A lot of times lately, I look in the mirror and I see someone very different from the person I was not very long ago. I cannot help but frequently think these days that law school will be over in just a few months and yet it sometimes seems like I only started yesterday.
One of the things that I think was most difficult for me heading into law school was an impression that for many of us, many students, the process involves a certain amount of personal change. Looking back, I recognize that I am one of those people who had to change. As I think I mentioned in a previous post, my mother said something to me the other day about the "education" I have received in law school- to which I responded I do not think I have in fact received an education, but rather it has been a four year hazing process. Looking back, I would say that as much as I have learned a great deal in law school substantively, the more significant yield of the whole experience has been the way it has reshaped me in certain ways.
I realize of course that it has been only three years. I also realize that for some people the "reshaping" may be less profound and to them this post may seem like an exaggeration. However, to me the experience I have had has made a dramatic change in the way I look at the world as well as the way I look at work, goals, values, and a lot of other things. In many ways I do not consider this to be that profound of a statement. I think law school bears some resemblances to other prolonged intensive training periods like boot camp or maybe medical school.
Another funny aspect of this reshaping is that as the excercise has gone on, my perception of the people around me has changed. People I have relied on or who have been there in times where this experience was particularly challenging or draining have made their invaluability in my mind clear. At the same time, I have frequently seen my own failings as a person in terms of the relationships I have not kept up simply because it was inconvieniant. Finally, I have seen my perception of a great many acquaintainces change. To explain- I think in a sense I just find it more difficult to speak with an old college buddy living off somewhere doing a 9-5 job, going out all the time, and living the post-college yuppie life less enjoyable than my occassional short conversations with the Phd student, the forth year night school law student, the family member, or the significant other.
In some ways I think I may be getting colder. At certain points in this process I sat with my mom near tears over my frustration with the whole process, but somewhere along the line I had to move past that frustration and the result I think may be a person who forces himself to see things in less emotional terms. I suppose it is not surprising though- the first day of law school you learn to in many ways suspend you ethics and assume the role of the advocate of any position regardless of right or wrong. At this point, in my limited work experience I can say that I have done work for both the right, the wrong, and the completely absurd and meritless.
In the end, I know that looking ahead I can only wonder what changes are to come and hope for the best.