honorary Hose Monster:
I understand that the text below might sound a little arrogant. I hope you keep in mind while reading that I do not have an overly lofty opinion of myself, and I did not intend to come off as an elitist while writing this.
The people in law school disappoint me sometimes. I think I had high expectations when I started.
I had the same problem when I started college. I entered what was, at the time, a top-10 university as far as the U.S. News and World Report rankings go, and as such, I theorized that such a university setting would expose me to people my age thinking on a level I only occasionally reached, coming up with analyses that stayed with me for days and affected me as I thought my own way through the various complexities of higher education. I do concede that in many cases, the faculty of my university inspired me to just this reaction, but I lament that fact that vary rarely did a fellow student meet the hopes I had formed. And just to satisfy my lifelong quest for irony, the one student who did work on that intellectual plain to which I aspired also lived with me, so I had the great fortune to see him in his moments of profound idiocy as well, which perhaps tempers my ability to blow sunshine up his ass and more importantly makes him a more real person and a better person to call friend.
Most of the people with whom I went to school were not dumb. Most of them were legitimately intelligent people with very cogent capabilities and a general tendency to success. On the other hand, I often felt that my classes filled with people who formed this intelligence and developed successful capabilities through rote techniques. Robots finding the formula for mediocre success and following it.
I don't mean to overly criticize; my opinion of college admissions is not very high, and regardless of how counselors claim that look for the whole student, formulas do come into play, perhaps not established formulas, but formulas. Students understand that to get into the good colleges, they have to start constructing within the framework of the well-rounded student and as a consequence often subordinate their own personal interests and thoughts to the need to achieve certain leadership positions and take certain classes. I personally feel that this distracts young adults from exploring their own personally formed interests and fostering the foundations of an ability to think logically and intelligently independent of textbooks, lectures and other peoples' thoughts.
Ironically, however, I felt that high school provided me with the least annoying environment of any of my secondary schooling experience. Perhaps because I took nothing but honors classes and thus had to deal with people who had grown up with good motivation and experience around them. Perhaps because high school bored me almost to tears, and while I lament how bored I was in high school, I remember with fondness how much sleep I got during those years, particularly my senior year.
But I arrived at college, and more often than not, people had no clue what to say to inquiries directed at them. I did almost all my assigned work in college, read most of the stuff on the syllabus, always turned in my work on time and took everything as seriously as I needed to take it. I also have a remarkable ability to remember things when I want to remember them or decide I have to remember them, and I generally feel that my work ethic is strong. The possession of these qualities not doubt greatly facilitated my success in college.
But a possession of these traits makes no real impact, in my estimation, on general intelligence and ability to engage in discourse and answer questions posed to you with general logic and intuition.
I know people who never did an ounce of work and couldn't tell you a damn think about the material under discussion in class, and yet when they chose to or found themselves on the spot, could assess the situation with rapidity and articulate an intelligence comment. You don't have to go to an elite school, get good grades, do lots of work or read Kant to do this sort of thing. You simply have to possess the capability to perceive the world around you and the microcosm of the current discussion and have a little confidence. I have people in my elite law school classes who no doubt got straight A's last semester who cannot do this and I have known people working for minimum wage in customer service who could engage me for hours.
Just for the record, yes I do consider myself someone who can intelligently engage in discourse. Full disclosure complete.
Anyway, after my undergraduate disappointment, I probably should not have formed similar hopes for intellectual engagement with law school. But I did, and as a result, I find myself utterly dumbfounded now and again at the disconnect between concepts and the things people sometimes say around here. I understand that a lot of the time people in our classes are simply not paying attention, and that really is a legitimate excuse most of the time. Many of the topics under discussion are cumbersome and require a working knowledge, but I refuse to concede that this excuses blatantly confounded comments. I know these people are intelligent. They've gotten here. They've demonstrated an ability to achieve. But I sometimes feel that we lack mental agility.
I don't mean to criticize, and honestly, most of the people who would worry about falling into the group of people discussed above simply don't. A certain beautiful girl I know probably underestimates herself more than anyone I know, but one of the big reasons I'm dating her (again, full disclosure) is that she's very strongly attached to the real world around her and, regardless of her concerns about her working knowledge of the topic at hand, she proficiently engages in any and all topics and leaves me feeling like talking is more than just getting participation points. A huge reason why, after more than five months, I'm as interested, if not more so, in her and in talking with her, than I was the day of our first date.
Anyway, I know that I sound like a completely pretentious and arrogant bastard, and I know I am apt to make people think of me like that. It happens sometimes, and while I don't wish to convey an aura of superiority, I do sometimes wish things were a little different sometimes. Just something I was thinking about today. I'll get off my soapbox now.