This whole law school “competition” thing…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 19, 2010 in Drama

…is a complete and total farce. jsyk.

Let me preface this entry by saying I’ve had a downright blissful experience at the N.C. Central University School of Law so far. For all the internet talk about gunners and Socratic nightmares and everything else that supposedly makes law school such a horrible experience, I haven’t really encountered it.

My less-than-stellar moments of Socratic hazing (notably in Contracts and in Torts) receded from my memory almost as quickly as they happened; I actually can’t remember either day at all except what I wrote here on the blog :beatup:

Even the personal drama that crops up at every school has been minimal. There were some childish inquiries about Madame Prosecutor a few weeks in, some unrelated ASG issues that same month, and only a pair of bona fide law-related gripes before and after midterms — both by the same people, all of whom have been notably silent since finals.

The general lack of drama can be seen by the category counts: in 154 posts over the past 6 months,1 only 4 of them went in the “Drama” listing.

So it’s a little grating when it seems like someone is going out of their way to be ridiculous.

Those of you who are regular readers here at law:/dev/null2 know I’m pretty much completely open about my grades, posting a class-by-class list of both the Fall ’09 midterm results along with my final exam grades and current GPA. My rationale for doing so is a blend of principle and pragmatism.

On the principle side, I just don’t see why grade secrecy is that big a deal so I feel no compulsion to invest energy in keeping mine secret.

On the pragmatism side, it’s a combination of 3 things:  (i) because grade info is an artificially constrained supply (by virtue of folks keeping grades secret), demand for grade info/gossip is high; (ii) I have a horrible poker face,3 so the first person to ask me for my grades would inevitably get either the truth or a poorly-concealed lie; and (iii) since someone could get the info in person without any trouble, putting it online for everyone to get without any trouble theoretically levels the playing field and destroys its social value as gossip, consequently reducing/eliminating the number of people talking about my grades (which ideally is the objective anyway).

Besides, if it bothers any of you that much you can always stop reading :)

Bearing that background in mind, I also don’t mind talking about grades when folks ask me. I had a candid conversation with Rico during our run on Tuesday. Co-Counsel4 hit me up on Gchat to ask about yesterday’s LRP quiz. And as I was leaving CrimLaw today I chatted with Rockstar about how crazy people can act sometimes in this environment.

It turned out to be a prophetic conversation.

When I got home I cut on a Law & Order rerun and started catching up on emails and Facebook messages. While I was working on the latter one of my classmates, clearly in a petulant mood, starts ranting at me over FBchat about my inquisitiveness during CrimLaw. Apparently I’m annoying… even though Professor CrimLaw has made it clear on numerous occasions that if the class doesn’t start speaking up he’ll forgo Q&A-style teaching in favor of the less-preferred lecturing from the podium. That and I plan on doing this professionally so I’d like an answer while the question and material are both fresh in my brain ;)

In general I didn’t respond to her diatribe beyond the occasional “gotcha” and “ok,” which apparently only pissed this chick off more. She closes with “if u spent half as much effort studying as u do asking questions maybe u’d have grades like mine.”

::cue scratching record sound effect::

Honestly I couldn’t even be mad about the remark, that’s how derisible it was. I just replied with a “lmao k” and that was the end of the conversation.

I noted all the way back in September that there’s far more to a lawyer than a GPA.5 We’ve all got different interests, we’ve all got different objectives, and in general we’re all going to end up at different places in life — professionally, temporally or geographically. As long as I’ve got my 2.5 required for most extracurricular orgs, I’m satisfied. You should be too.

I’ll put it another way:  I have no interest in law journal or becoming a corporate attorney. You have no interest in trial team or throwing criminals in prison. Almost by definition, we’re not in competition with each other. So do us both a favor and spare me your sanctimony :heart:

And if my questions are that irksome, convince your classmates that a lecture is less boring than a Q&A :*

To the rest of you, please forgive my ranting :oops:  I hope you all have a great night! :D

  1. Can you believe we’ve been in law school that long?! []
  2. THANK YOU!! :) []
  3. See my losses at poker night if you need an example :beatup: []
  4. Co-Counsel’s new to law:/dev/null, a 1L in a different section. You’ll probably read more about her later. []
  5. Though if this girl’s an example, tact apparently isn’t included. []

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Lowering the standards of “gunner”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 9, 2009 in Drama

As the semester has progressed, I’ve turned into something of a recluse when it comes to my fellow Legal Eagles. It’s not intentional of course — like I mentioned last week, it’s a combination of trying to avoid drama and utilizing an apartment that’s catered to my learning style. Madame Prosecutor and I occasionally talk outside of class to study, and DMoff mentions ASG business every now and then. But since the whole study group thing didn’t really pan out and I’m hardly ever at the law school aside from class, I don’t have many non-class friendships among the 1Ls :(

I’ve got one exception, a young lady who I haven’t actually come up with a nickname for yet. We’ve got one of those friendships where we’d probably be perfect for each other romantically, but we also both have pre-existing interests so instead you end up with the bona fide respect and admiration of two competitive people going through a common struggle. She basically keeps me in check when my exasperation gets out of line and has occasionally been my conscience vis-à-vis law school.

That backstory is the preface to a conversation over the weekend, where she informed me that several folks (and by “several” I mean 3; any guesses on who?) have started referring to me as one of the class “gunners” because I posted my midterm grades here at law:/dev/null.  Professor Torts inadvertently helped that narrative on Friday when no one volunteered to brief the only case we had (an easy one, Palsgraf v. Long Island R.R. Co. (248 N.Y. 339)), so in the interests of getting out of class I offered — and got referred to as “one of our favorite volunteers” in that not-quite-sarcastic-but-not-quite-not-sarcastic tone that makes someone think they’ve volunteered one time too often :beatup:

For the sake of brevity, we’ll ignore the general silliness that goes with the secrecy around law school grades. As much as people claim school is all about competition, markets grow over time and everyone is better off collaborating than competing.  Basic economic principles.

The point that really threw me is that my grades were decisively unimpressive. I’m in 5 classes — I did really well in 2 (CivPro and Property), really bad in 2 (Torts and LRA), and I’m firmly in the middle for the 5th (Contracts). And while we all know gunners don’t necessarily have good grades, the logician in me thinks good grades would need to be a prerequisite if posting them is going to be treated as a criteria for gunner-hood.

So my grades are essentially average. I don’t volunteer unless it helps us get out of class sooner. I’ve crashed and burned on numerous occasions when I am called on. I’m rarely at the law school, not involved in school-related activities, and stopped over-dressing after orientation.

If that makes me a gunner, y’all have really lowered the standards. jsyk. :P

Anyhow, I’m off to bed.  Marine Corps’ birthday is tomorrow, meaning an extra-grueling PT session in the morning. Night everybody! :D

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Overanalyzing overanalysis

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 1, 2009 in Drama

I really hate being wrong.

Down in the comments of this entry from a few days ago, I mentioned to idwsj that the law school drama (at least involving me) had pretty much died off.  Evidently I neglected to knock on wood or something because one of my classmates was working hard to rope me in today.

It started shortly after Contracts.  Class itself had me rolling, as we went over cases like Wright v. Newman (266 Ga 519) — affectionately referred to as the Baby Mama Drama case.  I suspect few things can prompt more humorous class discussion among 1Ls :)

Once class was over I headed downstairs to my locker to grab a few books and head home, same routine I’ve followed for weeks now.  A fellow Legal Eagle I’ll just refer to as the Unnamed Gunner1 comes up to me and asks if I’m planning on being at the law building on Saturday since we have midterms next Thursday and Friday.  I tell him I’m not, that I’ll be heading to the Aggie-Eagle Classic2 in Greensboro.

Then comes the crazy:  “Yeah whatever man.  I saw you being the first one to turn in your LRA quiz on Tuesday and then the first one to finish in Torts yesterday.  Do you think you’re better than us or something?”

::cue scratching record sound effect::

I’m not sure if it was the comment itself or the look of “wtf?” that came across my face, but a young lady walking by us promptly choked on her coffee.

Let’s hit the obvious point first — why the hell are you keeping track of when I turn in my assignments? Insecurity? Envy? Inherent stalker tendencies?  You might get better grades if you pay attention to your own work instead of figuring out when I’m done with mine.  Just saying.

Second:  how does someone in law school make the logical leap from finishing an assignment first to feeling superior as a result? Last time I checked, none of us got bonus points for how many seconds were left on the clock when we turned something in.

I’m usually one of the first people done because I refuse to overanalyze the problems.  I’ll read the facts, re-read them again to make sure I understand them, pick an answer and move on.  It’s a strategy that served me well on the SAT in high school, all throughout college, and on the LSAT before coming to law school.  If I sit there and think about the question even more, I’m that much more likely to change my mind and go from having a maybe-correct answer to choosing a definitely-wrong one.

For an example, compare Madame Prosecutor and myself.  Madame Prosecutor is the archetypal “good student” — she has two degrees already, is heavily active in a bunch of stuff, studies hard, and makes good grades.  She’s also 1 of only 2 people I’ve met so far in my life who can successfully make me feel like I haven’t accomplished much in my almost-three decades on God’s earth.3

Madame Prosecutor takes a lot longer to finish her assignments than I do.  So do I feel superior to her because I finish sooner?  Of course not, because (among other reasons) she gets better grades.  But I’m also not going to do any better compared to her by mimicking her.  Would spending more time on a question help me do better?  Not likely.  It would, however, substantially increase my chances of doing worse.

That’s not me thinking I’m superior, it’s me doing what I know works for me academically.  I’d suggest you do the same… preferably without stalking me in the process ;)

Hope all of you had a great Thursday, and enjoy your night! :D

  1. Apparently a friend of the fine upstanding gentleman I was conversing with here []
  2. The rivalry football game between the Aggies of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and the Eagles of North Carolina Central University.  Among HBCUs it qualifies as A Big Deal™ :) []
  3. The other being QuietStorm, an intensely competitive young lady I couldn’t beat at anything… so instead of trying to win I just convinced her to date me for 7ish years. []

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Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 27, 2009 in Drama

[Edit @ 09/28/09: Apparently for at least the last 3 entries I’ve been hitting “Save Draft” instead of “Publish”, and since I went out of town for the weekend I never checked the blog to make sure they were online. So you’re getting this a day late. Sorry :P]

The drama from this weekend was ridiculous. Actually “ridiculous” doesn’t even adequately describe it, it’d be more like a blend of ridiculous and farcical and idiotic and a few other choice words thrown together.

For comparison, think less idle law school gossip and more Justin Timberlake.

It was sufficiently outrageous that I can’t even really give you the details, because several of the regular readers of law:/dev/null know the parties involved and have encouraged me to “be the adult” instead of putting the guilty ones on blast over the internet for Google to pick up.

I even tried to write a mini-synopsis, but it was too long.

So to condense down to the smallest number of words possible, essentially:

  1. I got falsely accused in multiple strings of profanity-laden text messages of activities that I wasn’t involved in and for which there was voluminous and incontrovertible evidence to the contrary;
  2. the initiating party was apparently surprised that I got pissed off as a result of the false accusations and essentially told her to take a hike;
  3. when said initiating party realized she had her facts completely and totally wrong, she felt it was appropriate to lie to me in an effort to explain away her drama queen stupidity; and,
  4. apparently I was supposed to take all of this in stride and either apologize (wtf?) or pretend like the whole chain of foolishness never happened in the first place (wtf?^2).

Since you folks who read my entries deserve better than the 4-point condensed version of what happened, in exchange for shortchanging you on that story I’ll offer a tidbit about myself:  I have a weakness for women who cry or are mentally unstable or otherwise hate their lives.

Why? My life is pretty amazing for reasons I can only attribute to divine intervention, so I tend to feel guilty if I can’t give friends what they want or cheer them up if they’re down. “What if they feel like their own life is miserable and I’m just making it worse?” is the typical thought that goes through my head. So I’m a fairly laid back and upbeat guy, and go out of my way to convince people to feel better about themselves and their own lives — because nothing bad lasts forever. I’m usually successful at brightening their days, which of course makes me feel better too.

At some point somewhere that must have turned into Captain Saveahoe Syndrome. That’s the only rational explanation I can find for a person I considered a friend somehow getting it into her head that she could so egregiously and gratuitously abuse my otherwise jovial nature with the accusations leveled against me (and then expect me to apologize to her. Again, wtf.).

Deuces. Captain Saveahoe is taking a vacation. Permanently.

Captain Saveahoe is taking a vacation. Permanently.

I refuse to play along, both with this chick and the other individuals I deal with who seem to be perpetually emo about everything in their lives.

So to the ladies out there for whom this is intended (and you know who you are):  I’m not a Care Bear, and I’m not going to be all “lollipops and rainbows” for you too.  Your life doesn’t suck, and neither does mine. The difference between the two of us is that I recognized that a long time ago.  It’s clear you don’t want to be convinced and that your continued existence is centered largely around the need for drama and attention.  The only attention you’ll be getting (from me at least) are my index and middle finger extended perpendicular to your direction.  And no, it’s not a peace sign.

To the rest of you, have a great night :)

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“TDot and [insert name here], sittin’ in a tree…”

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 7, 2009 in Drama

Back when Facebook first unveiled their FB Chat function last year, I didn’t particularly like the implementation from a CSC perspective but thought it was a marginally useful web app for me to bypass the AIM firewall at my day job. At some point a few weeks later I logged in to update a Facebook group I had created for my poker buddies, and someone started asking me for an update on UNCASG. While talking to that person, someone sent me a message wanting to know about the next Student Senate meeting. Then my mom wanted to know if I was still going to graduate the next Spring. Then someone else wanted me to help fix their computer.  Before I knew it I was running 10 conversations deep and couldn’t extricate myself from any of them, so I abruptly logged out after about 30 minutes of getting nothing accomplished… without ever updating my Facebook group.

I haven’t used FB Chat since.

Until last week.  A classmate and I were talking via Facebook messages about school stuff, she got tired of how long the conversation was taking, and told me to get on FB Chat.  I logged in, realized you could now cut off your visibility based on your lists, promptly turned off every list except for law school, and proceeded to have a real-time conversation without any interruptions.

Since no one but NCCU 1Ls could see me online, I didn’t bother shutting down the Chat functionality when I was done.  That was probably a dumb idea.  I randomly log in today (while watching the USA Law & Order Labor Day marathon) and end up in the following conversation:

[Note: other than name changes, this is a copy-and-paste]
Legal Eagle:  hey man
Legal Eagle:  whats good wit u?
TDot: chillin’ man, finishing up laundry and studying for tomorrow. you?
Legal Eagle: figuring out where I’m gonna watch this game tonight!
TDot: cool deal
Legal Eagle: yeah man, FSU gonna whoop dat ass!
Legal Eagle: let me ask u a question. what’s up wit u and Madame Prosecutor?
Legal Eagle: heard u 2 were getting close
TDot: wtf…
TDot: whotf said that?
Legal Eagle: ppl talk man
TDot: define “people”
Legal Eagle: don’t worry about it bro. me and some of the guys were talking at lunch today and they had heard the same thing.
TDot: I just met her 3 weeks ago. We didn’t even have a non-law-related conversation until this past week.
Legal Eagle: that doesn’t sound like a denial to me lol. u tryin to smash?
TDot: are you fucking kidding me?
Legal Eagle: lol. no man i’m serious, i heard she was talking about u!
TDot: ok…
Legal Eagle: don’t u wanna know what she said?
TDot: not really
Legal Eagle: hahaha bullshit
TDot: I’m serious
Legal Eagle: u r lying bro
Legal Eagle: y not?
TDot: Let’s think about this. Just for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that I *didn’t* move only 30 minutes away for law school, that I *didn’t* have a life before law school, and that I *don’t* know or talk to or see any of the people I knew or talked to or saw in undergrad
Legal Eagle: u dont have to be like that
TDot: let me finish
TDot: So we’re assuming I live in isolation
TDot: And recalling that she and I just “met” essentially a few days ago
TDot: So 1 of 3 things are possible
TDot: If she said something positive, like “omg TDot is the most amazing guy ever”, I’m going to think she’s crazy b/c she doesn’t know me
TDot: If she said something negative, like “that TDot is such a prick I hate his ass”, who wants to hear that shit?
Legal Eagle: lol
TDot: And the most likely scenario is that all she said was “There’s some guy TDot in my classes, and this other guy such and such, and this chick so and so” and you’ve turned those first few words into something bigger than it is
Legal Eagle: hahaha
Legal Eagle: fuck u man its not like that
TDot: ok, so what did she say?
Legal Eagle is now offline
Legal Eagle is now online
Legal Eagle: sorry my fb is messing up
TDot: so what did she say?
Legal Eagle: what?
TDot: Madame Prosecutor? What did she say that had you and “some of the guys” all abuzz?
Legal Eagle: its not important man
TDot: y’all are ridiculous
TDot: deuces
Legal Eagle: I heard u bought her flowers for her birthday man
Legal Eagle: thats some heavy ish
TDot: dude it was a $3.99 potted plant from Food Lion
TDot: I figured it’d be a slightly more useful gift than a birthday card for the same $$
Legal Eagle: lol ok bro
TDot: my mind is really blown right now
TDot: I’m out, need to start studying for tomorrow
Legal Eagle: hahaha aight
Legal Eagle: peace

Really? Really? I expect this sort of thing from the Student Government crowd, or maybe 3rd graders. Apparently we don’t have enough studying to do or something…

To the people who have trouble keeping my name out of their mouth: give it a rest. Thx.

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