I find some morbid satisfaction in knowing I’m not the only one who received an unpleasantly surprising grade in Contracts. Since there were others, I can tell myself that maybe the problem wasn’t with all of us.
After all, we were good students before we came to law school. Even last year, in the master’s program at this same school, I got better grades than this. Every one of them was better, and most of them were much better.
I don’t know what I did wrong; odds are I’ll never know. I don’t expect to get my exam back at all, let alone with any real feedback. That frustrates me no end; one of the things that helps me learn –which is what I’m paying for here, after all– is to understand what I did wrong so I can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Additionally, I could have done without the false hope distributed by the registrar when she emailed all of us to tell us that our grades were only preliminary and not necessarily final; they were then adjusted to reflect “class participation.” I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt opinion regarding “class participation,” an opinion which I harbored well before I took Contracts: it’s a total crock. It obviously reflects how much you get called on by the professor, which you can’t control; I got called on only twice, in four courses, the entire semester. You can improve this by occasionally volunteering, which I occasionally did, but which obviously amounted to nothing as it did not change my grade.
But the part that I find especially objectionable is that there is no sympathy for individuals who may, perhaps for very good reason, not wish to speak up in class any more than they have to. For those of us who stutter, or who are uncomfortable with the fact that other students are producing audio recordings of the class (with or without the professor’s approval), or for any other reasonable reason may be reluctant to speak up, it’s this simple: too bad. You may (or may not) be brilliant when it comes to legal reasoning and/or written articulation, but regardless, your grade will reflect other things that may well have no relevance to your ability to function as a lawyer. Play the game, or pay the price.
Oh, I’m not bitter; I’m really not. I feel better now that I’ve said that.
And, of course, these opinions are entirely my own and [obviously] not those of VLS.