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on complaining and gratitude

My earliest class this semester is a 9:55 class on Friday.  This offers a challenge to resist the temptation to sleep in most days.  I have been getting up at 8, but 7 would be better.

I set my alarm for 7, but snooze for an hour, indulging in disjointed dream sequences, the last few scenes of subconscious theatre before giving in to the obligations of waking life.

This morning, the residue of ongoing frustrations manifested in an episode where I was giving the business perhaps more than I usually would in real life.  But, I have been known to give some very serious business, if moved to do so.

Law school is anxiety inducing.  There are towers of reading, the stiff styling demanded by legal writing, and that one shot you have to get the grade at final exams.  There is the injustice of the grading system, the elitism of certain activities like law review, and professors who feel not even a professional obligation to treat students with respect.  There is the constant fear that we are going in debt for nothing, we won’t find a job after this, and someone from a top 14 law school will always get the job over us.

If I had a buck for every time I have been a warm body for others to vent these fears on to on any night at crossroads, I could buy myself a drink to entertain myself during it.

Complaining has its place, don’t get me wrong.  It is part of processing bullshit one is experiencing, owning both one’s feelings and drawing out the finer points of the lousiness of the situation.

Call it ironic, but I have been complaining about other people’s complaining!  But, I hope it has been a constructive complaint, especially since my number 1 complaint about complaining among my peers is that it is all together whiny, with no desire to take action to improve their situation, or to put things in perspective to see that things aren’t all that bad.  I will be constructive by writing about it 😉

Maybe it is the anxiety caused by the bigger worries of law students that cause them to complain about more trivial matters like poor service at the local restaurants, law school staff, how hard their classes are, or how the snow isn’t the right texture for the recreational activity they set out to do.  Regardless, it reeks of ingratitude and immaturity. To be even more frank, these sound exactly like the complains you would hear from a school that is dominated by people of a similar age and economic status.  Would we whine about the same things if we did not grow up with the privileges that come with a majority of us being white, straight, and middle class in America?  How distracting from the real injustices, right in our own town, as many locals struggle to find employment and make ends meet, to waste so much energy making mountains out of the molehills of our little trials happening in our academic bubble of a campus.

Even with the terrible job market, we are in the best position to have employment our whole lives.  It is telling of our collective insecurity over our entitlement to the middle class life.

Along those lines, I would hope that before enrolling into law school and taking out lots of money to finance it, folks did some serious reflection on why they are going to law school, how a specific law school would help them to achieve their goals, and believed in themselves enough to fight for those goals.  If they did, they should be able to brush their shoulders off in the midst of this graduate-level doubt over the future, and hustle to make those connections and experiences that have always made success in the professional world.

No one will hold your hand or hand you your career.  But, here at VLS, there are many professors and staff who will go out of their way to help you find the opportunities we need to distinguish ourselves in the real world.  It would be best to run with this, and not cut these folks down because they are human and may not perform services for students as fast as some would like.  Part of becoming a successful professional -or human, for that matter- is displaying grace and gratitude for others.

To be grateful is to give thanks.  You don’t have to be religious, just have your head out of your colon.  Thank people for refilling your water, for finding that book for you, for recommending an internship.  Thank the snow for even falling as much as it has this year, or to have the time to be out enjoying it, instead of being strapped down with work or other responsibilities.  Be kind to your friends, peers, neighbors, and strangers.

Kick ass, but don’t be mean.

Perhaps this venting will be just a drop in the bucket in the crusade to curb spoiled law student whining, so I might end up like the me in my dreams and snap at the next person who complains about, I don’t know, how bad the microbrew served at events is or the clothing some female professors wear.  To end on a good note, and to send a similar message in the form of art (not a blog rant from a 2L), I give you this:

don’t give up on your desire,

i can understand your thirst

put another one before you

help someone else first.

today is a day for someone else. . .

this moment is yours and you

can give it to someone else.


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