So…I usually try to resist writing about my own life on this blog, mostly because I am afraid of revealing how truly boring and unremarkable my life actually is (for instance–why are you blogging at 8:30 on a Saturday night?) But whatever–sometimes it’s just easier to be yourself, ya know?
As you may know, I am currently in the process of applying to law school. For some reason I decided to apply to 25 of them. This is what is commonly referred to as ‘overkill,’ I believe. But there’s a certain seduction in reading those glossy pamphlets…yes, Baylor School of Law, I do believe I could be a leader and an innovator after having spent three years traveling your beautiful leaf-swept campus. I have no doubt I would receive an unparalleled opportunity in interdisciplinary study at Pennsylvania. And who am I to doubt anyone who tells me their faculty is truly world-class?
Anyhoo…of the 25 wonderful law schools I’ve applied to, no dings so far, knock on wood. I’ve gotten into Michigan, Cornell, Virginia, Fordham, and Duke.
I am also applying to Yale Law School, which has been ranked the #1 law school in the country (nay, the world?) by U.S. News and World Report in every year they’ve published a ranking. Supposedly Yale is a magical place full of unicorns and rainbows. I wouldn’t know anything about it. But I do know Bill Clinton went there. That’s good enough for me.
The application fee to Yale Law is $75. For someone with my LSAT score, applying to Yale is probably the equivalent of throwing that $75 into a blazing furnace. But…Bill Clinton, man!!! ….oh, I can’t resist. I applied today. Last one. You can thank me later for lowering your acceptance rate, Yale.
Yale requires a 250-word essay on any topic. Here’s what I wrote:
In speaking with recent college graduates, I have noticed a peculiarity in how they tend to perceive the job market. Many seem to view it as a contest with a highly limited number of prizes, rather than an opportunity to find a calling in life. I cannot blame them for this attitude, considering both the state of the economy and the fact that I myself am applying to law school—a process which has often felt like a rather feverish contest itself, as thousands of applicants attempt to avoid the specter of personal failure and economic uncertainty by staying ahead of the LSAT and GPA curve (which I imagine will turn into the 1L finals curve, then the associate attrition curve, more quickly than most of us expect).
Perhaps thinking this way is harmless. The prize is desirable and the consequences of failure dire; the student will study hard and network tirelessly and presumably earn their reward. But I shudder to think what our collective future may be, if our best and brightest choose to cling to their employment as if it were a lifeboat slowly distancing itself from the Titanic.
Certainly our American ideals of merit and opportunity are partly defined by competition. But they are at least equally defined by the belief that opportunity is essentially limitless—Americans create our own opportunities. It is a difficult thing to believe when mired in a terrible recession. But those who do believe will be the ones to pull us out.