Sunday, February 10, 2008

Looks like somebody's reading

I'm always quietly pleased when a friend makes reference to something in my blog in direct conversation, or asks for follow-up or explanation of something I've left (intentionally) vague. The narcissist in me savors the attention, loves to know that someone's reading.

But it's a little freakier when you find that your professors have discovered your account of their course online and posted it to the class Wiki.

Welcome to the modern age, everyone.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Everything old is new again

I've been back in Cambridge for about a week now (since last I posted, I've been to Bali, Thailand, back home, Chile, and Argentina). My plane landed through a gentle snowstorm, the first time since coming to Boston that I've flown through such conditions, and honestly, rather fitting feeling. But the effect of 8 months' absence was immediately apparent, as I watched the fluttering snowflakes not with dread or despair, but with mild bemusement. "Oh look," I thought to myself, "it's the nice, pretty snow instead of the horrible, wet, blustery kind." I contemplated going outside to frolic for a while.

That kind of (totally uncharacteristic) optimism has been the order of the day since getting back to Cambridge for my final semester of law school. It's like being a 1L again -- all bright eyes and bushy tails and no true concept of the miserable horrors that await you -- except I know tons of people. And they're all inordinately glad to see me! It's been fascinating, really, to see how people react to my return...people I'd expect to be indifferent who are strangely welcoming, people I'd expect to be excited who are strangely apathetic. But it's all been quite refreshing, and my social calendar is delightfully full. I'd highly recommend disappearing for 8 months in the middle of law school to anyone.

School is still school, but I've done a sufficiently good job gaming the system all this time that I've been left with a quite manageable 3L Spring. I'm required to do a 1-unit paper for my study abroad, but I've convinced my advising professor to let me revise and improve a paper I completed in Hong Kong to fulfill that requirement. There was a 2-unit paper I was supposed to do, but I finished it last semester and got the professor to apply the credits to this semester. I'm taking Negotiation Workshop as a pass-fail course, and Professional Responsibility, one of the known patty-cake courses of law school.

But the capstone of my law school education has to be the Freedom seminar with the legendary Charles Nesson (recently on the Colbert Report!). Our first class of the semester started with a round of introductions in which Nesson asked us to identify our names, our hometowns, and our passions. Then he unilaterally admitted all of the students from the waitlist who had come to the class, without realizing that he completely lacked the authority to do so (a misconception the Registrar corrected for him later that week). Then he canceled a third of the classes for the semester, extended the remaining classes by an hour, promised us dinner and refreshments for each, and broke us up into groups of 3 to develop lesson plans for each of those classes, since he had only planned out the first two weeks. Then he vanished for 20 minutes and returned with a case of beer of unknown origin (no one complained). Then we jammed for a while, with Nesson declaring without irony that fear was the single greatest impediment to freedom, and that his wife and co-professor for the course was the person he feared most in the world (she nodded sympathetically). Then he assigned us Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as actual law school reading, and we went home. Ah, life in the Ivy League.

So that, plus a million anticipated hours of rehearsal for this year's Parody (which I am proud to have co-written from Hong Kong, and co-edited from Chile and Argentina), is pretty much where I am right now. I'd catch up more, but that would take too long, so I won't.