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The Glee of Law School Life

The Glee of Law School Life

World, rejoice. The new season of Glee has returned to our televisions. Which not only means that entertainment journalists across the country have an excuse to use the term “Gleek” again (get it?), but for an hour a week I can indulge my weakness for pop music remixes, impossible plot lines, and a world where the hot jock really does fall in love with the nerdy girl*. Added bonus: it’s back, like a ray of light piercing the darkness, just in time for the return of finals’ season. Sometimes the world just makes sense.

At first glance, it would seem like the world of William McKinley High School does not have much in common with the world of Law School. And that would be an entirely correct assessment. Let me be clear: law school is nothing like Glee. I’m sorry to disappoint you. And disappointed you should be, since the complete lack of spontaneous a capella performances is by far the most terrible thing about this world.

We do, however, have our own version of a glee club. Sort of. It is called Law Revue (get it?), and it’s a group of law students who put on a biannual show full of skits and parodies of popular songs. Think Weird Al meets The Big Gay Sketch Show. But law school themed. So meets Legally Blonde. The Broadway version. Or something. Anyway, it’s delightful.

Since my singing voice is a delightful cross between the voice of Selma Bouvier and a cat being tortured, I’m not actually a part of this group. Thanks to my appreciation for the craft, though, I was not about to miss their big spring performance. So there I sat, front and center, ready to be entertained (and hoping that Mr. Schuester might make an appearance. He didn’t).
Imagine how disappointed I was when, an hour and a half later, I was enjoying none of the warm-fuzzy-urge-to-break-out-into-song-and-dance feeling that the kids of Glee leave me with weekly. Instead I was filled with dread. Not that the show wasn’t good; in fact it was excellent. It was the content that got me upset.

This semester’s show followed the Mighty Ducks-esque story of a group of law school underachievers who hope to defeat the reigning law school moot court champions, a group of appropriately gunner-tastic rich kids. This was not meant to be a serious story. It was supposed to poke fun at some law school stereotypes, not make me feel utterly inept as a law student. We were supposed to laugh at the stereotypically overachieving students, not want to be them. Yet, by the end, I found myself disgusted with the study habits of the band of misfits, and wishing I could put in half the work that the insufferable “smart kids” did. It was a tragic moment of self-awareness.

In the past, there have been some commenters who have wondered about grades, and how much 1L year really matters. Although I intend to have a future blog answering the question of how much 1L grades actually matter, today I will confirm that sometimes they seem like the most important thing in the world. There is definitely pressure to get “good” grades. Although I think most people try to avoid being obsessed or complete a-holes about it, sometimes that pressure gets to all of us.

Case in point: a student written performance meant to poke fun at how ridiculous the pressure to overachieve can be just made me want to, well, overachieve. As the cast sang lyrics about how the reigning champs spend all their time in the library, have no social life, and can’t get laid, I found myself wondering why I didn’t spend more time in the library. And worrying that I go out and party too much. And regretting spending the night before with- wait. Nevermind.

By intermission, I was filled with self-loathing and convinced that I was “wasting” this time watching the show when I could have been reading case law. Or outlining. Or taking practice finals. I sunk down miserably to watch the second half, certain I was the biggest screw up the law school had ever seen. By the end of the show I had mentally mapped out a three week study plan that required me to cut of all contact with the outside world, live on two hours of sleep a night, and read approximately 3 billion treatises before then end of finals. Even then, I only felt a little better.

Of course, none of that is reasonable. Within a day or so I had come to my senses, and realized how misplaced my feelings of academic ineptness were. Although I do have fun, I also study plenty. And my grades may not put me on a SCOTUS trajectory, but they’ll be fine for what I want to do. Plus, I have a lot of things going for me; a few letters on a transcript are only a small part of the whole. Usually these facts create a pretty solid shield against the majority of the academic competition ridiculousness. But, especially as finals draw closer, the pressure gets to everyone. At least sometimes.

Everyone says that they will be that student who never worries about grades. Even more annoyingly, half the students I know claim to never worry about grades. Those are lies. We all worry sometimes. Sure it ebbs and flows, based on your individual personality and what is currently going on academically, but no one is above it. So, even if some people pretend to be the exception, it’s probably better advice to just stay rational and level headed as possible. After all, if campy television has taught me anything it’s that it is always possible to reach your goals, no matter how much you screw up. Especially if your goal is to defeat a competitor through song and dance routines. Then it’s practically encouraged that you make awful decisions along the way.

If I had my way, this blog would end with an inspiring rendition of Eye of the Tiger.

*See cross-reference: my love for Taylor Swift.