Filling the Gap


With the year’s classes drawn to a close, those of us who aren’t faced with the prospect of spending the next few months studying for the bar exam—and realizing that $3-4k worth of BAR/BRI prep classes do a better job of making you ready for the bar exam than a hundred thousand dollars worth of law school—are heading off to clerkships, internships, or clinic positions for the summer.

For the lucky among us, those positions don’t start immediately and we get a small taste of a vacation only to realize that, without law books to pore over, we’re not quite sure how to fill the time. For anyone out there foolish enough to take advice from me, here’s a list of ideas I’ve come up with to manage my own “vacation.” Any suggested improvements are welcome.

  1. Get caught up on all the boring “life” crap. If you’re like me, then it’s been months since you’ve had the time for a proper full load of laundry. You’re looking forward finally to having everything clean again rather than just seven days worth of clothes at a time. And then there’s all the little things involved in transitioning the apartment from “just a place to sleep when the law library’s full” into a habitable space where an adult might actually live. Which is great because, for the summer at least, we’ll all be playing at being one.
  2. Take a crazy trip. Or at least avoid taking one. Because it’s completely insane to spend a few hundred dollars for a ferry trip up to Ketchikan for two days for no good reason. Just like it’s completely insane to drive out to Glacier National Park simply on the basis that US-2 is “a really, really nice drive” and that the last time you tried to go there you had to turn around because the park was on fire. Doing either trip on a motorcycle “just because” is even more ridiculous. Besides, you don’t even have saddlebags.
  3. Actually explore the area around your school. Rumor has it that there’s more to do in the immediate area than just hang out in the law school working on estate planning documents or reading the tax code. This is the perfect time to discover just how much damage a year of sitting behind a desk in the law school can do to your ability to hike up a 5,000-foot mountain. This is one of those little revelations that will really make you wonder if the law is really worth pursuing.
  4. Remind yourself that you have non-law-school hobbies. Dust off that fancy SLR that you used to take everywhere and see if you still remember how to compose a photograph. Or inflate the now flat tires on your old bike and remind yourself why it’s still in your garage. Or finally tear into that old transmission you’ve been meaning to rebuild. Basically all the things that you promised yourself you wouldn’t start ignoring just because you’d started law school—and then promptly started ignoring anyway.
  5. Absolutely nothing at all. Because the best way to celebrate having the time to do whatever you want is to completely waste it, right? And it’s completely reasonable to spend three weeks doing nothing but killing time playing Gran Turismo and Skyrim. Normally you’d have to worry about this looking weird, but everyone in law school’s a geek anyway, so you might as well take one of the last chances you’re going to get to be completely unproductive.
The Northwest 3L spent 6 years in the "real world" cultivating cynicism and a dim view of humanity in the telecom and software consulting industries before deciding that the best way to deal with having zero debt in a down economy was to load up on student loans and truck on off to law school. Asked for a description, his friends replied, "says inappropriate things." Grainy, out-of-focus film footage suggests that he attends law school somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

1 Comment

  1. Ellen

    May 22, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I would ADD to the list to try to find a real man who is decent and who will support you in what you want to do. FOOEY on men who act like boy’s! FOOEY!

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