The “Silent” Stress of Law School
ORIGINALLY POSTED 9/2/09–Speaking of stress, law school offers a variety. The other day I laughed with my friend Megan about “seating chart stress.” Thank you, Megan for voicing what I’d been feeling all first week. Besides schedules, new subjects and the crushing work load, first week means seating charts. If you don’t get a good seat, you lump it for at least a semester, if not the whole year. I found myself getting to classrooms a ridiculous 1.5 hours early, anxious to make sure I got “my” seat. Now as a 2L there’s the obligatory “save me a seat” from all your friends and that adds more stress. So there I am with a laptop in one spot, a book bag in another, my calendar and pencil bag thrown on that chair, and if someone doesn’t get here quick I’m going to have to start taking off my shoes!
I know this sounds just nutty, but it really serves a purpose: For me and for lots of others, we want to sit where we’ve got the best chance to learn. Law school classes are dense with complicated concepts; to let your mind wander for just a few minutes is to risk missing out on some important (i.e. test-able) information. I have to sit close to the front so I can see and hear the professor. I focus better if there are less distractions and being in front forces me to be prepared because there’s nowhere to hide. Some people like seats at the end of a row, others like the back, and others want to be near an AC vent or under a light…we all have our preferences.
Anyone outside of law school might not understand how this is a big deal, but thanks to Megan who summed it up by saying, “What’s wrong with us?!” I’m relieved to know that I’m not alone in feeling this way. Professors think that the chart is for them, but really it’s for us. I happily printed my name on the class seating chart and felt the weight shift (just a bit) from my shoulders.