving it five more times is the sum of redundancy.)

SURVEY: The entirety of the entire first semester could have been imparted to me by a week spent reading the material, alone. By two days, maybe, spent reading material better organized for the direct imparting of what-needs-be-known. Classes were unnecessary. Useless. Beyond a doubt.

IVY EICHMANN: Law school is designed to be aggressive. It is unpleasant. Not terribly so – no tears here. But if it helps anybody to learn, I am not they. I find it at worst distracting, and at best, wholly goddam dull.

As a result I am quite unsure if it *does* beat manual labor. Over the last few weeks I have come uncomfortably close to deciding, quite firmly, that it does not. I have walked out of classes. I have walked out in a rage. I have been able to sit through some classes only by spending the entire class reading Pound on my tablet. In this little world, no centaurs for ants to be.

Would I pass the courses, if I could teach myself the material on my own? Would I ace them? Would I get better grades than if I did not? Yes, yes, and yes – though the latter is difficult, as I received a handful of perfect As already.

Mandatory attendance is evil. This I believe.

It began as easy. It has gotten easier. As I grow more accustomed to the process, any challenge it once possessed has leached out entirely. Now it is an endurance sport, and the things I am enduring are mostly things I do not feel good about ignoring: like the fact that I’m not challenged, not learning, and WASTING TIME.

It is excruciating because I know that it should be. The only way to make the pain go away is to take a deep breath – and hold it.

WHY

Since I was much younger I have said that a fitting epitaph for me would be: “Here lies David Axel Kurtz. He didn’t like school.”

You might be asking, why, then, did I return to the academy? This question I have been asking myself, until I have to tell myself quite forcefully to Shut Up. Allowing myself only one chide: how, how, could I have been so fucking stupid.

My intentions were pure. It was to be a means to an end. I want to do things with myself. I want to organize, to manage, to lead. I want to problem-solve. I want to cut Gordian knots, and untie them, and tie them tighter, as is called for. I want to Do Stuff, god dammit. I don’t want to be bored. Law school is a route one may take, to a shining city and its name Not Bored.

But that is only a general description of ends. I have not been able to define them the better. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier… unknown. Some ideas. Some guesses. Much based on what I’ve read about, having, despite my best efforts, seen not much. A lawyer? Perchance. One of the thousand of Professions or lives wherein a legal education would be of benefit? Not unlikely. A foot in the door to a thousand jobs and a thousand more besides? Most certainly.

Maybe not one city, but a thousand, and any one to satisfy. Law school seemed most able to move me nearer them. It would take away few options, and give many. It would be of use no matter what I did. And let us be quite honest: I had no other option. I could not think of any. None to find. And I searched, high and low. No door my foot to get in; I couldn’t find what to do. At least this would give me something to do.

But this is focusing on ends. So far it has not provided any, but this is not unexpected. I have little time to apply for work – for associateships six months’ in the future. I have no time to take up work here-and-now. Many good discussions to be had as to what I wish to accomplish, and how best to get there. If in three years, or even in one, I find it has helped me or no, we may discuss its utility in regards to ends.

So means, then. How is law school?

It’s awful.